This post is in reply to ‘Understanding a map creates a new sort of relationship with the outdoors’ by Nick Giles.
Comment on ‘Understanding a map creates a new sort of relationship with the outdoors’
Maps are wonderful - and I too learnt to read OS maps when at school and can spend hours looking at them and at my large atlas. Now, in Australia, there is nothing similar. But there is an alternative now, in particular to google maps in particular which of course are not designed for walkers - Open Street Maps. I've just attended a map making workshop/day out here in Perth, Western Australia and have learnt how to add landmarks of all kinds to the OSM map - where steps are, benches, names of buildings, ferry landings, even special trees - cafes and their opening hours, bus stops, and everything else that makes a walk interesting and manageable. It is a kind of citizen community service! Using OSM in other countries has been really useful too - for example it showed me a useful short cut that I could use in a small town in Bulgaria, a path leading up to the castle in Kars, Turkey that avoided a busy road, and so on. When i compare OSM maps with the google equivalent, there is a huge difference as the former do integrate up to date local knowledge. Like wikipedia, the maps are made by individuals but moderated and checked by editors. And constantly updated. You can download them, so there is no problem about being online to use them. It is great fun, being able to actually add things to a map for those of us who've always loved maps!