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Google Maps killing off UK landmarks

Traditional maps withering away

The success of online services such as Google Maps, as well as satnav devices and mapping software, is putting churches, woodlands and stately homes in danger of being forgotten.

According to British Cartographic Society president Mary Spence, internet maps simply don't bother to include such traditional landmarks which could literally slip off the map.

Speaking at a Royal Geographic Society conference, Ms Spence said: "Corporate cartographers are demolishing thousands of years of history - not to mention Britain's remarkable geography - at a stroke by not including them on maps which millions of us now use every day.

"We're in real danger of losing what makes maps so unique; giving us a feel for a place even if we've never been there."

By way of example Spence pointed out that online maps of London’s South Kensington area omit rather large cultural landmarks such as the Royal Albert Hall, Natural History Museum, V&A, and Science Museum. Historical buildings such as Worcester Cathedral and Tewkesbury Abbey are not on their respective Google Maps.

Above: The barren area of South Kensington, courtesy of Google Maps.

Below: Streetmap's more detailed depiction of the tourist heaven.

But Google's “Geospatial Technologist” Ed Parsons disagreed, saying: "Internet maps can now be personalised allowing people to include landmarks and information that is of interest to them. Anyone can create their own maps or use experiences to collaborate with others in charting their local knowledge.

"These traditional landmarks are still on the map but people need to search for them. Interactive maps will display precisely the information people want, when they want it.

"You couldn't possibly have everything already pinpointed."

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