Posts Tagged ‘maps’

Apple Maps cars spotted in London

Monday, October 5th, 2015


Look who’s been sniffing out the streets of Soho in London. Hopefully their own maps will do a better job than the pitiful data they bought from TomTom when they first launched in 2012. I’m usually an Apple supporter but even I couldn’t trust it after it gave me one too many destinations in the middle of a lake (yes, this happened twice).


I still find Apple maps unbearable over-simplified. One way streets, traffic data, building locations and of course Street View are all examples that Google gets right. Apple does have the bizarrely hidden yet mind-bendingly impressive Flyover feature though. It’s not in every city yet but if you haven’t checked it out yet. ┬ábut find one that does have it and prepare to be impressed.


The real play here is the data that people using your mapping app gives you. Google know when you’re in a shop, when you’re stuck on a slow moving road, when you’re at home and most importantly, when you’re doing any of that while clicking ads, reading emails or using any of their home-grown services.

Apple clearly tried to muscle in on the action in 2012 and bought their way in, with obviously (calamitous) results. Seems they are doing it the right way this time. It’s still a rather murky and devious world of data mining but at least I’ll not be standing in too many lakes.


Google map of 1890’s London

Monday, March 10th, 2014


There are a bunch of really interesting Google Map mashups but this one really caught my attention. Google have teamed up with the Ordnance Survey to allow you to explore old London maps directly within Google Maps. While the infrastructure is pretty much unchanged in central London, the suburbs a really interesting. My house doesn’t even exist (as it was built in the 1930’s) and the local park was a watercress filter bed back then to clean the poo out of Muswell Hills sewage. Its name changed from Dirthouse Woods (nice) to a far more middle-class Cherry Tree Woods.


Similarly, the area around Old Street, now a hive of digital startups, was clearly a very seedy place back then (and arguably still can be if you know where to look). It’s hard to spot a corner without a pub (P.H) or a block without a brewery. Similarly, public urinals are encouragingly numerous too. We could learn a thing or two from that. It’s interesting to think that Old Street was once dominated by a large Vinegar Works. Must have gone well with the cockles on a Friday night.


Can’t help thinking this rather undermines the Ordinance Survey’s side-line in supplying printed maps to adorn people’s toilet walls at home. I’ve bought a few over the years as I’m mildly curious in my local area’s history. Would have expected a ‘Buy this’ button on the Google interface at least. Who isn’t going to take a few screenshots and save a few quid. I guess the ‘partnership’ deal takes this into account to some extent.

Anyway, check out the 1890’s OS Google Maps for yourself.