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Post details Post   (Expand pics)
simon3
2009-05-04 06:46:26
"Section of the map." from simon3 Expand pics
Section of the map. (Expand pics)
East West Map of Dublin Mountains
The arrival a few years ago of accurate and free data for height over large parts of the earths land surface (SRTM) has proved a bonanza for map makers. Map producers both commercial and not can use this data as basis for maps and diagrams such as East West's new map. (The small MountainViews coloured height map for local summits is derived from SRTM) So far, so great but with limitations we'll get to.

East-West's map has combined the contour data with much else. It is strong on many things of interest to walkers: names, alternative names, parking both official and not, bus route numbers are all well covered. Add to this mapping of forests and watercourses and this is a very useful resource. The Dublin Mountains map is the first of a series of four to cover Dublin/Wicklow so it starts further north than the Harvey map including pieces of Tallaght and Deansgrange.

Take a look at the sample of the map (on paper the km squares are 33.3mm wide). There's plenty of interesting detail such as the boot symbol, bottom left, used to indicate "access", the boardwalk, the names and historical detail which you won't find elsewhere.
Inevitably on a map with this level of ambition there are errors. Example from this sample include the absence of the stony ground around the Coffin Stone (this is on the Harvey map), the odd break in the track from the Coffin Stone to Djouch - it's a slushy track all the way. Another issue is the contour info mentioned earlier - bottom right there is stream shown - this is in a substantial gulley (one of a number) which has been mentioned by many on this site. There is no sign of the gulleys on the contours. (There is on the Harvey map and also on the OSi 1:50K). On other sections of the map there are errors to crags and the future line of the Luas after Sandyford is completely wrong.

Every map series I've seen has its foibles. With the OS for example it's the paper, the lack of recreational detail and lack of checking such as totally inconsistent forest tracks. So would these comments about East-West's maps stop me buying them? No, for walking purposes this map has considerable advantages and I would expect it is highly useable for many recreational uses (though perhaps not orienteering).

Mapping and the possibilities for more useful recreational maps have changed more in the last 5 years than in the last 50. Starting with modern PCs which with 2Gb memory can manipulate all-Ireland datasets, GPS accurate to 2m and SRTM we should now consider the internet. In future I believe we will see more collaborative mapmaking where the users join in, wiki style. This has already started - see Open Street Map or pazapas work on this site.

As for East-West's initiative - I hope they succeed since these maps have useful detail.
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