The first step to success in any military campaign is a good map. During the Second World War, intelligence officers prepared meticulously detailed maps for the D-Day landings using a combination of aerial photography, old tourist guides and holiday snaps. Mike Parker discovers how Germany, and later the Soviet Union, compiled maps of Britain often more detailed than our own. And he visits a Cold War nuclear bunker, one of the many sites that until recently were simply blank spaces on Ordnance Survey maps.
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Who needs traditional paper maps any more when you can download all the maps you need from the internet? Mike Parker looks at cartography in the digital age and asks whether internet mapping and satellite navigation are actually destroying good map-making and map-reading.
The ultimate in cheap and ubiquitous mapping, there’s scarcely a vehicle in the land that doesn’t contain a dog-eared road atlas. Road maps and their digital descendent, the sat nav, may guide us efficiently around our nation’s highways but they don’t tell us much else about the landscape we’re speeding through. Mike recalls a bygone age of elegant motoring maps and considers how modern road mapping and its unrelenting emphasis on our motorways and trunk roads has changed our picture of Britain.
Episode one of On The Map from BBC Radio 4.
Self-confessed map addict Mike Parker explores modern cartography. If a picture paints a thousand words, a map can paint a million. They help us navigate our way through unfamiliar landscapes and cities, entice us into new places and give us a bigger picture of the world we inhabit.
Mike considers the maps he first fell in love with as a teenager — Ordnance Survey maps.