Map Addict

Over the last few days I have read the book Map Addict by Mike Parker.

This book was full of good general knowledge that I did not know before I read it; some of the facts that I thought were the most interesting or the most useful are listed below:

  • Officially the most boring 1 x 1 km grid square of the entire 320,000 on the 1:50,000 landrange seriesL SE8322. This is located between Goole and Hull and it only contains a pylon line grazing on one corner.
  • There is no other patch of land on the planet that has been as comprehensively, and so stylishly, measured, surveyed, plotted and mapped as the 80,823 square miles of the Great Britain. (this may be a slightly biased statement but I like the way that Parker put it).
  • The United States is one of only four countries on Earth officially using imperial weights and measures; the others being Burma/Myanmar, Yeman and Brunei.
  • Parker also explains how the numbering system for A; Roads were originally derived. The country was divided by spokes radiating out from London. The A2 went straight up to Edinburgh, the A2 to Dover, so that all main roads between the two were numbered A1x or A1xx. The A2 roads were between Dover and Portsmouth, the A3s a long tranche right to the far end of the West Country, the A4s a giant wedge that took in most of the Midlands and wWales, the A5s everything between the lines from London to Holyhead and Carlisle, and the A6s the remaining backbone of England , back round to the A1. The last three numbers – A7. A8, and A9 – are Scottish-only roads that were similarly centred on Edinburgh.
  • The ‘Blue Marble’ image taken by the Apollo 1972 space mission was inverted from the original image so that it fit the traditional view.
  • The part of the book that made me smile the most was when Mike Parker said that heritage railway lines should not have the same symbols as real railway lines and instead should be replaced by a pictogram of a grinning old man dragging a reluctant grandson along.

It is well worth a read.