My gripe with Google Maps

Google maps is a marvellous service (even if I do prefer my Times Atlas of the World – picked up cheap in Fretex), but I do have one gripe.

Here is a map of southern Norway.


Southern Norway

What can we see? The fjords, the national parks, the major towns and cities and the main roads.



Lets zoom in a couple of times. We now see some smaller towns, less important roads and some of the many lakes Norway has.


Voss area

Zoom in a couple more times to see the area round Voss, a centre for outdoor sports east of Bergen. We are now shown streams and minor roads in grey, some of which are curiously straight.



Zooming further in and we can see the streams and minor roads more clearly.



Zooming yet further in, the scale is now about 1:10000, and the minor roads, some little more than farm tracks, now have a white centre. One line does not; if you peer closely you can see it has some faint cross ticks. This is the railway; the mainline between Bergen and Oslo.

My gripe with GoogleMaps is that the fast, efficient, low-carbon mode of transport between Bergen and Oslo is given the cartographic weight of a farm track. It relegates the railway to a minor navigational feature, less visible than the blue beck cascading off the mountain.

Just replacing the grey line with black, and making the main train lines show at higher zoom levels would remind viewers that the train is a option. A little nudge towards making a more environmentally friendly travel choice.


About richard telford

Ecologist with interests in quantitative methods and palaeoenvironments
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3 Responses to My gripe with Google Maps

  1. That is why I use Google Earth instead. Gives you much more control over what is being displayed.

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