I too share Hugh Pearman’s fondness for maps, particularly mountainous ones (DW 11 April).
I was looking at a map of Cumbria from the 1960s and it’s a real shame we stopped shading our maps, it really added to the drama.
I understand Pearman’s concerns over the ‘dumbing down’ of maps. However beautiful they may be though, maps are not primarily art, but a tool for navigation.
In this respect, they have to be for everyone, no matter how good people’s abilities may be to read them. I have to admit I haven’t yet seen the new Landrangers, but in an age where public access to land is such a contentious issue, and more and more people are exploring Britain, clear marking of the different routes and paths offered can only be a good thing.
Also, in more mountainous areas clear route-marking may help to reduce the number of accidents resulting from walkers straying from the safe path, and conserve the natural wilderness by confining erosion to specific routes.
So as much as we may mourn the passing of the simple, classic maps, we can still celebrate their ability to reflect the changes to our society as well as the architectural and agricultural ones.