Explorer mapping on Bing Maps10th February 2009
OS mapping has been available on the likes of Streetmap and Bing Maps for a good while now but Landranger 1:50000 data has been as good as it got so far. Intriguingly, a recent foray onto Multimap revealed an OS button on its interface but maximising the scale after using it revealed a surprise that had an air of familiarity about it: Explorer 1:25000 mapping. This has its uses for surveying countryside with regard to walking opportunities but does nothing to replace the full armoury that you get from a specialised digital mapping application with regard to the likes of route planning, for example. I am not sure what has happened to unleash Explorer mapping for free from an advertising-supported web service but it does raise an interesting question in my mind. Anyone who has ever used digital mapping software may have met up with the surprisingly large price differential between 1:50000 data and its 1:25000 counterpart. Drawing from my own experience, it is very striking with Anquet but far less so with Quo. The availability of 1:25000 mapping on Multimap does bring visions of cheaper 1:25000 data because, in the current economic environment, I cannot imagine that Multimap have been splashing out to that extent, even if it is now owned by Microsoft. The idea of less expensive mapping data is an appealing thought but that never means that it is destined to become reality. Even so, there is now a free alternative to splashing out and that might moderate prices if nothing else will.