A light bulb moment

More thoughts, submitted on an occasional basis by our Guest Blogger:  Jack Diamond.

 

Light bulbs, it used to be so easy.

When one blew, which wasn’t that often, you would simply take it out and replace it with another. Job done.

Not anymore. Not these days.

Back in the not so distant past, light bulbs came in only one fitting (at least here in the UK) and this was the bayonet fitting. You pushed the bulb in and twisted it, and did the reverse to remove it.

Nowadays it’s not so easy.

Why? Because light bulbs these days come in a whole range of sizes and fittings. Here’s just a few…

Bayonet cap light bulb

It’s smaller brother, the small bayonet cap

Then there’s the Edison Screw, which comes in a range of sizes –

5mm Lilliput Edison Screw; 10mm Miniature Edison Screw; 12mm Candelabra Edison Screw; 14mm Small Edison Screw; 27mm Edison Screw and the 40mm Giant Edison Screw

And that’s before we get on to halogen bulbs or fluorescent and led strip lights.

So, the light bulb in your bedroom has blown. You get a chair, stand under the light fitting and remove the bulb. That’s the easy part.

To your dismay you find the bulb is a screw fitting. All the other bulbs in your house are bayonet fittings. Or are they? You can’t remember.

Checking the cupboard downstairs, you find you have an ES bulb (that’s a screw fitting to you and me) but, would you believe it, when you offer it up to the light fitting you find that what you have in your hand is an SES (Small Edison Screw bulb) and no use whatsoever.

Rechecking the cupboard, you have no ES bulbs, only bayonet and this one SES bulb.

When did it all become so much more complex?

Why do we need all these different fittings for bulbs?

Instead of having just one 40 watt bulb and one 60 watt bulb as spares you now need a whole range of spares in different sizes and fittings. Crazy.

And, let’s not even get started on what happened to the 100 watt bulbs and, more lately, the 60 watt bulbs. Again, back in the old days, in a large room you would have a single 100 watt bulb (a bayonet fitting, of course). But these got banned by the European Union back in 2009, followed by a ban on 60 watt bulbs two years later.

Now, to get a decent amount of light, you have to have three or four lower wattage lights placed strategically around the room. So, logically, you’re going to get through more light bulbs and, therefore, be more often in the position of not having a spare of the right size or fitting.

And this is progress?

And then, to add insult to injury, there’s the cost.

Again, light bulbs used to be cheap but now they costs anywhere up to £4 or £5 for a normal everyday bulb. So, you have to buy more of them (because of the plethora of different fittings) and they cost more.

You’ll have noticed that I’ve talked about 60 watt and 100 watt bulbs. Well, I shouldn’t have, because that’s changed too. We’re supposed to talk about ‘lumens’ now, not watts. But, of course, none of us do.

And – what’s more – even if you still talk about the wattage of a lightbulb, well, that’s changed as well. Take a look at the packaging for a lightbulb below.

28 watt is, apparently, the same as 37 watt.

Pardon? Or should I say ‘What?’

The definition of a watt is as follows:

The watt (symbol: W) is a derived unit of power in the International System of Units (SI) defined as 1 joule per second and can be used to quantify the rate of energy transfer.

(from Wikipedia)

So, someone explain to me how 28 watts equals 37 watts.

As I said, the whole thing is crazy!

But, that’s progress and, as we know, progress is a marvellous thing. Isn’t it?

Thanks for reading. Oh, and remember to switch the light off after you – the bulbs cost a fortune you know!

Jack Diamond

 

(The views expressed in our Guest Blogs are personal opinions only and do not reflect the views of PCGraphics.)

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Education, education, education

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Back in June 2015 I wrote a blog post titled Dumbing Down Education? where I showed some of the questions asked of 16 year olds sitting their GCSE Maths papers.

Well, I decided to take another look at exam questions following the furore over SATS (or National Curriculum tests) for 11 year olds.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3675842/Half-11-year-olds-fail-new-chaotic-Sats.html

http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/686824/SATS-test-results-primary-school-year-6-Nicky-Morgan-education

This was the first year that the curriculum has been in operation and therefore the tests have been changed to reflect new, higher expectations of both the teachers and the pupils.

Following the results of the tests, official data shows 47 per cent of pupils did not make the grade in reading, writing and mathematics. Some headteachers had called for the test results not to be published as the results were lower than expected.

So, what were the tests? Were they really that difficult that nearly half of the 11 year olds didn’t pass?

As a matter of course, having two children, one 9 year old and the other 6 years, we download past SATS papers and give these to our kids to try out. Obviously the 6 year old is a long way off being able to do much of what is expected of a child 5 years his senior but his older brother, age 9, is a more relevant example of what might be expected (even though he is still 2 years short of sitting the SATS tests).

To give you an example of what is expected of an 11 year old, here’s the first five questions from the maths tests for 2016.

ncmaths1

ncmaths2

ncmaths3

ncmaths4

ncmaths5

Now, adding 100 to 987 or dividing 326 by 1 doesn’t seem very taxing. And I can confirm it’s not very taxing for a 9 year old either, never mind a child two years older.

Yes, obviously the questions do get slightly harder as you go through the paper but there’s only 35 questions in this maths paper and just answering those first five correctly is a reasonable chunk of the test.

So, what to make of the fuss kicked up by some teachers and headteachers? Changing the curriculum is always going to throw up a few problems, the least of which is when people compare the latest results with the previous year. Last year around 80% of the children passed the test, this year only 53% did.

But is the change a good thing? On balance I would say yes, it is. One of the more noticeable changes to the curriculum in maths in the past year was that teachers are now allowed to teach the children the times-table. By this I mean teach them by repeating the tables over and over until they become second nature to the child – the way most of us learnt them in the past. Almost unbelievably, teaching tables by rote (by repetition) was not allowed in schools in recent years and, if schools did teach that way, they would get marked down by OFSTED.

So, it seems some common sense has prevailed.

Now all the teachers need to do is ensure that the kids they teach can add 100 to 987 or divide 326 by 1. But perhaps that’s easier said than done when reading, writing and arithmetic have to be squeezed in at Primary School alongside guitar lessons, golf lessons, dance, drum lessons, tennis, trips to supermarkets (I kid you not!) and everything else.

Perhaps, and it’s just a thought, schools should concentrate on the important things (to most people this would be reading, writing and arithmetic) and leave the golf, tennis etc to after-school clubs. But, hey, what do I know? I’m just a parent!

 

Thanks for reading.

Jack Diamond

(The views expressed in our Guest Blogs are personal opinions only and do not reflect the views of PCGraphics.)

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More old mapping – Glasgow 1945

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From our library of old maps, here are some extracts from the 1945 Bartholomew’s Pocket Plan of Glasgow.

At PCGraphics we used these maps as the basis to create royalty free maps for clients in the UK by adding new, up to date information gleaned from street surveys and aerial photography.

This methodology has today largely been superseded by the widespread availability of street level photography, such as Google Street View, meaning that we don’t need to visit every town, city and area in the UK which we map. This saves time and, more importantly, money for the client.

Click on any of the thumbnails to view a larger image.

 

You can find out more about how we create our maps at PCGraphics by following this link to our website.

There are also other pages of old maps here on this blog:

Birmingham – as it was 60 years ago
More old maps
London 1939
Ward-Lock Red Guide Books – Edinburgh
Ward-Lock Red Guide Books – Glasgow

If you pop over to our Pinterest boards, along with loads of samples of up to date maps produced by PCGraphics, there’s also a whole board dedicated to old mapping.

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We’re not a Limited Company anymore…

Well, here’s some news.

On 15 August 2017 we closed our Limited Company called PCGraphics (UK) Limited.

But, that’s only half the story. Read on…

Admin, admin, admin. Yes, a lot of it is necessary but, especially with a small business, you can easily get swamped by it. The last straw was probably being forced to go through the motions of setting up pensions (we’re a one man, one woman team who don’t employ anybody else – we use subcontractors when necessary) when patently neither of us wanted them. And yet the government insists you do it.

Then there’s the filing of accounts and Annual Returns every year, VAT every quarter, plus other admin and associated costs of simply running a Limited Company. And, get it wrong or file your returns late and you get fined by HMRC.

Anyway, enough to say that for the size of our business we were getting bogged down by the administration associated with it.

So, we closed the Limited Company. ‘Dissolved via voluntary strike-off’ it’s called, incase you’re wondering.

But, we’re still in business. Still drawing maps. Life continues.

Now we’re trading simply as PCGraphics. We shortened the name and our bank account has changed, but that’s about it. Oh, and we don’t have to file returns to Company House or pay accountants (although, having said that, our last accountant, Nicola Jones at My Accountant Online  was very good. We recommend her.) And, as there’s two us us, we can spread the income and keep our turnover below the threshold where you have to charge VAT. Again, much simpler.

Since August, we’ve been operating as Sole Traders or self employed as most people call it.

So, yes, the Limited Company is gone but we’re still here.

And that’s the news flash over. Have a great day!

 

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More photos from Visit Isle of Wight

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Four miles off the south coast of England sits the Isle of Wight. The Island has a milder sub-climate than other areas of the UK and has been a holiday destination since Victorian times.

The main towns on the Isle of Wight are:

Newport is situated in the centre of the Island and is the county town or capital of the Island.

Ryde is the Island’s largest town with a population of around 30,000. Ryde has the oldest seaside pier in England and miles of sandy beaches.

Cowes is famous for the annual Cowes Week and is an international sailing centre.

East Cowes is best known for Osborne House, once the home of Queen Victoria.

Sandown is a popular seaside resort and is home to the Isle of Wight Zoo and the Dinosaur Isle museum which is built in the shape of a giant pterosaur.

Shanklin, which is now virtually joined to Sandown, attracts tourists with its high summer sunshine levels and sandy beaches. Shanklin Chine is the Island’s oldest attraction.

Ventnor on the south coast of the Island is built on the steep slopes of St Boniface Down.

The Isle of Wight also has it’s own flag which was registered on January 9th 2009.

Flag_of_the_Isle_of_Wight.svg

And, what’s more, we also have hovercraft!

hovercraft

Photos below courtesy of Visit Isle of Wight.

seaview

Above: Seagrove Bay in the north east of the Island.  (View more photos on the Visit Isle of Wight Facebook page)

shanklin

Above: Beach huts at Shanklin at night. (View more photos on the Visit Isle of Wight Facebook page).

Shanklin is situated on Sandown Bay, which stretches from Yaverland in the North to Luccombe in the South.

It was in Shanklin that Charles Darwin wrote his Origin of Species, which was published in 1859.

needles

Above: The Needles at sunset. (View more photos on the Visit Isle of Wight Facebook page).

The Needles is a row of three chalk stacks that rise out of the sea to the west of the Isle of Wight. The Needles takes its name from a fourth needle-shaped pillar called Lot’s Wife, which collapsed in a storm in 1764.

NeedlesOnTaylorsHampshire-1759

Above: The needle-shaped pillar (Lot’s Wife) can be clearly seen in this engraving from a map of Hampshire published in 1759.

appley1

Above: Appley Tower, to the east of Ryde. (View more photos on the Visit Isle of Wight Facebook page).

Appley Tower was built around 1875 as a folly in the grounds of the estate owned by the politician Sir William Hutt. A folly tower is a tower that has been constructed for ornamental rather than practical reasons. Appley Tower is one of the few surviving buildings from the estate and was built just above the beach in the form of a castle tower.

 

Did you know? The Isle of Wight is one of the richest dinosaur localities in Europe, with over 20 species of dinosaur having been recognised, some of which were first identified on the Island. Compton Bay, near Freshwater, features dinosaur footprints which are visible at low tide. (Dinosaurs of the Isle of Wight, Wikipedia)

 

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Compensation culture UK

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More thoughts, submitted on an occasional basis by our Guest Blogger:  Jack Diamond.

 

It’s gone mad, hasn’t it? Compensation culture, I mean.

I was out driving the other day when I had an accident. Yes, it was my fault, I drove into the car in front. Not a serious accident – or so I thought at the time anyway. The car in front pulled away at a junction and the road was clear in both directions so I followed. Then the driver in front slams their brakes on. There’s a minor bump; after all, we were only going a few miles an hour. We both pulled over and noted there was some damage to the bumper of the car in front so we swapped insurance details. All fine and dandy.

A few weeks later I get a letter from my insurance company saying they are settling the claim for damage to the third party’s vehicle plus paying something in the region of £5,000 in compensation for ‘whiplash’ injuries to soft tissue.

Now, I do have the details of the person who was in the car in front of me, I have their address and phone number. Do you think it would be right for me to contact them and ask them what they are playing at?

I’m not one to call someone a liar but in this instance I shall make an exception. I don’t believe there was ever any whiplash injury in this accident. What I think happened was that the person was contacted by some unscrupulous no-win no-fee outfit and told they could claim several thousand Pounds in compensation if they simply tick this box. It’s probably difficult to turn down that sort of offer, especially if you have very few or absolutely no morals.

No, it didn’t cost me anything, not directly anyway, but it costs us all more in increased insurance premiums. In fact, it costs around two billion Pounds per year. We all have to pay in the end.

It’s interesting to note that 8 out of every 10 personal injury claims in road traffic accidents are for whiplash, yet we’ve had head restraints fitted to every new vehicle in the UK for many, many years now which are designed to help prevent just this sort of injury.

And it’s not just motoring insurance either where this compensation culture exists.

I was reading recently about a woman who is suing a holiday company because she was knocked over by a wave when in the water and broke some bones. Sorry, but how is the holiday company to blame for this? Or is it a case of ‘I’ve been hurt, someone must be to blame’? Someone apart from herself, obviously.

When did we start to blame someone else for what goes wrong in our lives? When did we stop being responsible for our own actions or accept that something might just be an accident and not someone’s fault? And when did we, as a nation, become so morally corrupt that we would lie about an injury just to get a payout?

 

From the BBC website: Does the UK have a problem with whiplash?

The UK has been called the “whiplash capital of Europe”. It’s said to cost the insurance industry about £2bn a year.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-34925933

And there’s solicitors who make a living out of making claims on your behalf: 

Bott & Co is a multiple award-winning specialist no win no fee consumer rights solicitors firm … We employ over 105 staff … The business had a turnover of £11.1m in 2015.

Use our whiplash claims calculator below to see how much you may be able to claim.

 http://www.bottonline.co.uk/how-to-claim/whiplash-compensation-calculator

From the ITV website: Three holiday makers sue travel company after being injured by waves on beach

Three British tourists are suing a tour operator after they were injured by waves at a beach while holidaying in Cape Verde.

http://www.itv.com/news/2016-02-02/three-holiday-makers-sue-travel-company-after-being-hurt-by-waves-on-beach/

 

 

Thanks for reading

Jack Diamond

 

(The views expressed in our Guest Blogs are personal opinions only and do not reflect the views of PCGraphics.)

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Energy – I have the answer to all our problems

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More thoughts, submitted on an occasional basis by our Guest Blogger:  Jack Diamond.

Yes, it’s true I do have the answer to the World’s energy problems. The answer, surprisingly, is Africa. Let me explain.

Africa, as we all know, is a vast continent – approximately 30.2 million km2 (11.7 million square miles). That, apparently, is around 20% of the total land area of the World. That’s big by anyone’s standards.

In fact Africa is 124 times bigger than the UK but with only 18 times as many people. This means huge areas are uninhabited.

What else do we know about Africa?

Much of the continent is hot, dry and extremely sunny. And this is where my plan lies.

Here in the UK much is made of solar panels and we’re encouraged by many people (governments, environmental groups etc) to attach a couple of these to our roofs. The problem is that the UK is quite far north, as is much of Europe, and this affects the amount of sunlight we get.

So, back to Africa.

It’s huge, it’s sunny and hot and not many people (comparatively) live there. Also, apart from a couple of exceptions, many African countries struggle financially. Africa should be, but it’s not, competing with the likes of China as a World economic force.

So, my plan is that we turn enormous areas of the continent – and I’m talking about several areas the size of small countries here – over to solar panel farms. Given what we already know, the amount of sunshine and the vast open spaces, Africa could be the World’s leading supplier of electricity. As a minimum it could supply all the electricity it’s own population could ever need but, given a big enough effort, it could be a massive exporter of energy to the rest of the World.

Think of the other benefits too. Thousands of jobs created across many countries in Africa, prosperity for the population and less need for the rest of the World to constantly throw bucket loads of cash in the direction of African countries. This would have a huge effect on ending poverty across the whole continent and, as a side benefit, the rest of the World gets any excess energy.

It’s a win – win situation.

But, of course, this means thinking big. And many, many charities I feel would be against the idea because their business model would be devastated – there just wouldn’t be all those hungry African babies to feed if the people were all more prosperous.

But, come on, do we really want to help them (and ourselves) or do we simply want to carry on throwing them scraps of comfort from time to time in the form of hand-outs?

And, please don’t tell me that we can’t afford to do this. The UK alone will be spending £16.3 billion in overseas aid each year by 2020. Last year the US gave $32 billion in overseas aid. Other countries also give huge amounts. Imagine if just one year’s worth of overseas aid from every developed nation was given to this project, it would be financed in less than 12 months – and we’d all be getting green, solar power too.

Or, alternatively, we can carry on sticking solar panels on our roofs here in Europe and knocking our electricity bills back by £50 a year whilst giving a couple of quid a year to pay some charity CEO’s overinflated salary.

Do I think it will ever happen? No, probably not, but you can dream can’t you?

Thanks for reading.

Jack Diamond.

 

(The views expressed in our Guest Blogs are personal opinions only and do not reflect the views of PCGraphics.)

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Spot the Differences – the answers

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Last week we gave you two maps with 10 differences, how many did you find?

Here’s the answers, ringed in red on the map.

Screen Shot answer

(Map contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database rights 2016)

The map, above, is copyright Ordnance Survey. So, who are the Ordnance Survey? Here’s a very brief history.

The O.S. is the national mapping agency of Great Britain and is one of the world’s largest map producers. Ordnance Survey came about because of the lack of decent maps of Scotland following the Jacobite rebellion in 1745 and the threat of war with Napoleon.

The survey of Great Britain was originally carried out using triangulation methods but, more recently, aerial photography has become the chief source for updating and creating new mapping.

In April 2010, Ordnance Survey made available large amounts of data which, whilst still being O.S. copyright, is free to use. Ordnance Survey copyright lasts for 50 years, meaning that, currently, any O.S. mapping pre 1965 is now out of copyright.

Since 2011 Ordnance Survey’s headquarters have been at Adanac Park, Southampton, England.

 

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Police Interceptors (or not)

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More thoughts, submitted on an occasional basis by our Guest Blogger:  Jack Diamond.

 

I’ve been watching the television recently. Yes, you might say that was my first mistake but, actually, it was quite enlightening. Let me explain.

I was watching a programme called Police Interceptors (other police programmes of a similar nature also exist, I’m not necessarily recommending this one!).

You probably know the type of thing the programme is about. A policeman in a car notices another driver acting suspiciously or it gets flagged up by the ANPR system in the police car (ANPR is something the police have in their vehicles which automatically checks number plates and flags up any vehicles which aren’t taxed, insured etc).

Quite often the baddies decide they don’t wish to stop when requested by the police and press the pedal to the floor, racing through streets and across the countryside (even through the countryside in some cases).

The police have a difficult job now, trying to stop the vehicle whilst at the same time being aware of public safety. One car racing through a built up area at 90mph is bad enough but having two, three or more doing the same thing brings some obvious problems.

And the more the police chase the vehicle, the harder the bad person tries to get away so he (or she, for the sake of equality etc) drives faster and more recklessly.

In a number of cases, where public safety is deemed to be at risk, the police give up on the chase and let the baddies depart. Obviously this isn’t a very satisfactory outcome.

Well, and here we come to the point of my ramblings, why is it not possible for the police to have some safe method of stopping the vehicle? And, I mean an electronic method, not the ‘stinger’ (a roll of spiked metal designed to puncture the tyres of a car as it’s driven over it) which they use at present.

A 'stinger' or spike strip

(Stinger or spike strip – photo courtesy of WikiMedia Commons)

Cars these days are full of electronics, from your key fob to open the door to the engine management system (a small computer) under the bonnet. In this day and age it can’t be beyond the realms of possibilities to have an override circuit built in to the management system which can be cut out to bring the car to a safe halt. Why can’t cars be built with this installed and the police given the power to press a switch (like a key fob) which will kill the engine of a vehicle which is being pursued?

It seems so obvious that you wonder why it isn’t being used already.

Yes, you could argue that criminals might get hold of these fobs and be able to stop other vehicles, but to what end? Surely the benefits of the police being able to end any vehicle pursuit whenever they want (and whenever it was safe to do so) would override any other concerns?

But then, if they did that, what would we watch on the TV on a wet Thursday evening?

Thanks for reading.

Jack Diamond.

 

(The views expressed in our Guest Blogs are personal opinions only and do not reflect the views of PCGraphics.)

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More photos from Visit Isle of Wight

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The Isle of Wight, home to Queen Victoria, is also famous for boat building, flying boats, the world’s first hovercraft (developed by Sir Christopher Cockerell), and the testing and development of Britain’s space rockets.

Approximately half of the Isle of Wight is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Photos courtesy of Visit Isle of Wight.

Below: Ventnor, on the south coast of the Isle of Wight, photographed at night.  (View on the Visit Isle of Wight Facebook page)

ventnor

Below: Bembridge Lifeboat Station, Isle of Wight. The first lifeboat service from Bembridge began in 1867. The new lifeboat station, below, was completed 2010 at a cost of £7,650,000. (View on the Visit Isle of Wight Facebook page)

rnli

View towards Bembridge, the easternmost point of the Isle of Wight. (View on the Visit Isle of Wight Facebook page)

bembridge

Did you know: The 1970 Isle of Wight Festival was by far the largest and most famous (or infamous depending on your viewpoint) of the early music festivals in the UK. The high attendance, many of them without tickets, led the UK Government to pass the ‘Isle of Wight Act’ in 1971 preventing gatherings of more than 5,000 people on the island without a special licence. The attendance at the 1970 Festival held at Afton Farm has been estimated at around 600,000.

festival1970

(Image, above, courtesy Wikipedia)

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2015 – a review

…or, what we’ve been doing the past 12 months

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January 2015

On Foot Holidays

We work with many tour operators and tourism companies and the winter months are usually quite a busy time for us, updating maps for inclusion in next summer’s brochures.

These were just two of a number of new maps for On Foot Holidays.

OFH Template RGB OFH Template RGB

February 2015

We are fortunate to have worked with a number of clients over a period of many years. Solent are one of our regular clients.

Solent IW

March 2015

We began working with Assura back in 2013, creating walk maps for display in Doctor’s Surgeries and Health Centres.

A4 Assura template

April 2015

This is the third year we’ve worked with Open Studios, producing maps of towns and villages across the Isle of Wight highlighting the location of artist’s studios etc.

Template Template

May 2015

During May we worked on 50 maps for Tramlink Nottingham. This project consisted of 27 new maps plus revisions to the existing 23 maps which we also produced by PCGraphics.

New Style template 2015 New Style template 2015 New Style template 2015

June 2015

This month brought more work from the publishing company Goldeneye. This time it was amendments to their map of Kent.

goldeneye

July 2015

Holiday time for our kids, Seamus and Sean

Here they are being hatched from dinosaur eggs (that’s where children come from, right?) at Blackgang Chine, Isle of Wight.

Seamus and Sean

August 2015

Another regular client, Helpful Holidays, asked us to update the maps for their 2016 brochure.

Help Hols 2015 railways pathsHelp Hols 2015 N Cornwall pathsHelp Hols 2015 N Devon paths

September 2015

We first worked for Kirker Holidays about 15 years ago and, like many clients, they decided to use our services once again this year.

Kirker Athens Kirker template

October 2015

Our project for Kirker Holidays stretched into October as well, updating and creating new maps.

Kirker templateCPM2 Region Template.ai

November 2015

November brought another opportunity to work with a client we’d worked with back in January this year, On Foot Holidays.

OFH Template RGB OFH Template RGB

December 2015

New maps for New Experience Holidays, (do you see what we did there?), another existing client, were created in December.

NewExAndorra

New Experience template

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The BBC – and how it’s always easier to spend other people’s money

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More thoughts, submitted on an occasional basis by our Guest Blogger:  Jack Diamond.

 

Did you know that the British Broadcasting Corporation (the BBC) spends less than half its budget on making programmes for TV and radio? The BBC has an annual budget of £5.1 billion but just £2.4 billion of this goes on making programmes.

So where does the rest of the money go?

Well, apart from rather a lot of inflated salaries (100 of the top BBC staff earn more than the Prime Minister of the UK), a recent report revealed that £230,000 of licence fee money was spent on tea. Yes, that’s tea, as in the beverage.

Plus, every week, and again I’ll repeat that, every week the BBC spends £100,000 on consultants. These are, apparently, management and public relations consultants. One would have thought that, out of a staff of 16,672 (as at October 2014), there would already be enough managers and public relations people. But no, apparently not.

Oh, and there was that £470,300 which was paid to George Entwistle, the former Director General (the boss in other words) who only held the position for 54 days. I’ll have to leave someone else to work out Mr Entwistle’s hourly rate but I bet it comes in substantially above the UK Government’s Minimum Wage.

The BBC – that’s the British Broadcasting Corporation (please take note of the emphasis on the word British) – also likes to advertise the fact that it offers news in 27 different languages. Now, I know we live in a multicultural society here in Britain, but I rather think the BBC should be aiming its broadcasts at people who speak English i.e. the residents of Britain.

BBC_languages

Why does it feel the need to provide news in Swahili or Uzbek or Urdu or even Gaelic? And I haven’t even mentioned Sinhala (what or where is that?) or Kyrgyz or Vietnamese. I’m just wondering how many people in Uzbekistan or Kyrgyzstan are actually tuning in to this? What’s the BBC’s target market in these countries and, quite honestly, is it worth the time, money and resources?

Just for your information, here’s the languages that the BBC thinks it’s a good idea to spend our (the licence fee payer’s) money on:

Africa

  • French
  • Hausa
  • Kirundi
  • Somali
  • Swahili

Asia (Central)

  • Kyrgyz
  • Uzbek

Asia (Pacific)

  • Burmese
  • Chinese
  • Indonesian
  • Japanese
  • Thai
  • Vietnamese
  • UK China

Asia (South)

  • Bengali
  • Hindi
  • Nepali
  • Pashto
  • Sinhala
  • Tamil
  • Urdu

Europe

  • Azeri
  • English
  • Gaelic
  • Russian
  • Turkish
  • Ukrainian
  • Welsh

And, whilst I wouldn’t want to encourage the BBC to offer its news service in any other languages (for surely 27 is enough already), what about our European neighbours in Germany, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy, Denmark, Norway etc etc etc? Why offer a service to people in Vietnam and Burma but not those closer to home? Honestly, where’s the logic?

Now, here’s a definition from the dictionary for you:

Junket
Noun: an extravagant trip or celebration, in particular one enjoyed by government officials at public expense.
Verb: attend or go on a trip or celebration at public expense.

Which, I should point out, is in no way relevant to the following:

In 2014 the BBC sent 300 staff to Somerset to cover the annual Glastonbury Music Festival in Somerset, UK. Now, I’m sure you need a fair few people to operate the cameras and do interviews etc, but 300?

Let’s be clear, obviously I’m in no way suggesting that there were any hangers-on, simply tagging along because it was a music festival and there would be lots of alcohol and other stuff freely available, but it does seems like an awful lot of people to cover a weekend music event in the English countryside. I’m left wondering how many of those 300 were lining up to head off to Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq or Libya when events perhaps more worthy of some in-depth investigation were taking place. Not too many I’d guess.

And then we come to the BBC’s sponsorship of the African Footballer of the Year.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/34779711

An African footballer of the year, fine, why not, but why is the BBC involved? How does an  African Footballer of the Year relate to Britain and the British Broadcasting Corporation?

Yes, a few of the players nominated for the award play in the English Premiership but many don’t. Surely the whole ethos of the BBC should be that it should be for the benefit of people in Britain. There must be companies in Africa who could be sponsoring this event, after all it is to celebrate an African footballer not a British one. Why is the UK BBC licence fee payer picking up the bill?

Thanks for reading.

Jack Diamond

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3123867/BBC-spends-half-cash-programmes-Critics-demand-inquiry-staggering-waste.html

(The views expressed in our Guest Blogs are personal opinions only and do not reflect the views of PCGraphics.)

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Liverpool 1946

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A year after World War 2 has finished and here we have one of the first post war maps of Liverpool to be produced.

This was a John Bartholomew & Sons map produced in late 1946. The map code B46 in the top left corner of the map gives a clue to the date. The letter B indicates the second half of the year and the number 46 gives the year.

This Bartholomew map of Liverpool is just one of many old maps we hold at PCGraphicsWe originally acquired full coverage of the UK in 50 year old, royalty free mapping to give us a base to work from when creating copyright free UK maps.

liverpool_coverliverpool_1liverpool_2liverpool_3liverpool_4liverpool_5liverpool_6liverpool_7liverpool_8liverpool_9liverpool_10liverpool_back_cover

The map below shows the original seven streets of Liverpool. This image was sourced from Wikipedia Commons. Below that is roughly the same area from the 1946 map. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Original_7_streets_of_Liverpool.jpg)

The third map, below, is from up to date 2015 Ordnance Survey data.

Original_7_streets_of_LiverpoolOriginal_7_streets_of_Liverpool_1946Original_7_streets_of_Liverpool_2015

Liverpool Castle, which can be seen towards the right hand edge of the original seven streets of Liverpool map, was built in the early part of the 13th century. In 1715 it was decided to demolish the castle and build a church in its place. Construction of St George’s church was completed in 1734. By 1825 the church had been pulled down and a new one built. In 1899 the church was again demolished and the Victoria Monument (marked on the 1946 map) erected in 1902.

You can find out more about how we create our maps at PCGraphics by following this link to our website.

There are also other pages of old maps here on this blog:

Birmingham – as it was 60 years ago
More old maps
London 1939
Ward-Lock Red Guide Books – Edinburgh
Ward-Lock Red Guide Books – Glasgow

If you pop over to our Pinterest boards, along with loads of samples of up to date maps produced by PCGraphics, there’s also a whole board dedicated to old mapping.

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More photos from Visit Isle of Wight

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The Isle of Wight, the largest island in England, what a beautiful place to live.

Photos courtesy of Visit Isle of Wight.

appley

This is Appley Tower, towards the eastern end of the long sandy beach at Ryde on the Isle of Wight.  (View on the Visit Isle of Wight Facebook page)

shanklin chine

Fisherman’s cottage on the beach at the bottom of Shanklin Chine, Isle of Wight. (View on the Visit Isle of Wight Facebook page)

duver

The duver at St Helens, Isle of Wight. A duver is an Isle of Wight dialect term for a large sand dune and there are several duvers around the Island. (View on the Visit Isle of Wight Facebook page)

 

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Dumbing down education?

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More thoughts, submitted on an occasional basis by our Guest Blogger:  Jack Diamond.

Dumbing down education?

Over the years there’s been a lot of comment in the newspapers about the standard of education here in the UK. It’s probably true that most of what is written washes over your head or you think it’s all exaggerated by the newspapers and media. But then, if you start to look into it, you begin to wonder if all those people who talk about education being ‘dumbed down’ in recent years might actually be right.

Recently we had reason to look at a GCSE maths paper. These are all available to download online and the ones we tried were from AQA.

Have a look at a sample of the questions from last year’s (November 2014) maths paper and decide for yourself if maybe, just maybe, we ought to be trying to stretch the minds of our school children a little bit further. Remember, these are from a GCSE paper which is aimed at 16 year olds.

Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 07.39.30

Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 07.38.31

There is a maximum score of 66 marks for the paper, but you only need to get 75% correct to get a C grade.

With the greatest respect to anyone taking these tests, you’d have to be having a really bad day not to get a C grade from this paper.

The examples above are from what’s called the Foundation Tier exam – the maximum grade, even if you answer all the questions correctly, is a C grade. If you’re a real high flyer, apparently, you get entered for the Higher Tier exam instead. Here’s some examples of the more difficult questions in the Higher Tier.

Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 09.22.13

Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 09.22.35

If you’re like me you’d wonder if they might be trick questions. I mean, they give you the answers in the question – 33 men said yes, they own a car. Question: How many men said they own a car?

‘Show that 24 people were in the museum at 8 am.’ Well, I guess that would be 30 – 6.

And, remember, this is the Higher Tier, supposed to be for the brighter 16 year olds.

Dumbing down education? It looks like they might be right.

Or maybe it’s that, in recent years, there’s a expectation everyone should be able to get a qualification, even if that qualification is meaningless. The same happened with university degrees. At one time they were a sign of a certain level of intelligence or attainment but these days, when it’s expected that just about anyone can and should go to university, the whole concept of a degree gets devalued.

Or, maybe it’s just me and we should accept that 65p x4 or 30-6 are tricky sums for a 16 year old these days?

 

Thanks for reading.

Jack Diamond

(The views expressed in our Guest Blogs are personal opinions only and do not reflect the views of PCGraphics.)

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A Quick Tour Around…

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Egypt

In the past we’ve shown what we called a ‘Map of the Day,’ which featured a single map of one location from around the world, and published it on our Facebook page. But we’ve done it differently here.

Instead of one map, we’ve taken several maps and put them all onto this page on our blog.

Today it’s Egypt that we’re taking a quick tour around. Hope you enjoy your visit!

TR Land Template

Above, a general view of Egypt, showing the major cities and placing it in context amongst it’s neighbours Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel and Libya.

Egypt has more than 88 million inhabitants with the vast majority living in or around the Nile Valley.

TR Walk Template

Next we have central Cairo. Cairo is currently the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Middle East. We say ‘currently’ because plans have been announced to build a new capital city to the east of Cairo – read more details here on Wikipedia.

TR Walk Template  TR Walk Template  TR Walk Template

(You can click on any of these maps to view larger versions)

No visit to Egypt would be complete without a tour around the pyramids and tombs. Above we have, on the left, a plan of the pyramids of Giza. The map in the centre shows Saqqara (alternatively Sakkara or Saccara, depending on your preference), this being the vast necropolis for the ancient city of Memphis. On the right, a plan of Luxor which includes the site of Tutankhamun’s tomb and Howard Carter’s House.

TR Walk Template

Alexandria was founded by Alexander the Great around 331 BC. As well as being a tourist destination today, it is also a major seaport with 80% of Egypt’s imports and exports passing through it.

For more information on our maps, how we draw them and many hundreds of samples of our work, click on any of the social media and website links below.

 

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Don’t get me started…

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More thoughts, submitted on an occasional basis by our Guest Blogger:  Jack Diamond.

It’s (nearly) holiday time

Well, the holiday season is nearly upon us (unless, of course, you’re reading this in the southern hemisphere when it’s almost winter – bad luck!) and our thoughts turn to those annual two weeks in the sun, maybe in a foreign land.

Before you go, perhaps it might be wise to give a bit of thought to what your expectations are. I say this only because I came across the following article in the Toronto Star recently in which a couple of tour operators list some of the more ridiculous complaints they receive from their customers.

Here’s a few, you can read the remainder on the Toronto Star website:

“We booked an excursion to a water park but no-one told us we had to bring our swimming costumes and towels.”

“The beach was too sandy.”

“No one told us there would be fish in the sea. The children were startled.”

“It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England, it only took the Americans three hours to get home.”

It obviously takes a certain type of person to complain about the fish in the sea or the sand on the beach, but what is more worrying is that these people are actually allowed to roam loose on the streets!

Or, perhaps, it’s down to the compensation culture which is so prevalent these days? People will complain about absolutely anything in the hope of getting something for free. But, fish in the sea and too many Spaniards in Spain? Really?

Might I suggest IQ tests before people are allowed to book a holiday. Just a suggestion.

Thanks for reading.

Jack Diamond

(The views expressed in our Guest Blogs are personal opinions only and do not reflect the views of PCGraphics.)

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Don’t get me started…

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The European Union

Well, that’s the election out of the way here in the UK. The next thing on the agenda will be the referendum we’ve been promised, which will decide whether we stay in the European Union (EU) or not.

There’s a lot of opinions about this out there in the media and they’ll be a hell of a lot more before the referendum actually comes around.

But what’s the answer? Should we stay in or leave?

Well, I can’t tell you the answer, probably no-one can, because no-one knows all the effects of the UK leaving. And we don’t know what’s in the future for us if we stay in either.

I can tell you something though which would possibly satisfy those on either side of the argument, although it will probably never, ever happen.

My suggestion is this. That we revert the EU from its current state back to what is was originally when the UK joined.

It was known as the European Economic Community (EEC) or Common Market then and, to be fair, we (the people of the UK) have never been consulted on whether we wanted everything which came afterwards. We voted to join a Common Market NOT a United States of Europe.

I’d actually wager that it’s only a very small proportion of the population right across Europe who actually want a United States of Europe i.e. complete political and fiscal union. Most would welcome close ties between the countries on a commercial level. And that was the idea of the Common Market.

So, perhaps we should be campaigning for a Common Market and not an in/out referendum on an EU Super State? Good for business, good for jobs and therefore good for people too. Not so good, however, for all those bureaucrats in Brussels. But maybe, just maybe, we should put our own people and countries first before letting some nameless, faceless people decide things for us.

A Common Market NOT a United States of Europe. It can’t be that difficult, can it?

 

Thanks for reading,

Jack Diamond

 

(The views expressed in our Guest Blogs are personal opinions only and do not reflect the views of PCGraphics.)

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Nottingham Trams – Phase 2

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Phase 2 of the Nottingham Trams network – the extension of the tram lines to Chilwell and Clifton – is due to be completed in summer 2015. PCGraphics are proud to have been awarded the contract for producing the mapping for this project.

Several years ago we created the mapping for the original routes (you can see some samples on our website here) and we were very pleased when Tramlink Nottingham asked us to produce the new maps.

Each of the maps show an area covering 5 minutes walking time from every tram stop. In total we’ve created 50 maps – 27 new maps this time plus revisions to the original 23 maps.

All 50 maps are based on Ordnance Survey data and were created in the graphics programme Illustrator.

Despite a tight schedule, all the maps were supplied on time and within budget, something which we pride ourselves upon.

Many of the existing 23 tram stop maps can be seen on our Pinterest Board here.

Below, we’re pleased to preview 4 of the new maps produced for Tramlink Nottingham. Click on any of the images to view a larger version.

New Style template 2015   New Style template 2015

New Style template 2015   New Style template 2015

 

Visit the Nottingham Trams website for more information concerning the tramlines.

Details about the construction of Phase 2 of the tram service can be found here.

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Walk the Wight 2015

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Walk the Wight – 25th Anniversary     Sunday 10th May 2015

Every year thousands of people walk the length and breadth of the Isle of Wight to raise money for the Earl Mountbatten Hospice, the Isle of Wight’s only Hospice. The event has raised more than £3 million pounds over the past 25 years.

“The target in 2015 is to raise £250,000 towards our community nursing team, who provide care at home for people facing the end of their lives.”

You can help by raising money through sponsorship.

There are 4 separate walks to choose from:

  • The Full Walk: Bembridge to the Needles at Alum Bay (approx 26.5 miles / 8 to 12 hours)

  • The 1st Half: Bembridge to Carisbrooke (approx 12.5 miles / 4 to 6 hours)

  • The 2nd Half: Carisbrooke to the Needles at Alum Bay (approx 14 miles / 5 to 8 hours)

  • The Flat Walk: Sandown Bay Academy to Thompsons Trees, Shide (approx 8 miles / 2 to 3 hours)

Full details on the walk and how to register can be found on the Walk the Wight website

www.walkthewight.com

Walk the Wight is a fundraising event for the Earl Mountbatten Hospice. Visit the Hospice website here:

www.iwhospice.org

Walk_the_Wight

(PCGraphics (UK) Limited map of the full Walk the Wight route – Bembridge to the Needles)

 

 

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Birmingham – as it was 60 years ago

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Birmingham, the UK’s 2nd city with a population of around 1.1 million, has changed enormously over the years. The maps here date from approximately 60 years ago, which was around the time that a major redevelopment of Birmingham was planned to start.

From our library of old maps at PCGraphics, we’ve scanned some extracts from Geographia’s map of Birmingham and, as a comparison, the same area as shown on Google Maps today.

birmingham cover

You can click on any of the maps to view a larger version of the image.

First we’ll look at the area around Bournville, built by Cadbury in 1879 as a model town to house workers from their chocolate factory.

birmingham 4
birmingham 4 google
(Top: extract from 60 year old Geographia map of Birmingham. Below: Google map of the same area today. © Google 2015)

Next, an area covering Aston Park (next to Aston Villa Football Club) across to Gravelly Hill (now a major motorway junction, nicknamed spaghetti junction).

birmingham 1

The next four images form four quadrants around the central area of Birmingham.

The north west, Snow Hill station to Hockley.

birmingham 3.1

Going eastwards to Saltley.

birmingham 3.2

South west quadrant, New Street station to Ladywood.

birmingham 3.3

The south east, Moor Street to Bordesley and Small Heath (Small Heath being the original name for Birmingham City Football Club).

birmingham 3.4

This Geographia map of Birmingham is just one of many old maps we hold at PCGraphics. We originally acquired full coverage of the UK in 50 year old, royalty free mapping to give us a base to work from when creating copyright free maps.

You can find out more about how we create our maps at PCGraphics by following this link to our website.

There are also other pages of old maps here on this blog:

More old maps
London 1939
Ward-Lock Red Guide Books – Edinburgh
Ward-Lock Red Guide Books – Glasgow

If you pop over to our Pinterest boards, along with loads of samples of up to date maps produced by PCGraphics, there’s also a whole board dedicated to old mapping.

Don’t get me started…

if youve landed here

 

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More thoughts, submitted on an occasional basis by our Guest Blogger:  Jack Diamond.

 

Spam, spam and more spam

Well, here’s a piece of spam – several pieces in fact. Not very nice, is it?

Sliced_Spam

 

But, obviously that’s not what I want to talk about. I want to talk about the other sort. The sort that ends up in your email inbox every day.

Did you know that approximately 150 billion emails are sent every day? The majority of these are apparently sent by businesses so, assuming most of us work 5 days a week then that’s around 750 billion emails getting sent out every week.

At the last estimate, in 2010, there was just short of 7 billion people in the world. By my calculations that would mean that, every week, each person in the World could be receiving over 100 emails.

Obviously, there’s quite a sizeable number of people around the World who do not have access to the internet or don’t have email accounts and these people are not getting the benefit of the 100 emails each week. Meaning that the rest of us are receiving their share too.

Now, that’s just simply not fair.

I don’t want to deprive these people in far flung corners of the World from getting their share of the email deluge. But, more importantly to me and my sanity, I really, really don’t want to be receiving all this spam in my inbox.

Admittedly I don’t actually get to see most of it, it gets filtered out automatically by spam filters but a proportion of it still gets through.

But it’s just staggering how many emails are flying around the World each day  – 150 billion of them. And how many of them actually get read or even glanced at? If my own personal experience is anything to go by, then only perhaps around 10% of emails get read by the recipient. The rest gets deleted automatically as spam or, if it gets through, is trashed because I’m not interested. Based on that assumption, around 135 billion sent emails each day are considered spam.

With that in mind, it’s hardly surprising that the average office worker spends 28% of their time at work reading or writing emails (these were figures from 2012 so it’s probably more than that now).

What a glorious waste of time! What were all these people doing before we had email? I’m pretty sure we weren’t all sitting around reading and writing letters to put in the post for 28% of every day.

I’d guess that the idea originally was that email would speed up communication but, in effect, it’s simply created more and more communication than we ever had previously. And, if the contents of the spam folder on my computer is anything to go by, the vast majority of this communication is not wanted and a waste of time.

I never liked spam in tins and I don’t like it in my inbox either.

 

(The views expressed in our Guest Blogs are personal opinions only and do not reflect the views of PCGraphics.)

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Fancy something different to read? Try the new novel from Paul Webb – available now from Amazon.

A steamy concoction of passion, jealousy, greed and naivety from the writer of Bare Bones, also available on Amazon.

“…at less than £1.25 for the Kindle version, well worth a read.”

“…this one stands out from the crowd. Try not to miss it.”

“It doesn’t disappoint”

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Don’t get me started…

if youve landed here

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More thoughts, submitted on an occasional basis by our Guest Blogger:  Jack Diamond.

 

I was listening to the news recently and, out of the blue, I came up with some more quite staggering ideas to help the World run more efficiently. You might remember that I’ve come up with brilliant new ideas previously (see here) but, strangely, no-one seems to have taken up these brainwaves. But, anyway, not to be deterred here’s the latest…

Accident & Emergency

You will all have read recently, if you live anywhere in the UK, about the crisis in the NHS. Apparently there are too many people turning up at Accident & Emergency (A&E) Departments at hospitals with minor complaints, things which should ideally be treated by a GP.

The problem is, so we’re led to believe, that it takes so long to get an appointment with a GP that people go along to the hospital A&E Department to be seen more quickly. Obviously, this blocks up the A&E Department for those who have more serious complaints – actual accidents or emergencies, rather than a cold or sore throat.

Well, my cunning plan is…wait for it…why doesn’t every hospital set up a small department alongside A&E where the less serious patients can be diverted to, leaving the main A&E Department for the serious cases? This other department would be staffed by a couple of GPs – there’s already an ‘out of hours’ GP service at hospitals where you can go at night, for instance, if you have a minor ailment. Well, why not extend this to the daytime too?

The Triage Nurse at the hospital would decide, based on a person’s symptoms, whether they actually need A&E or can be diverted to a see a GP.

It sounds logical to me. But maybe that’s the problem? Huge organisations such as the NHS don’t seem to want to take the easy, cheap, effective solution. They appear to want to spend millions of Pounds on doing research and spending vast sums on computer systems when all that’s needed in some cases is some basic reorganisation and logical thinking.

So, that’s fixed the NHS. Now onto my next brilliant idea.

 

Black boxes on airplanes

We’ve all read over the past 6 months or so about airplanes crashing and the resultant search for the ‘black box’ flight data recorder (not sure why it’s called a black box when, I think, it’s actually red in colour) to find out the circumstances of the crash.

Well, surely the answer is for airplanes to automatically send the data not to the black box on the plane, but to a central data bank (or several data banks spread around the World) where the data can be retrieved instantly after an incident such as a crash.

This would dispense with the need for divers searching the seabed for the box and risking their own lives. We’re all familiar with ‘Cloud’ back up services for our computers, aren’t we? Well, isn’t it time that aircraft manufacturers caught up with everyone else in the World and backed up the flight record data ‘off site’ (i.e. to one of these data centres)?

Again, it seems so logical and straightforward that you’d wonder why it’s not being done already.

And, look, I wont even ask for any payment from aircraft manufacturers for using the idea (ok, a few grand would come in handy – hardly noticeable in the cost of a plane).

 

Now for something altogether less serious but slightly daft…

I recently bought a bag of peanuts from Lidl and, for want of anything better to do, glanced at what was written on the packet. And, yes, you’ve guessed it, there was the absurd health and safety notice informing the consumer of said peanuts that the packet ‘May contain traces of nuts’. Not actual peanuts, you’ll notice, but ‘traces’ of nuts!

I didn’t know which was more stupid, that the packager of the peanuts felt the need to inform the purchaser that the bag of peanuts contained nuts, or that I was only buying ‘traces’ of nuts!

Knew I should have gone to Waitrose or M&S anyway!

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If you’ve landed on this page and wish to go to the first page of the blog, click here

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___________________________

Fancy something different to read? Try the new novel from Paul Webb – available now from Amazon.

A steamy concoction of passion, jealousy, greed and naivety from the writer of Bare Bones, also available on Amazon.

“…at less than £1.25 for the Kindle version, well worth a read.”

“…this one stands out from the crowd. Try not to miss it.”

“It doesn’t disappoint”

paperweight_small

 

The best of 2014

if youve landed here

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…or, what we’ve been working on over the past 12 months.

 

January

Croatia

In January we produced maps for a new client, Dalmation Destinations, a tour operator based in London who specialise in chartered boats trips in Croatia and Montenegro.

February

Basic CMYK

February saw more maps for a regular client, the Assura Group. This particular map was for a walk route around Blyth.

March

ATG 09 design template

More maps, 17 in total this time, for another regular client, Audley Travel, all based around south east Asia.

April

EUROPE_JIGSAW

In April a new client from Ireland asked us to create an A2 size map of Europe to be used for a jigsaw.

May

Trouville_Sandown

Much closer to home in May when we produced this map of Sandown for the Trouville Hotel.

June

IHM NEWPORT 2012 final KP

Another regular client, Island Holiday Media, came back to us in June for maps covering Cowes and the River Medina.

July

Print

We produced this map of Liverpool Walks for the History Press in July.

August

DSCN2731

In August we once again visited sunny Spain – well, Menorca to be more precise. Seamus and Sean take a dip in the hotel pool.

September

Priory_Hospitals

This was one of two maps supplied to Priory Healthcare showing their locations around the UK.

October

helpful holidays

October, and another client who we’ve worked with over a number of years, Helpful Holidays. These were maps for their 2015 holiday brochure.

November

Capable_Travel

A new client, Capable Travel, wanted a 7 foot tall map of the UK for projection at a presentation they were doing.

December

CPM2 Region Template.ai

Another new client, this time On Foot Holidays, requested an initial 10 maps for their website followed by a further 14.

 

Loads more, literally hundreds, of samples of maps we’ve produced for clients can be found on our Pinterest boards

Have a good 2015!

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If you’ve landed on this page and wish to go to the first page of the blog, click here

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Follow PCGraphics on other social media:

PCGraphics website – customised digital mapping
Pinterest boards – currently over 500 samples of our work
Twitter
Facebook
Linkedin – PCGraphics showcase page

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Fancy something different to read? Try the new novel from Paul Webb – available now from Amazon.

A steamy concoction of passion, jealousy, greed and naivety from the writer of Bare Bones, also available on Amazon.

“…at less than £1.25 for the Kindle version, well worth a read.”

“…this one stands out from the crowd. Try not to miss it.”

“It doesn’t disappoint”

paperweight_small

 

Don’t get me started…

if youve landed here

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More thoughts, submitted on an occasional basis by our Guest Blogger:  Jack Diamond.

You couldn’t make it up 

Twelve thousand five hundred (yes, that’s 12,500) people travelled to Peru – with most of them flying – to talk about CO2 emissions.

Now, does any part of that statement sound incongruous? It would almost be funny if it weren’t true.

While the rest of the world is using text, email, conference calls and Skype, 12,500 people travel to Peru to have a chat. The UK alone sent 45 delegates.

But, don’t worry, there’s more too…

The 50,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide which were emitted during the conference is more than that produced by some countries. Yes, a conference in Peru debating how to cut CO2 emissions puts more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than several countries. You really couldn’t make it up.

The conference was supposed to be run on ‘green energy’ but that didn’t happen so diesel generators were used to provide the power. Perhaps there’s a lesson there somewhere. Who knows?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2873292/Global-climate-talks-involving-192-nations-saved-collapse-loophole-means-countries-continue-polluting-environment.html

 

And in other news…

“Police were called to a road on the Isle of Wight this afternoon after a vehicle collided with a fence. The incident happened at around 5pm in Bouldnor, near Yarmouth.

There were no injuries, but the fence was badly damaged.”

With all the doom and gloom in the news these days it’s great to have stories like this in the local press. It’s brilliant, but you have to feel sorry for the fence. Hopefully it will make a full recovery.

Thanks to the Isle of Wight County Press for this story. http://www.iwcp.co.uk/news/news/vehicle-collides-with-fence-70444.aspx

 

(The views expressed in our Guest Blogs are personal opinions only and do not reflect the views of PCGraphics.)

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If you’ve landed on this page and wish to go to the first page of the blog, click here

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Follow PCGraphics on other social media:

PCGraphics website – customised digital mapping
Pinterest boards – currently over 500 samples of our work
Twitter
Facebook
Linkedin – PCGraphics showcase page

___________________________

Fancy something different to read? Try the new novel from Paul Webb – available now from Amazon.

A steamy concoction of passion, jealousy and greed from the writer of Bare Bones, also available on Amazon.

“…at less than £1.25 for the Kindle version, well worth a read.”

“…this one stands out from the crowd. Try not to miss it.”

“It doesn’t disappoint”

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More old maps…

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We’ve taken our lives in our hands once again, ventured into the dusty corner of the office and raided the filing cabinet to bring you some more scans of old UK maps, this time it’s from a book called ‘The Popular Road Book of Great Britain’.

The Popular Road Book is undated but, judging by some of the information on the maps, it must have been published just before the Second World War, so the late 1930s is our best guess (apparently, it was after the war that the Western Avenue in west London was changed from the A403 to the A40; the London map shown here has the Western Avenue as the A403, hence our rough guess for the map being mid to late 1930s).

The original book is quite battered and brown/grey now (after about 80 years it’s not surprising) but we’ve cleaned these scans up a bit in Photoshop so they look somewhat better.

If you look back through this blog you’ll find lots of other old maps and guide books which we’ve put online from time to time.

We originally purchased our library of old maps to help us create royalty free UK mapping. Going back a few years, Ordnance Survey was very restrictive, and expensive, to base any new mapping upon, so we were forced to go to great lengths (buying maps more than 50 years old plus street checking every town and city and, more latterly, using GPS to plot motorway alignments around the country) to make new maps.

Since April 2010 however, a lot of the restrictions have been lifted and it’s easier and cheaper to use Ordnance Survey data as the basis for any new UK maps.

The maps shown here are Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cardiff, Coventry,
Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hull, leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Manchester,
Newcastle, Nottingham, Plymouth, Portsmouth,
Sheffield, Southampton and Stoke.

Click on any of the maps to enlarge them.

Birmingham BradfordBristolCardiff Coventry EdinburghGlasgowHullLeedsLeicesterLiverpoollondonManchesterNewcastleNottinghamplymouthPortsmouthSheffieldSouthamptonStoke

Remember, you can find out about all our NEW maps on our website.

If you’ve landed on this page and wish to go to the first page of the blog, click here

 

PCGraphics on other social media:

PCGraphics website – customised digital mapping
Pinterest boards – currently over 500 samples of our work
Twitter
Facebook
Linkedin – PCGraphics showcase page

Fancy something different to read? Try the new novel from Paul Webb – available now from Amazon.

A steamy concoction of passion, jealousy, greed and naivety from the writer of Bare Bones, also available on Amazon.

“…at less than £1.25 for the Kindle version, well worth a read.”

“…this one stands out from the crowd. Try not to miss it.”

“It won’t disappoint”

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New, revamped website goes live

if youve landed here

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We’re very pleased to announce that PCGraphics new, revamped, super-duper website has gone live!

With more samples of our work than you can shake a stick at, plus a design which blends in more easily with our social media sites – Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and this pcgblog too – it should enable all users to find what they are looking for more easily and give a much enhanced user browsing experience.

In other words, we think you’ll like it much more than the old site!

website_slides

 

Our other social media sites include:

pinterest_page_1 facebook_page_1
Pinterest     and     Facebook

twitter_page_1 linkedin_page_1

Twitter     and     Linkedin

 

If you’ve landed on this page and wish to go to the first page of the blog, click here

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PCGraphics on other social media:

PCGraphics website – customised digital mapping
Pinterest boards – currently over 500 samples of our work
Twitter
Facebook
Linkedin – PCGraphics showcase page

 

From the air…

if youve landed here

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Bembridge Harbour, on the Isle of Wight, was previously known as Brading Haven – the harbour inlet stretched inland to where the town of Brading is now situated. After several abortive attempts, Brading Haven was eventually drained and Bembridge Harbour formed by the building of the causeway which can be seen in the foreground of the photo.

The causeway is now a road but was originally built as a rail line linking the towns of St Helens and Bembridge.

brading_haven

Yarmouth, below, on the Isle of Wight, is one of the smallest towns in the UK with a population of around 800. The pier in the foreground is the longest wooden pier open to the public in the UK.

The Wightlink ferry (taking cars and foot passengers between Yarmouth and Lymington) can be seen to the right of the photograph.

yarmouth2

 

Both photos courtesy of Visit Isle of Wight. More superb photos can be found on their Facebook page.

 

If you’ve landed on this page and wish to go to the first page of the blog, click here

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Pinterest update

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pinterest

We’ve been very busy on Pinterest recently and added loads more samples of our work.

We use Pinterest because it’s easy to upload files and show samples of what we do. A website can be a bit limited when you’re producing hundreds of maps and want to display them, but Pinterest fits the bill perfectly.

And, when we say hundreds of maps we mean, literally, hundreds of maps.

Over the past week or so we’ve added around 400 images to our boards on Pinterest. We now have separate boards showing samples of Transport Maps, Location Maps, Walk Maps and now UK Town & City Maps (347 of these alone) – all in addition to our original Customised Mapping board.

So, if you’re looking to see what type of maps we can produce it’s certainly worth taking a look at what we have on Pinterest. And we’ll be adding more as and when time permits.

Here’s the link to our Pinterest boards

http://www.pinterest.com/pcgraphics/

If you have a Pinterest board of your own and would like to re-pin any of our maps, feel free. That’s why we put them there.

 

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If you’ve landed on this page and wish to go to the first page of the blog, click here

Don’t get me started…

if youve landed here

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Yet more ramblings, submitted on an occasional basis by our Guest Blogger:  Jack Diamond.

 

Scotland 1 England 3

No, it’s not the actual game I want to comment on, but the absurdity of this…

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/30110633

The article on the BBC Sport website refers to the fact that the English F.A. have apologised to the Scottish F.A. because of anti IRA chanting by English fans at the game.

Now, I think we all know that the IRA are/were a terrorist organisation. Yet the English F.A. have taken it upon themselves to apologise for some of their supporters being opposed to terrorist organisations and chanting songs which the IRA might, apparently, find offensive.

It really does beggar belief.

Since when has it been wrong to be opposed to a terrorist organisation? Since when has anyone felt the need to apologise for disliking terrorists? Surely any right minded, normal human being would be anti terrorist?

Apologising in case terrorists have been offended by a football chant? I can only think that it’s another example of this crazy, politically correct world we live in.

 

Political Correctness Gone Mad

Talking about the stupidity of political correctness, take a look at the following article which is carried by a number of newspapers. It concerns a small Primary School in rural England which has been downgraded by Ofsted (Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills in the UK) because it is not ‘culturally diverse’ enough.

http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/537313/Primary-school-denied-outstanding-Ofsted-too-english

You may have thought this stupidity was a one-off but go back about 5 months and we have almost the exact same story, except it’s a school in Devon this time.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2651108/Rural-school-deemed-white-Ofsted-visits-London-mix-ethnic-pupils.html

The school in Devon are having to send their pupils to meet and stay over with children from a ‘culturally diverse’ school in Isleworth, near London, at a cost to the parents of £35 per child. Three quarters of the pupils at the Isleworth school are from an ethnic minority background. All this for the Devon school to get an ‘outstanding’ rating by Ofsted.

As I said, it’s a crazy, politically correct world we live in.

 

(The views expressed in our Guest Blogs are personal opinions only and do not reflect the views of PCGraphics.)

somehow_the_same

If you’ve landed on this page and wish to go to the first page of the blog, click here

Don’t get me started…

if youve landed here

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More weird and wonderful thoughts, submitted on an occasional basis by our Guest Blogger:  Jack Diamond.

 

Will British people ever think in metric?

The title of my blog this week is stolen (yes I make no bones about it, charge me with plagiarism, I’m guilty) from a BBC article from a few years ago – 21 December 2011 to be precise.

I may have stolen the title but it’s actually a very good question. Will British people ever think in metric?

First of all, how did we start on this road to switch, or attempt to switch, from imperial to metric?

The more recent advances towards switching us here in the UK to thinking in tens and hundreds instead of…well, instead of all the seemingly random units that the Imperial system embraces…started around 1971 when our currency went decimal. As far as I recall (and, it must be remembered I was very, very young at the time), that switch went without too much of a hitch. Given that we coped with that pretty well, what happened to everything else?

The following year the British Government advocated a gradual change to the metric system. In 1973 we joined the EEC (European Economic Community or Common Market) and, by the way, does anyone recall what happened to the Common Market? On joining, we, apparently, agreed to adopt the metric system. And yet, here we are, with 2015 on the very near horizon, and we still go to the supermarket for a pint of milk.

Let’s take the pint of milk scenario a little further…

On the way back from the supermarket we might very well stop and fill the car with petrol. It’s when you’re standing at the pump watching the Pound signs racing past on the pump that you wonder how many miles per gallon (MPG) your car is actually getting. You don’t stand there thinking about litres per kilometre, unless you’re French of course.

After handing over most of your weekly wage to fill the petrol tank on the car you decide to head off home, obviously keeping within the speed limits. Now, what are those limits here in the UK? Ah, yes, 30mph, 40mph, 50mph, 60mph and, on a motorway or dual carriageway, 70mph. Not kilometres per hour, you notice.

And, if you do venture onto the motorway, you’ll notice too that all the motorway signage is in yards and miles.

Now, perhaps because you did that detour onto the motorway just to check out the signs, you realise you’re heading away from home and are getting somewhat lost. Not to worry, leave the motorway at the next junction (with the signs counting down to your exit in yards) and pull up and ask directions. I can pretty much guarantee that the person you ask will tell you something along the lines of ‘Take a right at the roundabout, follow the road for a mile or so, then do another right and you’ll pass the White Horse pub after about a hundred yards.’ From there you can find your way home.

But, as you’re passing the White Horse pub you decide to pop in for a quick one (yes, I know you shouldn’t drink and drive but this is just fiction to make my point!). You go up to the bar and order a pint of Best. Not a litre, please note, or you’d get odd looks from the barman who might start talking in a loud voice to you, thinking you’re French.

Standing at the bar with your pint mug in your hand, your phone beeps. You look at the message. How wonderful, while you’ve been to the supermarket for your pint of milk, bought your 20 gallons of petrol, gone a mile or two down the motorway and stopped for a pint at the pub, your wife has given birth to a baby boy. She’s pleased to tell you it’s a very healthy 9lbs 8oz. You buy another pint, and one for the barman as well, to celebrate.

Wisely leaving your car at the pub as you’ve had a few more pints, you order a taxi and it turns up several minutes later. Jumping into the passenger seat you manage to hit your head. The driver laughs with you and you agree it’s one of the problems of being such a big lad. How tall are you? he asks. Just over 6 foot, you reply and he leaves the car park with a splatter of gravel and a crunch of gears.

Of course, if you’d have been French instead of British you might have told the taxi driver you were about 182.88 centimetres but that would have ended the conversation for the entire journey and he’d have probably overcharged you more than he’s already going to, on the basis that you were a foreigner.

Stepping out of the taxi and fishing in your pocket for the key to the front door, which you hope you haven’t left in the White Horse, you smile to yourself knowing that your weight, about thirteen stone, is in proportion to your 6 foot frame. Hopefully your newly born son will inherit your size. 9lbs 8oz is a good weight for a baby – not that your wife probably thinks that way at the moment, but she’ll get over it.

Walking through to the kitchen, you switch the kettle on to make a cup of tea (which is why you went out to get the milk initially, wasn’t it?) After all, we British love a nice cup of tea. It’s traditional and we don’t give up tradition very easily, do we?

 

You can obviously see where I’ve been going, rather laboriously, with the above story. After some 43 years we still haven’t embraced the metric system. That’s nearly half a century. Yes, we changed the currency but most other things remain the same – or, at best, we use a combination of both systems.

Personally, I find millimetres and centimetres very useful. I mean, come on, how many of us really want to work with fractions of an inch. Millimetres are so much better than dealing with sixteenths of an inch. No problems there.

But when we get onto the bigger distances, miles are still most people’s default measurement. Just look at all the examples in the story above.

You can buy milk in litres, but you can more readily buy pints of the stuff (or 5 pint bottles if you have a thirst on). And, of course, everyone calls it a pint of milk – except the French, but then they do eat frogs and snails. Enough said.

The only fly in the ointment are our schools where, probably on the orders of Government going back to 1973, they teach our school kids in kilometres and litres. All well and good, but it does leave us to teach the kids at home what miles and pints are. After all, these kids will have to grow up in the real world where we still use Imperial for half or more of our measurements.

Now, you’d think it would be pretty difficult for any nation to run two measurement systems side by side but I think we actually manage it pretty well. We use metric for some things and Imperial for others. Horses for courses.

Except, aren’t horses measured in hands and racecourses in furlongs? Oh, no, that’s just going to confuse things further.

Will British people ever think in metric?  No, probably not. Some things are just too ingrained into us.

But one question does still remain unanswered. What happened to the Common Market that we joined way back in 1973? It seemed like such a good idea at the time.

 

(The views expressed in our Guest Blogs are personal opinions only and do not reflect the views of PCGraphics.)

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The PCGraphics ‘Who’s Who’ of Tourism Companies

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We mentioned (ok, boasted) recently in a blog post about the number of Tour Operator and Tourism companies we’ve worked with over the years. Well…we decided to see just how many we could find in a quick search through our records. Ok, so we were bored and had a few minutes to spare in the office!

It reads a bit like a Who’s Who of tourism. There’s some big names in there, plus some smaller outfits too.

Have a quick look and see if we’ve drawn maps for your holiday company.

Deep breath, here we go…

Accoladia
Accommodation Line
Acorn Ski
Affinity Villas
Africa & Asia Venture
Africa Travel Centre
American Holidays
Audley Travel Group
Bailey Robinson
Balfour France
Belfast International Airport
Bonnes Vacances
British Airways Holidays
Bufo Ventures
CARIBTOURS
Cassis Travel Services
Castaways Holidays
Citysightseeing
Classic Crete
Colours Of Oz
Consort Travel
Croatian Villas
Crossgates
Dilos Holiday World
Driveline
Edwin Doran’s Travel World
Emerald Global
European Travel Commission
Farside Africa
Fast Track Holidays
Fens Tourism
First Choice Holidays
French Golf Holidays
Geodyssey
Getaway UK
Helpful Holidays
Holiday Options
Holidays 4U
Honeymoon Worldwide Holidays
Hotel Connect
Hotels Abroad
Ian Mearns Holidays
IMS Travel & Consultancy
International Chapters
International Travel Connections
Iron Donkey Bicycle Touring
Isle of Wight Tourism
Kerala Connections
Kirker Holidays
Kuoni Voyages
Lupus Travel
Major Travel
Mallorca Farmhouses
Manos Travel
Mayo Naturally
Med Hotels
MyStay
New Experience Holidays
Not Just Villas
Ocean Explorer
Quark Expeditions
Quest Travel
Recommended Hotels
Regent Holidays
Room Service
Routes Online
Russia Revealed
SAS – Scandinavian Airline System
Select Apartments
Shearings Holidays
Shetland Island Tourism
Ski Activity
Ski Class
Something Special
Sovereign Holidays
STA Travel
Sunways
Swan Hellenic
The Caravan Club
The Peru Experience
The Responsible Safari Company
The Ultimate Travel Company
Thomson Travel Group
Tim Best Travel
Tony Backhurst Scuba Travel
Travelbeam
Travelbound
Traveleads
TUI
Venue Holidays
Vintage Travel
Virgin Holidays
Visit Norwich
Voyager Zambia
Wanderlust
Western Oriental
Westport Tourism
Wilderness Dawning Safaris
Worldwide Holidays Direct
WOTIF.COM
Yes Travel

falklands CPM2 Template landscape.ai peru Botswana Rwanda-Uganda ATG 09 design template IHM NEWPORT 2012 final KP Croatia Capable_Travel

For some of these clients we’ve already been busy creating new mapping and revising existing maps for their 2015 holiday destinations – and it’s only the end of October 2014 as I write this. We actually started the first of the maps for 2015 back in July!

So…and here comes the sales part (look away now if you’re of a nervous disposition)…if you work in the tourism industry and would like to talk to us about some new maps for your website or brochures, then don’t hesitate. We can handle last minute requests but it makes it easier all round, for us and for you, if we get a bit more time to produce exactly what you want.

For enquiries, either skip over to the contact page on our website, or email us. It’s dead easy really. And we’re very friendly too.

Oh, and enjoy next year’s holiday too, wherever you happen to be going and whoever’s map you are using.

 

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If you’ve landed on this page and wish to go to the first page of the blog, click here

Don’t get me started…

if youve landed here

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More oddball thoughts, submitted on an occasional basis by our Guest Blogger:  Jack Diamond.

 

Well, this week I’ve put my thinking cap on and, amazingly, come up with a solution to some of our problems here in the UK.

The problems I’ve solved are to do with defence, border controls and financial budgets.

 

It was simple, really. No, it was. Listen…

The first step in my mind-blowingly simple plan is for us, and here I mean our leaders in Government and our military chiefs, to stop bombing and invading other countries. I know, it’s radical, isn’t it?

And, here’s how it works.

We pull all our overseas troops home to the UK. The UK currently has troops in a number of foreign countries (source) – Kenya, Sierra Leone, Brunei, Canada, Cyprus, Germany, Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands. There’s possibly more. And this list doesn’t include those we’ve invaded or bombed recently e.g. Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and, going back a few more years, places like Kosovo.

So, now that we’re not bombing or invading other countries, what do we do with all these troops that we’ve brought home?

Easy.

We use them at ports and airports around the UK to bolster the struggling UK Border Control staff. After all, these military people are all part of our Ministry of Defence, so what better job for them to do than to actually, physically defend the UK’s borders?

The clue to this thinking is really in the name, the Ministry of Defence. It’s not called the Ministry of Attack, or the Ministry of Invade or Bomb Other Countries. Their job is to defend the UK and what better place to start than at our borders?

This policy of not bombing or invading other countries will also have a few other knock-on effects which will be positive. It will save us billions, yes billions of Pounds annually. In one conflict alone, Afghanistan, it’s cost the UK around £37 billion (source). That’s one hell of a price for a war which really has very little to do with us and which has probably contributed, along with our incursion into Iraq, to many of the terror atrocities here at home.

Our bombing of Libya is estimated to have cost around £950 million (source). And that was without any troops on the ground – allegedly. The outcome of this bombing? Libya is fast becoming classified as a ‘failed state’ (source).

So, there’s plenty of money to be saved by not invading or bombing people. Plus we get a big increase of personnel at our ports and airports, which can only be a good thing.

I could also get started on our stock of nuclear weapons (who are we planning to use these against? Our major enemy these days are terrorists at home and we certainly wont be nuking them, or at least I trust not). So, why do we need them?

But, that’s for another day. For now, bring our troops home and make the UK a safer place. Oh, and save a bucket load of money too.

 

 

(The views expressed in our Guest Blogs are personal opinions only and do not reflect the views of PCGraphics.)

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Location Maps – why do we need them?

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Location_Maps_thumb

We’ve been in business since 1998 and, almost since Day 1, we’ve been producing location maps for businesses on a regular basis. The question though is why do businesses, and people in general, need location maps when it seems like just about everyone has a smart phone with access to Google Maps or similar apps?

Well, there’s obviously a need for them. We don’t produce location maps for fun, we produce them because people approach us and ask us (oh, and pay us to produce the map too, that’s important!).

I suppose a better question might be, why doesn’t Google Maps, or whoever, fulfil this requirement?

Perhaps it’s because it’s seen as a lazy way of interacting with a client who wants to visit your business location, office etc. Here’s our address, now go and look it up for yourself on the internet to find out how to get to us.

Also, if you are trying to contact potential clients through a print medium – a retail store advertising in a newspaper, for instance – you have to use a location map.

So, location maps do work and people need them, which probably explains why we’re still producing these types of maps even though Google has mapped (almost) the whole World.

The next question, having decided that it would be best if potential clients knew where to find your business, is ‘What kind of location map do I want?’

Well, there’s as many different styles of location map as there are businesses. Well, ok, not quite, but you get the general idea. You can have whatever size and style and colours you like. Everything from a map of the whole country showing your multiple locations…

Priory_Hospitals

To a map closely centred on your location, such as this one we produced for the St John’s Ambulance a few years ago…

Basic CMYK

You can also have direction to your offices, which helps if your location is a bit more difficult to find or where there is particular car parking areas to use, or one-way streets etc to navigate. All these can be shown on the map or on a panel next to it.

Shoreham_Port

Or, do you fancy more of a street map, showing the surrounding area, streets etc? This particular sample was for the Wrenwood Hotel in Boscombe, near Bournemouth. Invaluable for guests travelling to the hotel.

Wrenwood_LOCATION

And here’s another example. This one was produced for Audley Travel – one of our tour operator clients, situated at the end of the very picturesque New Mill Lane, just outside Witney in Oxfordshire. Audley use the location maps on their website.

audley_location

Walsh & Co, a firm of solicitors based in Cornwall, asked us to produce this map to highlight their location. Again, it’s also on their website.

Walsh&CoMap

Closer to home – closer to our home, anyway – this black and white location map was created recently for the Trouville Hotel in Sandown, on the Isle of Wight…

Trouville Sandown

And even mapping companies need location maps too. This was ours when we had offices in Old Woking, Surrey…

PCG_WOKING_LOCATION

And, remember, it doesn’t have to be for a business. We get requests for location maps for weddings, village and town hall events, museums and galleries and just about everything else you can think of. If people need to find you, then you probably need a location map.

If you like any of our sample maps here and think you’d like something similar for your own business, then do contact us. We’re more than happy to give you free advice and a quote for your map. All we need to know is a rough idea of what style of map you want, any logos etc to be included and whether you want directions to your location. Oh, and the address would be handy too!

There’s more info about location maps on our website, or drop us an email info@pcgraphics.uk.com

 

somehow_the_same

If you’ve landed on this page and wish to go to the first page of the blog, click here

Don’t get me started…

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More off-the-wall thoughts, submitted on an occasional basis by our Guest Blogger:  Jack Diamond.

 

This week I’m taking a look back in time with ‘Whatever Happened to…

 

First, whatever happened to – Repetitive Strain Injury?

Does anyone remember when repetitive strain injury was about as common as the adverts on Downton Abbey (for the uninitiated, Downton Abbey is a period drama on UK TV interrupted every few minutes, it seems, by adverts)? It was caused by doing the same actions, usually involving the upper arms or fingers, repeatedly and intensely over a period of time.

According to the NHS website repetitive strain was ‘a general term used to describe the pain felt in muscles, nerves and tendons caused by repetitive movement and overuse.’

So, basically, it was caused by using muscles a lot that hadn’t been used in a while previously.

And people were taking time off work for this and getting moved to do different jobs because of the ‘repetitive strain’ of doing that one task over and over again. There were even probably a few individuals who sought financial compensation from their employers for the effects of repetitive strain injury.

I wonder what today’s teenagers would make of repetitive strain? My guess is they’d probably ignore it. I mean, have you seen the speed teenager’s move their thumbs when texting or updating their Facebook statuses? And they do this for hours at a time – walking in the street, sitting on buses and trains, on the way to school, on the way home from school and, probably but who knows, during lessons at school as well.

Repetitive strain is a thing of the past. I can’t imagine any kid these days running to their mother, complaining about the pain in their thumbs from constantly texting.

Did it ever exist? Undoubtably, some people got sore muscles from doing one task too frequently over a period of time. I have the same problem when I kick a football around for 90 minutes non stop. My muscles ache.

Today’s kids, with their constant texting, have put paid to repetitive strain injury.

Whatever happened to – Acid Rain?

If you were around, and read the newspapers or listened to the news, in the 1970s or 1980s, you will undoubtably have heard of acid rain. It was, we were told, going to destroy all our forests and woodlands and, following that, probably civilisation as we know it. Well, what happened to it? Everything went quiet on the acid rain front.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I have no doubt that acid rain actually existed. In fact, if I remember my geography and physics lessons correctly, all rain is acidic. But this version of acid rain was apparently caused by coal fired power stations.

Obviously, we in the UK took steps to shut down our coal fired power stations. Problem solved.

Or not. From news reports of only a couple of years ago, China was building 363 new coal burning power stations. On top of that, India was building 455. There were 1,200 coal plants in the various stages of planning across 59 countries.

So, what happened to acid rain?

I’m not for one minute suggesting it never existed and that we were misled by governments, environmentalists and the sensationalist section of the tabloid press, but we have far, far more coal fired power plants than in the 1970s and 1980s and yet no-one speaks of acid rain these days.

Perhaps it’s simply because we’ve got bigger and better things to worry about these days?

Whatever happened to – Swine Flu?

You must remember the swine flu epidemic? It was only a few years ago and our government here in the UK was forecasting 65,000 deaths in this country alone.

So, what happened to it?

Well, there was swine flu and it did kill some people – mostly those with pre-existing conditions. How many people did it kill in the UK? Certainly not the 65,000 that the experts were expecting.

The actual number of deaths from swine flu in the UK was 457.

So, we had a massive over estimate of the number of deaths. What else? Oh, yes, the government, in their wisdom, made plans to buy 132 million doses of the swine flu vaccine. The population of the UK is about 64 million. So, that would have been more than two doses of the vaccine for each and every person in the UK, assuming that every person wanted the vaccine (or, indeed, wanted two doses of it).

Why, you have to ask? Why would any Civil Servant or Minister in the Government sign a contact for that number of vaccines?

The total cost of the swine flu pandemic was put at over £1.2 billion. That’s 1.2 billion Pounds of our tax payer’s money here in the UK.

So, what happened to swine flu?

Again, yes, it did obviously exist – 457 people died from it. But it wasn’t the massive, looming disaster that we were, again, led to believe.

 

So, I have to ask, do you believe it these days when governments, environmentalists or anyone else give us warnings of doom and gloom about how the world is going to end, imminently, if we don’t do something quickly (which, it seems, usually means paying money to someone or raising taxes)?

I, for one, have become slightly, just slightly, cynical over the years.

 

 

(The views expressed in our Guest Blogs are personal opinions only and do not reflect the views of PCGraphics.)

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Happy Birthday

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__________________________________________________________________________

Happy Birthday…to us!

On the 1st October 2014 PCGraphics celebrated it’s 16th birthday. Yes, we started way back in 1998.

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We’ve been through some highs and lows in that time. Some of the highlights of the past 16 years were:

• Employing some great people

• Managing to get through those first difficult years when most new companies fail

• Winning some good contracts and having clients who actually become personal friends

• Having fun along the way

 

And, some of the less good things included:

• Employing a few people who simply weren’t interested in working

• Dealing with all the admin and red tape of running a company

• Trying to understand Balance Sheets

 

But, we must have been doing something right as we’re still around and doing business when a number of our competitors have gone to the wall.

So, Happy Birthday to us as we start year 17. Here’s to the next 16.

 

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(Where it all began – The Hall, Guildford. Our first offices)

 

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Company Director profile – Sally Cooney

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This is the second in our PCGraphics Company Director profiles. The first, for Paul, can be found here.
 
Here’s what Sally, our Production Director, has to say for herself.
 
I was born and brought up in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire. For those in the know, its where the TV show Last of the Summer Wine was filmed in the 70’s 80’ and 90’s – Compo, Clegg, Foggy etc. When I left home at the age of 19 to go to University, I’d make a point of watching Last of the Summer Wine to remind me of home.
 
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(Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons)
 
I was very studious at school all the way through my GCSE’s and A Levels, a bit of a swot by all accounts. I don’t mind saying that A Levels were quite probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done (including what I studied at University) – I did manage B,B,C in Geography, Social Biology and Maths / Statistics respectively. I also managed to find the time for another GCSE while I was doing my A Levels – GCSE in Russian, but don’t ask me to speak any of it now though!
 
 Those results were enough to get me to a decent red brick university to study Geography – in Southampton. Just about as far away from Holmfirth as you can get, but I didn’t mind that, I wasn’t planning on coming home mid term and the climate is significantly better down south!
 
You can read more about my work choices and how I ended up in cartography by following this link to another of our blog posts.
 
And so to life on the Isle of Wight – what a gem of a place to live! In between drawing maps and bringing up 2 young boys, I spend my time gardening, baking, running and dabbling on the sewing machine which was gifted to me by a kind neighbour. It’s a 1920s Singer crank handle manual sewing machine and its a work of art.
 
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On Saturdays, whenever possible, I like to participate in a Park Run at Newport which is a timed 3 mile route around Seaclose Park, the site of the annual Isle of Wight Music Festival. Occasionally the venue is moved to Appley Park in Ryde which is lovely – what could be better than running alongside the beach? I even manage to do some advertising with my PCG t-shirt on – you’ve got to take these opportunities where you can!park_run(Sally, left, sauntering past some back markers in the Park Run at the Appley Park site near Ryde)Well, that’s enough about me…probably more than enough!If you’ve landed on this page and wish to go to the first page of the blog, click here

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London 1939

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In our blog this week we’re looking again at a publication from the collection of old maps which we hold at PCGraphics. This time we’re off to London and it’s 1939, mostly looking at the areas of north and east London. These are taken from an Atlas of London (the London Pocket Atlas and Guide), produced by John Bartholomew & Son Ltd in 1939. It’s similar in format to the Ward Lock Red Guides which we’ve shown previously on here (indeed it also looks very similar to those books in that it is approximately the same size and also has a red cover). This Bartholomew guide, however, has many more maps (perhaps that’s to be expected, as Bartholomew are a mapping company) and less descriptive text than the Ward Lock offerings and no adverts.

There is still some interesting things to read within the covers and the scans below are an example, particularly the derivation of some London place names.

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(Click on any of the images to see an enlargement)

A testament to the most popular form of long distance transport at this time is show in the extract below, where there is a listing of shipping companies plus the main docks within London. Contrast this with the much shorter list of civil aerodromes and it is clear that most people travelled by sea.

Heathrow is listed but, at this time, it was only a minor airfield, being upgraded to a larger military airport around 1944. Obviously, when the war ended a year later, it changed to become a civil airport and grew to be what it is today – the busiest international passenger airport in the World.

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Next we move on to some of the maps from the guide book. Firstly, the areas around Rotherhithe, Poplar and Greenwich, much of which has been rebuilt lately.

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(Click on any of the images to see an enlargement)

Now, a look slightly further east to Woolwich and Plumstead, which, again, has undergone a lot of building work since 1939.

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(Click on any of the images to see an enlargement)

Moving north to Tottenham, Walthamstow and Leytonstone, things haven’t changed quite so much.

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(Click on any of the images to see an enlargement)

Below is the area from Highgate up to Wood Green, as it was in 1939.

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(Click on any of the images to see an enlargement)

North west London now, around Hendon, Neasden and Golders Green. If you looked at a modern map of this area today you’d notice that a lot of the open areas of land in 1939 have disappeared.

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(Click on any of the images to see an enlargement)

And, finally, ending with a scan from some of the text, this one informing us of some of the Museums and Art Galleries we could visit along with other places of interest.

It’s quite interesting to look at some of the entries, for example:

•  Bethnal Green Museum – this is now the Victoria & Albert Museum of Childhood.
•  The Diploma Galleries are now part of the Royal Academy.
•  Home Office Industrial Museum – heaven knows what this was! Can’t find any records of it.
•  Apothecaries’ Hall – The Worshipful Society of Apothecaries (you may need to refer to Wikipedia for this one).

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(Click on any of the images to see an enlargement)

That’s about it for London in 1939. More to come in the future as we make our way through a filing cabinet full of old maps!

 

Remember, if you need up to date, custom drawn maps, visit our website.

 

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Don’t get me started…

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Some vaguely articulate ramblings, submitted on an occasional basis by our Guest Blogger:  Jack Diamond.

 

After the vote

Now that we’ve got the independence of Scotland out of the way we can move on to other matters. How about independence for England? Or, independence for the south east of England? Failing that, may I suggest that the Isle of Wight reforms it’s independence party – I say reformed because there was a movement by the Vectis National Party to change the Island to a Crown Dependency in the 1970s.

An independent Isle of Wight? Is that a daft suggestion? Maybe, maybe not. The Isle of Man is a Crown Dependency and seems to do ok. And the way solar energy farms are springing up across the Island, plus, more recently, the requests for permission to build wind farms off the south coast, it’s not inconceivable that the Isle of Wight will be energy self sufficient in a decade or two. So, maybe independence is not so far fetched after all.

Of course, an independent country will need a leader. We all know that our current political leaders are inept, both locally and in Westminster, so we’d need someone new. Someone untainted by the past fiascos of those in power. Someone intelligent, strong, knowledgable, affable and, most of all, modest.

Now, even though I’m a shy, retiring type of person and not one to push myself forward, I could possibly be persuaded to offer my services as leader of the new Island State. But, and I can almost hear you all saying this already, why stop at simply calling myself ‘Leader’ – why not make me Emperor or King?

King Jack of Wight does has a certain pleasant ring about it, even if I say so myself. I’m also very good at waving and looking haughty, which are, indisputably, requirements for the job of monarch.

And once crowned as King, what would my first decree be? Well, the first one is fairly simple. Reduce the stupidly high ferry fares to and from the Island. Ok, we wouldn’t be reducing them so much that it encourages the riffraff to travel across the Solent – we’re trying to encourage the discerning visitor after all – but just enough so that it doesn’t put off the more desirable elements of society. I mean, we do have some standards. Of course, though, anyone from Basingstoke or Germany would be banned outright, which I’d assume, would be a universally popular decision?

Someplace to live would be next on the list. There’s nothing wrong with where I live at present, but would it really be suitable for a Head of State? Probably not, in my opinion. So, I’d need somewhere more in keeping with my new-found prominent position in society. My tastes are fairly modest as far as this requirement goes, so a small residence such as that once so loved by another monarch, Queen Victoria, would perhaps be suitable.

Osborne_House

(Osborne House, once the summer home of Queen Victoria on the Isle of Wight)

Osborne House fits the bill admirably – not too ostentatious, an extra bedroom or two for guests and room in the grounds for a vegetable patch – and I could possibly be persuaded to relocate there. There is the slight problem that Osborne House is run by English Heritage at present but that can be sorted fairly easily. After all, once we become independent, English Heritage wont be on the Island and the property will be looking for a suitable resident. I am willing to be that tenant – though, obviously, I wouldn’t want to be saddled with the running costs of the monstrosity so that would have to be paid from local taxes. But I’ll leave the subject of taxes to another time. Some people get upset at the thought of paying taxes to keep monarchs, Prime Ministers and even Members of Parliament in the style to which they think they deserve to be kept, so I’ll wait until I’m King and settled in to my new abode before levying the taxes upon my subjects.

Next, there’s an awful lot of elderly folk on the Isle of Wight and that’s all very nice and proper but I do think it would be best for them, and for everyone else, if they were moved  to a remote, unvisited corner of the Island. Or Chale, as it’s known locally. Better for them and better for the visitors who come across. I mean, no-one who goes on holiday wants to have to fight their way through hordes of dribbling grannies to get to the beach or be run over by mobility scooters being driven by demented OAPs. So, better for everyone if they are moved to Chale, out of harm’s way.

And that’s just for starters. I’ll keep all my other plans up my sleeve until after independence and until I’m crowned King of the Island. I think that’s the way it’s done, judging by what I’ve seen elsewhere. It’s never best, apparently, to tell the general public too much or, as in the case of our current politicians, anything truthful at all.

So, you see, what could possibly go wrong with independence? I’m all for it.

 

(The views expressed in our Guest Blogs are personal opinions only and do not reflect the views of PCGraphics. We would also like to point out that we have no grievances against grannies, OAPs, people from Basingstoke, Germany or even those from Chale.)

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Career Choices

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Author – Sally Cooney, Production Director at PCGraphics (UK) Limited

Some Thoughts about Career Choices
(or  How I Became a Cartographer)

It was back in 1995 and I can remember sitting in the Careers Office of Southampton University in the January of my final year. They say that any student who reads Geography at University doesn’t know what career they what to go into, and they were right!

I’d had a great time at Southampton, including an expedition to the Arctic for a month (you can read more on that topic here), but I was looking for a career. I knew that I’d always loved geography, maps and drawing and set about trying to find something which combined all three. I had a flash of inspiration when I thought about the Cartographic Services within the University Geography Department, maybe I could make a career out of that?

I was accepted on an accelerated Masters course at Glasgow University which would “convert” me in to a Cartographer. As this was my second degree, I had to fund myself with a Career Development Loan (£6000 at that time) to pay for course fees and living for 12 months. Believe me, there’s nothing like paying for the course yourself to concentrate your mind! I had to be pretty sure that I’d get a job at the end of it all. To be honest, I didn’t enjoy much of my time in Glasgow, for me the spirit of being a student didn’t really apply as a postgraduate.

BSc_Graduation

Just before I finished my course in Sept 1996 I was offered my first job at ESR, a cartographic company in Byfleet, Surrey, as a Junior Technician. I was amazed that I could be paid for something I loved doing. It hardly seemed like work!

As a junior, the pay wasn’t great but I was making some headway in paying off my Career Development Loan. I spent most of that year drawing town plan maps for Thomson Directories, 400+ of them all over the country! I loved it, and the in-depth knowledge of that project would become very useful to us in the years that followed.

In October 1997, ESR was falling apart and a select few were invited from ESR to join Lovell Johns in Oxfordshire. This was a big step for me with a steep learning curve, but I advanced from a junior technician to be running some significant projects.

In September 1998 an opportunity became available to be more than just an employee. At 25, and with only 2 years cartographic experience, Paul, who had been my manager at both ESR and Lovell Johns, asked whether I wanted to be involved with his newly setup company, PCGraphics. I didn’t take long to decide. I wasn’t especially happy living away from home all week at Lovell Johns and this meant that I could move back to Surrey permanently where I’d bought a house in 1996.

Being a Director took some getting used to, especially in the early days of the company, but now we’re master of our own destiny, as they say, and life is a bit easier.

Cartography has been a great career for me but whether it’s so easy to get into these days is open to question. One of the previous articles on this blog talked about the demise of many of the larger cartographic companies over the past 15 years or so and, while there are still a number of mapping companies around, very few of them are the size they used to be, which does cut down the number of opportunities. But, if you’ve got a degree in Geography and, like me, don’t quite know what to do with it, then cartography is probably still worth considering.

 

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Don’t get me started…

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Some vaguely articulate ramblings, submitted on an occasional basis by our Guest Blogger:  Jack Diamond

 

Back to school

Yes, it’s that time again. Now that the long summer holidays are drawing to a close, all our little angels are marching proudly back to school this week.

New uniforms have been bought. New shoes purchased or old ones polished to make them look respectable for the start of the new school year. But one piece of uniform you can’t have at our local Primary School is a scarf.

No, not even when it’s the middle of winter and there’s three inches of snow on the ground are the children allowed to wear scarves inside the school grounds. Why? Yes, you’ve guessed it, it’s Health and Safety. Children can get strangled by scarves. I’m not sure how many children lose their lives each year because of scarves, but the school isn’t taking any chances.

And there’s other crazy rules too.

Come Christmas time, little Wayne or Chardonnay (or whatever the latest chavvy names are) will possibly come home one day from school and be delighted to tell you that they are appearing in the school play at the end of December. They might be one of the shepherds, or an angel or, if they’ve been really good all year at school and not been excluded from too many classes, Mary or Joseph.

And how brilliant, with modern technology and communications, that you could catch the little darlings on video and send copies to your friends and relatives to watch them too. And, of course, in years to come, you’ll be able to look back at them and see how little Harry or Britney started their careers on the stage.

Except you can’t, at least not in our local Primary School. Why? No photography or video is allowed on the school premises – and this includes school plays, sports days etc. No, seriously, it’s not. Or, to be accurate, no photos or videos are allowed to be taken by parents.

School staff take some photos and will sell those pictures to the parents should you wish to buy them, but you can’t take photos or videos of your own children yourself.

And why is that? The reason is that if any parents, at the start of the school year, state that they don’t want photos of their children taken, then a blanket ban is imposed on every child in the school. Yes, the wishes of the minority outweighs those of the majority – hardly democracy in action.

But, perhaps best of all, was one Christmas time the class teacher was asked by a parent if she could write down the first names of the boys and girls in the class so that their child could send everyone a Christmas card. You would have thought that would be straightforward, but no, you would have been wrong. The Head Teacher had to be consulted in case it broke the Data Protection Act or, God forbid, infringed someone’s Human Rights (Ok, the Human Rights bit was an exaggeration, but you get the drift). In the end, common sense did prevail and the child was able to send cards to all her friends and get the names spelt right, but what madness that the teacher actually had to ask if it was alright to give out the children’s names to another parent.

When exactly did all this nonsense start? I know we have to protect children, but sometimes it just seems to go a bit crazy.

 

There’s something wrong…

Isn’t there something wrong when a footballer, and one unknown to many of us in the UK, can be paid £280,000 per week – yes, that’s £280,000 every week –  (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2740187/280-000-week-Britain-s-best-paid-footballer-Colombian-star-Falcao-signs-Manchester-United-loan.html) when we as a country can’t, it seems, even afford to offer a little five year old boy cancer treatment costing around £65,000 (http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/sep/01/ashya-kings-parents-remanded-custody-judge-considers-extradition).

Words, for once, fail me.

 

(The views expressed in our Guest Blogs are personal opinions only and do not necessarily reflect the views of PCGraphics

 

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Don’t get me started…

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Some vaguely articulate ramblings, submitted on an occasional basis by our Guest Blogger:  Jack Diamond

 

Military jet escorts Qatar Airways plane to Manchester Airport

This was a news story recently in the UK and I’m sure it happens in some other countries too. A Royal Air Force fighter jet was scrambled and escorted a commercial airliner into Manchester airport after a note was passed to the aircraft captain saying there was an explosive device onboard.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-28662561

There’s also amateur footage of the Typhoon jet circling around the Airbus 330.

Now, my question is – what is the purpose of the fighter jet ‘escorting’ the commercial airliner to the airport?

It can’t be to reassure the passengers, many were quoted as saying they were terrified and thought they were going to die when they saw the Typhoon jet alongside their aircraft.

If there was a bomb and it went off, what would the Air Force jet do? At best nothing, at worst it could get caught up in the explosion.

Or is the policy to shoot the commercial jet out of the sky if the situation worsens? I can’t think of any other reason for it being there apart from this. And would a RAF jet really shoot down a commercial airliner over the UK? Would this be sanctioned by the government?

There’s a huge outcry from some quarters in the UK when the police open fire on armed criminals etc. Can you imagine the reaction if a commercial airline was shot down by the RAF?

So, given all this, why is a military jet sent up to ‘escort’ an airliner?

 

A Monster in the Vegetable Patch

There’s probably a number of plants which could make a claim for being the most vigorous in the growing department but I’m going to make a nomination here for a plant, a vegetable in fact, which we grow here in the UK, and it’s a pretty common one too. My vote goes to the humble courgette.

Surprised? You probably wont be if you’re a gardener and grow vegetables. Anyone who has grown them knows how rampant they are. They start off as innocuous little seedlings but, given a month or so in the ground, they turn into rampaging monsters.

And never, ever turn your back on them and go away for a week’s holiday (God forbid you go away and leave them for two whole weeks) because in that short time you’ll come back to huge monstrosities lurking in your vegetable patch.

It’s not only the size of the plant, it’s the fruit (yes, the part of the courgette plant you eat is actually a fruit) which grows to massive dimensions if left unattended on the plant. And, unless you have a family of twelve to feed, then don’t ever be tempted to grow more than one courgette plant. These things throw out new fruits each and every day, sometimes several appear on each plant overnight. So, unless you and your family are on a serious courgette only diet, then just plant the one. And don’t be tempted to go away on holiday and leave it to its own devices. You’ll need a machete to deal with it if you do.

 

Eating Out

Ok, I’ll own up straight away, it’s mostly McDonalds, Burger King, Wimpy and the like I’m talking about here. It’s fair to say that these are fairly relaxed establishments – the food is cheap as is the decor. But, is it reasonable, even in these restaurants, to allow your children to run around screaming and annoying everyone else or, as we saw recently in a Wimpy restaurant, two kids around 7 or 8 years old lying on the tables?  Yes, I did say lying and not leaning. I’m talking about getting up on the table and lying flat out. This was with the mothers of the little brats sitting at an adjacent table and taking absolutely no notice. Or, probably more accurately, not a case of not noticing but either not bothering to tell the kids to get off the table or finding nothing wrong with what they were doing.

Now, obviously, every child plays up from time to time and tries to push the boundaries, but what is the mentality of the parents who simply let their children do whatever they like? Or is it something in the set up of these places which makes parents feel it’s ok for the kids to act like this? I don’t know. But what I do know is that none of the 6 or 7 staff actively on duty, and not particularly busy, felt compelled to go over and speak to the little angels or their parents.

So, is this sort of behaviour simply accepted these days? Or, should we as the other customers, the general public, intervene and tell them to get down off the table or to stop running around screaming or throwing their food around? Would you?

If you did speak to them I’m fairly sure you’d get a mouthful of abuse – and not just from the parents either.

 

And, while we’re on the subject of eating out

What is it with computerised ordering systems in restaurants that make them so inflexible, or is it simply the waiters?

And why am I even bringing the subject up?

Whilst travelling a little while ago, it was convenient for us to stay, and eat an evening meal, at a Travelodge hotel. No problem and everything started ok with the soup course. Unfortunately, the roll provided with the soup was of the miniature variety. Again, no problem, just ask for another one. Or so we thought.

But, it seems, with the computer system they use, you can’t simply order a roll. It can only be served with soup.

So, what would most waiters do in this situation? Easiest thing, you’d think, would be to go to the kitchen and bring a roll to the customer. But no, apparently they can’t do that. It has to go through the computer and the computer says you can’t order a roll on it’s own.

Yes, I know, it’s only a bread roll and nothing to make a fuss about. And we didn’t. We were just a little perplexed by it.

The worst thing really is that this Travelodge was at one of Britain’s main airports. Somewhere that many hundreds or, more probably, thousands of foreign visitors pass through each year. What, we wondered, would someone from Italy or France or anywhere else make of this? It’s not the best introduction to a new country when you request some extra bread with your dinner and the answer is a straight ‘No’.

Either the computer system needs a kick up the backside or the waiter does.

 

 

(The views expressed in our Guest Blogs are personal opinions only and do not necessarily reflect the views of PCGraphics)

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Cartography – a dying art?

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Cartography, the art and science of making maps, has been around for many thousands of years. Indeed, the oldest known map is dated at several thousand years BC. So, why would something that has been with us for such a long period of time be dying out and is it actually the case that the art of cartography is dying?

The short answer is no, cartography itself isn’t dying. There are probably more maps available today than at any time previously. Just look on the internet and you’ll find, without much effort at all, Google Maps, Apple Maps, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps and countless others too, all covering the whole world and all available in various levels of detail. But, and this is perhaps the important part, it’s arguable that even though there’s so much cartography around, the profession of cartographer is becoming extinct.

So, what do we base this assertion on, that the there are less cartographers around these days even though there are maps just about everywhere you look?

One method is easy, just look at the employment figures from the largest map producer in the UK, Ordnance Survey. Over the years their numbers have dropped considerably. From published figures, in 2006 there were 1470 employees (and very few of this number would be cartographers) yet by 2011, only 5 years later, numbers had dropped by about a quarter to 1132, and that number is no doubt considerably lower today.

According to Wikipedia, the roots of Ordnance Survey go back to 1747, when the compilation of a map of the Scottish Highlands was proposed. From there, the Triangulation of Great Britain took place between 1783 and 1853, which gave us the basis of the Ordnance Survey maps we see today. 

Ordnance Survey is still a large organisation by most standards but most of the smaller cartographic companies have reduced in size too. Indeed, many small and medium sized cartographic companies have fallen by the wayside over the past 20 years. Even here at PCGraphics, going back 14 or so years, we used to permanently employ around 15 or more cartographers, whereas these days we operate a very small team and use freelancers when necessary. And all this when the number and variety of maps in the marketplace has risen dramatically.

MCE

(Back in the 1970’s, Mapping and Charting Establishment – MCE(RE) – was perhaps second only to Ordnance Survey in the number of cartographers it employed. This was the intake of new, trainee cartographers in 1972, around 50 of them, which was the usual number of trainees taken on each year at MCE. How many organisations take on that number of cartographers each year these days? None.)

What we have now though are huge databases of maps and satellite imagery (e.g. Google maps and Google Earth) and very few companies producing customised maps.

It would also be easy to argue that, even if cartography itself is not dying, the art of cartography is possibly dying. Why? Computers are certainly a part of it. Few would disagree that 30 years or so ago, when maps were drawn ‘by hand’, that it was an art. In fact, it was also very laborious, painstaking and expensive but it definitely was an art. These days, much of the art has gone out of cartography. Extracting an area from a large database and changing the specification (the colours, line widths etc) is hardly the cutting edge of artistic design.

There still are maps out there which have been artistically designed but, and here’s another part of the reason why they are in decline, they cost an arm and a leg to produce.

Occasionally at PCGraphics we get asked to produce what we term illustrative maps. These are maps that are not strictly cartographic but look more artistic and even, in some cases, hand drawn. These maps can be very pretty to look at, but the fact is that they aren’t always so user friendly and are very expensive to produce. Hence we don’t get asked to produce them very often.

So, there’s still a small number of cartographic companies such as us at PCGraphics out there producing customised mapping. But is what we are creating ‘art’? Possibly not, but it’s still a pretty good profession to be in, and, fortunately for us, there still is a market out there for people and companies who don’t want the same ubiquitous Google map as their competitor.

 

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Ward-Lock Red Guide Books – Edinburgh

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Following on from our look at vintage Glasgow, Bath and Harrogate guide books, here we take a trip back to Edinburgh in 1952, courtesy of Ward-Lock’s Red Guide.

edinburgh_front_cover

Maps are an important part of any guide book but there were only three maps in the Red Guide to Edinburgh, which is quite surprising by today’s standards, especially considering that the Guide Book is getting on for 200 pages long.

The first map was an overview map of the area surrounding Edinburgh. Then, further into the Guide, came the map of central Edinburgh (an extract of which we’ve shown below) and, near the end, a map of the Portobello region.

One of our own maps of Edinburgh is shown here for comparison.

edinburgh_map

(Extract from the 1952 map of Edinburgh included in the Ward Lock Guide Book)

Edinburgh_Town_Plan

(Our own map of Edinburgh produced a few years ago for Thomson Local Directories)

Although the maps are interesting – and pretty essential in any guide book both in 1952 and today – the adverts in the Red Guides are also of interest and give a unique insight into the way things were then and how they’ve changed today.

In 1952 the predominant advertisers in the Guide Books were Insurance Companies, not something you’d find in too many Guide Books these days. In fact, there were six individual adverts for insurance, most of them full page advertisements, in the Edinburgh guide. There were also three adverts for Banks – the Westminster Bank, National Provincial Bank and the Standard Bank of South Africa.

edinburgh_advert_4  edinburgh_advert_3edinburgh_advert_2

The text in the Guide Book can be quite amusing too. Does anyone in the UK remember when shops used to close for a half day once a week? How about fishmongers closing on Monday afternoons; drapers and jewellers on Tuesdays; bakers, butchers, grocers, chemists, hairdressers and stationers on Wednesdays; plus most of the shops on Princes Street in Edinburgh on Saturday afternoons? Imagine having to keep track of that lot and arranging your weekly shop around when they were actually open! No wonder supermarkets, opening 24/7, took over.

early_closing

And, just in case you wanted to know how you should visit Edinburgh, we’ve included here the text from a few of the pages – all written in what seems like a rather quaint way, but this was probably standard for the time.

Edinburgh in Half a Day is typical of this:

If one has but half a day to devote to Edinburgh and no private car to speed – or hamper – one, it is possible (with the occasional aid of public conveyances and without overtaxing one’s legs) to ‘do’ most of the major sights, after a fashion; but while the New Town openly displays its charms and its story is such that he who runs may read, it must be borne in mind that the Old Town hides many of its rarest treasures in obscure corners – courts and closes, wynds and vennels – which baffle the hustling globe-trotter and can only be explored on foot.

 

how_to_see_edinburgh in_half_day_2

Some of the places of interest listed for Edinburgh in 1952 included the Public Library, the Register House and the Signet Library (but, please note that use of this library is granted only to applicants who have been ‘suitably recommended’).

places_of_interest

At PCGraphics we have many more of these Ward Lock Guide Books, plus other maps and tourist books, all more than 50 years old and some as old as 100 years. They were originally bought to give us ‘royalty free’ source material for creating town and city plans of the UK. That requirement has now been largely made redundant by the freeing up of Ordnance Survey data but they are still a fascinating insight into times gone by.

(You can click on any of the images above to view them at a larger size)

 

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Open Studios 2014

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If you’re interested in art then you will surely be interested in Open Studios 2014. The event, on the Isle of Wight, is held across two weekends in July and it’s a unique opportunity to see the work of over 130 artists and craftspeople as they open the doors of their studios to the public. And, what’s more, it’s all absolutely free.

Work on show includes paintings in oil and watercolour, pottery, jewellery, textiles, sculptures, glasswork plus much, much more.

Open Studios is on between Friday 18 July and Monday 21 July 2014 and again between Friday 25 July and Monday 28 July 2014.

To find out more about Open Studios 2014, follow the link below:

http://www.isleofwightarts.com/openstudios/

For a list of all the participants, along with samples of their work, follow this link:

http://isleofwightarts.com/yearbook.php

PCGraphics (UK) Limited are pleased to have supplied the maps for Open Studios, locating more than 130 artists across the Island.

 

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Isle of Wight Festivals

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There’s loads of festivals across the Island throughout the year. Below are just a few of the one’s on during 2014 – the big ones are obviously the Isle of Wight Music Festival and, later in the year, Bestival. Having said that, the Garlic Festival over the weekend of 16 & 17 August attracts around 20,000 visitors and several thousand scooterists turn up for the International Scooter Rally, also in August.

Isle of Wight Festival
12 – 15 June 2014
Featuring, amongst others
Biffy Clyro; Calvin Harris; Red Hot Chili Peppers; The Specials; Kings of Leon; Suede; Boy George; Inspiral Carpets; Alison Moyet
https://www.isleofwightfestival.com

iw_festival
(Isle of Wight Festival 2013)

Bestival
4 – 7 September 2014
Featuring, amongst others
Outkast; Foals; Chic featuring Nile Rodgers; Beck; Disclosure; Major Lazer; Busta Rhymes; Paloma Faith; Basement Jaxx
http://www.bestival.net

bestival
(Bestival 2013)

The Isle of Wight Walking Festival will take place from 3rd to 18th May 2014

The Old Gaffers Festival at Yarmouth takes place from May 30th -1st June 2014

old_gaffers
(Old Gaffers 2013)

There’s a Festival of Flowers at Barton Manor on Sunday 8th June

The Isle of Wight Festival of the Sea will take place over five days between Monday 16th and Monday 23rd June

The Garlic Festival is on from 16/08/2014 – 17/08/2014

The International Scooter Rally comes each year to Isle of Wight. This year from 23/08/2014 – 26/08/2014

V-Dub Island is on from 14/08/2014 – 18/08/2014

Isle of Wight Cycling Festival is between 13/09/2014 – 28/09/2014

Literary Festival, across the Island from 16/10/2014 – 19/10/2014

The Isle of Wight Autumn Walking Festival 24/10/2014 – 27/10/2014

Plus, many of the towns and villages have their own festivals and carnivals, including illuminated and children’s carnivals.

You can find out more about what’s on across the Isle of Wight on the Visit Isle of Wight website.

bembride  towards_culver  culver2
(Left – the beach near Bembridge; Centre – view towards Culver Down; Right – Culver in the foreground with Bembridge in the middle distance).

Images courtesy of the Visit Isle of Wight Facebook page.

 

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Ward-Lock Red Guide Books – Glasgow

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This is the third in our series of glimpses into the Red Guide Books produced by Ward-Lock. This particular title, Glasgow, was published around 1939-40. The books don’t tend to be dated anywhere obvious i.e. not on the cover or the publisher’s credits page as might be usual. Sometimes they require a little bit of searching to find the publication date and, in this edition, it can be found at the foot of one of the pages of adverts. Occasionally the maps within the Guide Book are dated and this can also give a clue as to the date of publication.

glasgow-cover

(Above, Ward-Lock Glasgow front cover)

(Below, Ward-Lock Glasgow introduction page)

glasgow-introduction

(Click on any of the images to enlarge)

The Introduction to Glasgow page (above) is quite interesting. In the first line we’re told that the population, in 1939, is ‘well over a million’. I think most of us would expect that figure to have increased, perhaps substantially, over the last 75 years but the official figure is now around 625,000. Some of this can be put down to boundary changes but Wikipedia also gives the following explanation:

Glasgow’s population peaked in 1931 at 1,088,000, and for over 40 years remained over 1 million. However, in the 1960s the population started to decline, partly due to relocation to the “new towns” in clearings of the poverty-stricken inner city areas like the Gorbals.

For those who don’t know Glasgow, the Gorbals was a notorious slum area on the south side of the River Clyde with a high population density, many living in tenement buildings. The Gorbals was often referred to as the most dangerous place in the UK in the 1930s.

glasgow-map

 

Mapping in the Glasgow Guide Book, as in previous books, was provided by John Bartholomew and Son, the Edinburgh based cartographic company. The name of Bartholomew is still around in the mapping world today, albeit only as part of Harper Collins – the name Collins Bartholomew is given to Harper Collins cartographic datasets. The map extract, above, shows an area around Kelvingrove in Glasgow.

Adverts from these Guide Books are always entertaining and the one below is no different. Take a look at the Salvation Army advert on the right hand page, below. Who could resist the plea to send a gift to ‘Slum mothers and Children’ so that they may go on a ‘Slum Holiday’?

glasgow-advert2

The advert for the National Provincial Bank (later to become the National Westminster and then NatWest), below right, attempts to paint the bank in a somewhat different light to how we perhaps perceive banks today.

“Not the least of the attractions of the city of London, are the half-hidden by-ways and alleys, so rich in historic association. The ancient rights of way, thus jealously guarded against the encroachments of the master-builder, are a permanent witness to the great traditions of the city. Amongst the institutions proud to share in such a heritage is the National Provincial Bank.”

glasgow-advert1

 

All the Ward-Lock Red Guides used photographs as well as maps to illustrate the publication. The photos were black & white and usually of well known landmarks or scenic views. The picture below shows George Square in Glasgow from the 1939 Guide.

 

glasgow-georgesquare

 

So far we’ve covered Harrogate, Bath and now Glasgow with our look back at the Ward-Lock Guide Books. More of these come in the future.

 

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Transport Maps

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Buses, trams, trains – most of us use these at one time or another and many of us need maps to help us navigate the various transport systems, especially when the town or city is unfamiliar to us. Transport maps were therefore an important and high profile addition to the range of maps we could offer our clients.

We began producing maps for transport companies back in 2004 when we created our first maps for the Nottingham Tram Consortium. The initial project consisted of a system overview map plus detailed maps of each tram stop with each map showing the surrounding streets etc.

Nottingham_Trams_System   nottingham_system_extract

(Left, the system overview map and right, an enlarged extract showing the level of detail on the map)

In total there were 23 tram maps and these all followed a similar style to the Old Market Square map shown below, and all incorporating local information including pubs, museums, Council Offices, libraries, tourist information centres etc.

Old_Market_Square

tram_photo

(Above, trams at the Old Market Square on the Nottingham Tram network – photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Next we moved on to buses and in 2006 we began work on a large project for Yellow Buses in Bournemouth where we mapped every bus route across the conurbation of Bournemouth, Boscombe, Poole and parts of Christchurch. The network map, below, covers the complete area and shows not only the bus routes but most of the main roads across the whole of the area.

Bournemouth_Network

In addition to this, we also created what were termed Spider Maps, along with schematic maps and route maps for each individual bus route on the system.

The schematic map was a stylised map of all the bus routes – similar in design to the iconic London Underground maps, and a simple way to find your way around Bournemouth by bus, but not, of course, geographically accurate.

Bournemouth_Schematic

(Above, Yellow Buses schematic map)

The Spider Maps took the schematic map and highlighted each of the major bus intersections in a separate map with detail on where to board each individual bus. The map below shows the Boscombe Spider Map.

Spider_Boscombe

(Boscombe Spider Map)

We also created route maps for Yellow Buses where every bus stop on the bus route was shown. The route map below is a good example and is for the number 5 route from Bournemouth Town Centre to Kinson.

route_map

All of the maps above were based on Ordnance Survey material, rather than royalty free, as this was the quickest and easiest method for producing them.

A few years after the Yellow Bus maps we produced a map of the Isle of Wight showing all the Southern Vectis bus routes around the Island. Our client for this project was Island Holiday Media (now trading as Solent) whom we still work with today. This was just one of many maps of the Island which we worked on before moving over here in 2010.

southern_vectis

We’re hoping to be producing more transport maps in the not too distant future, possibly airline route maps – something which we haven’t covered as yet.

(Copyright notice – Some of the maps above contain Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database rights 2014)

 

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