London, August 29 : A leading cartographer has warned that Internet mapping is wiping the rich geography and history of Britain off the map.
According to a report in New Scientist, Mary Spence, President of the British Cartographical Society, has made the warning.
Churches, cathedrals, stately homes, battlefields, ancient woodlands, rivers, eccentric landmarks and many more features which make up the tapestry of the British landscape are not being represented in online maps, which focus on merely providing driving directions, according to Spence.
"As a result, such monuments could fade from public consciousness," she told a session on the Future of the Map at the annual conference in London of the Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers.
"Corporate cartographers are demolishing thousands of years of history, not to mention Britain's geography, at a stroke, by not including them on maps," said Spence. "We're in danger of losing what makes maps unique; giving us a feel for a place," she added.
Spence is particularly critical of the maps from the Internet giant Google, and has even accused the company of using poor, inadequate and incorrect data.
For proving her point, she compared the Gloucestershire town of Tewkesbury, as shown on Ordnance Survey maps and as shown by Google.
The Ordnance Survey map shows Tewkesbury Abbey; the site of the 1471 Battle of Tewkesbury; the museum; the River Swilgate; various churches; the hospital, council offices, a weir and the cemetery.
None are on the Google map.
The only feature visible is the Tewkesbury Park Hotel Golf and Country Club.
"There is just a hole where the Abbey is," said Spence. "This is tragic. They call this a map, but it is so inadequate. It has not been interpreted in any way. It has no landmarks on it," she explained.
Also, the Royal Geographical Society in Kensington in London along Exhibition Road, home to the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum; were not shown on the Google map of the area.
"The public need to know that what they're getting on Google is not accurate and isn't up to date," said Spence.