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Thursday, June 24, 2004

Getting started... The purpose of MapWatch

A few hundred years ago the most advanced maps were carefully drawn by hand. These maps were based upon geographic positions that were painstakingly determined by an expert navigator. The navigator needed to be expert at - measuring the stars, calculating, creating a geographic coordinate system on paper from scratch, and plotting the information accurately. Rarely did all of these skills converge in a single individual.

Today making a map is much easier. Accurate locations in the field can be gathered by pressing a button on a GPS receiver and accurately plotted in seconds through the use of a computer and mapping software. As with the mapmakers of long ago the basic data still comes from the sky - only from satellites now instead of from the stars.

The amazing part of this is... most advances from the hand-drawn map to the computer-generated map have happened within the past couple of decades - and these advancements are accelerating every year.

The purpose of MapWatch is to serve people who have an interest in maps and GPS - pointing them to information, teaching them how to use it and helping them recognize how a knowledge of maps and mapping can enrich their lives.

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