The Geographers’ AZ Map Company, makers of those iconic London atlases, got quite a bit of publicity earlier this week for putting out an extract of their latest map, showing the complete Olympic venues and Olympic Park layout, despite the event still being eighteen months away. Indeed the map will only be accurate during summer 2012 itself, as most of the venues will then be dismantled, and the park re-landscaped, after the six weeks of Olympic and Paralympic events.
They weren’t the first in getting their public map up-to-date though – I added in simplified shapes of the key arenas in the Olympic Park to OpenStreetMap, based on first hand observation from the park perimeter fence and the bus tours, several months ago. The Olympic Stadium is very roughly drawn, in particular. However, the Bing Maps announcement, also this week, of donations of its aerial imagery to OpenStreetMap, may mean I can update the shape to match the “bowl” that is visible in the circa 2008 photography available of the park.
Also, the OS has today made available a PDF of a special map – Engineering the Olympic Park – made for the Institute of Civil Engineers (more details). It’s a shame I only heard about this now, as a paper copy would have been a (map-)collector’s item, and they were handing them out at the View Tube which is close by where I live. Oh well.
The OS map’s photo of “Before 2005″ is slightly cheeky, implying the entire site was full of rubbish bins, pylons and abandoned caravans. Certainly parts of the site were derelict, but other parts were quite pleasant. As a more thorough representation, Diamond Geezer did a careful survey of the whole area before the fences went up in 2007/8. Actually, having looking at the photos there again now, the dereliction probably did outweigh the beauty.
(As an aside, some of the other details on the A-Z extract are questionable, even without considering representation of buildings that don’t yet exist and might not end up entirely like their planned form. There appears to be a giant “playground” in Victoria Park, in the left-most part of the extract, which is just another part of the park’s grassland area in real life. They’ve also got the old Hackney Marshes sports pavilion, shown as “Pav” on the top-left of the extract, even though this was demolished last year and replaced by a new, larger building, further to the west, which opened last weekend. It seems that in their (quite understandable) rush to capitalise on the Olympic buzz, they’ve forgotten about the local community changes surrounding the park. Hmm, now where have I heard of that before?)