How come I wasn't able to join in the fun and festivities of events such as the Tour de France whizzing through Preuilly-sur-Claise?
Well, on 9 July, I had to attend a meeting at the Land Registry office in Lincoln's Inn Fields in London. Just quietly, the people at this meeting are the ones who really rule the world. These people are Geographic Information (GI) professionals. Some of them are good old fashioned cartographers (otherwise known as professional map nerds), some of them are probably Spatial Analysts (and everyone who reads the British newspaper, the Telegraph, should now know what they are). What these people do pervades every aspect of modern life, and without the software they design and the information they provide, our experiences of shopping, travelling, communication and understanding of natural phenomena would all be considerably less sophisticated.
Sir John Soanes Museum, where I took my colleagues for a post-meeting outing. My friend Tim Knox is the Director, so we were treated to a personal, if whirlwind, tour, including getting up close and personal with Hogarth's A Rake's Progress. (This is just an excuse for me to make a shameless plug for the museum, which I can heartily recommend you visit if you are in London.)
And this man is my boss. I should point out that neither he nor I are GI professionals. He is in fact an accountant, but he is edging towards an understanding of geographic issues in the modern world.
If you are interested in learning more about the world of GI, there are some interesting blogs out there.
I suggest starting with Muki Haklay's Po ve Sham, which means 'this and that' in his native Hebrew. Muki is a Professor at University College London (UCL), and writes on how GI is being put to practical use in the real world.
Then you could move on to Tim Warr's blog. He works for Multimap, who you may notice credited at the bottom of some online maps. Multimap is owned by Microsoft these days.
Steven Feldman's giscussions is also worth a look, as he is a real enthusiast and all round nice bloke.
For old fashioned map type maps, albeit with a twist always, you cannot beat Strange Maps for sheer quirky fun and often outright bizarreness.
If you feel up to it, you could go to Ed Parson's blog. He works for Google as their Geospatial Technologist, and operates on a higher plane than the rest of us (he's a very amusing public speaker though). Do temper any reading of his blog by also reading the Fake Ed Parsons. All good fun in small doses, and you will certainly increase your vocubulary.