Mapmaking has existed for centuries. In ancient times, the making of maps was done by experienced professionals with a high degree of expertise. It was a tedious process with low accuracy. Development of printers then led to the making of several copies with ease. And as technology advanced, new mapping methods have developed. Currently, maps are made through a technique referred to as digital mapping.
Digital mapping is the process of collecting spatial data and representing it visually into a map. It is a process which takes limited time and produces maps of high quality, and most importantly, high accuracy. Digitally produced maps include the Google Street View maps. This is a modern map which enables the user to view a location as if they were standing right there. It’s both informative and exciting.
The process of developing these maps has been enhanced by the development of global positioning systemS (GPS). Data is collected using a GPS receiver. The receiver receives signals from at least three GPS satellites. It uses these signals to determine the actual location of the receiver using longitudes and latitudes. This location is to within an accuracy of between 20m to 5m radius. The data stored by the receiver is then downloaded to computer developed mapping software. This mapping software uses satellite imagery, in conjunction with the GPS data, to come up with sophisticated maps.
The Google Street View maps go the extra mile to bring out virtually real locations. In addition to satellite imagery and GPS data, they employ the use of unique cars fitted with nine cameras. These cameras are arranged to capture a 360-degree view. The images captured are then merged, to produce one actual image of the location.
One of the main advantages of digital maps is that they can be easily updated as new features on the ground are developed.