If you’re not sure what a “ley line” is, join the club, nobody is that sure, except that, in pre-christian times people put down mark stones or menhirs(big standing stones) all over the country and they seem to line up with each other. These points where leys crossed often had churches buildt on them.
The lines are reputed to be “old paths” or energy lines or something. I’m a dyed in the wool sceptic in general but there’s something about maps isn’t there?
I recently googled for “ley lines york” and found this one, The York Ley which runs from Clifford’s Tower to beyond the Minster. The map was terrible though, so I thought I’d have a go at drawing it on a Google map.
All sorts of things jumped out from this excercise, such as, as soon as I’d connected the two points I noticed all sorts of personal connections to the line (I think I live on it right now and also think I was born on it too….).
I then went out and bought an OS Explorer map to see if there were any other topological features I’d missed on the ley. I found a Roman Camp on the line near the Bumper Castle (a pub), maybe that’s too modern though.
The I realized, although I’d managed to draw a line using google maps, I’d need to brush up my geometry to extend the line hundreds of miles to see if it connected with any other features. I bought THE book on ley lines by Alfred Watkins and he mentions how difficult it is to spot ley lines because you need a large scale map to see the mounds (they are often only small and you need the detail) but then they are so far apart that you’d need an airplane hanger to lay out all the maps together.
It then occurred to me that the ley line community, if there is one, need a collaborative google map, on which they enter possible items of note. Whether or not these items line up can be worked out or discovered by a computer rather than an individual.
To make it easier to add items on my map, you just click it (you do have to add a URL though, thanks to my current ropey code).
It really annoys me that Google maps doesn’t have features like pubs, churches etc on it. And I really hate the fact that Ordanance Survey own the data on maps and love the idea that grassroots GPSers may, street by street, pub by pub, piecemeal-style, start adding data into a shared map that we can all use.
It seems there are also people trying to put pressure on the uk government to open up geo data collected by the government (there’s heaps of it apparently). It’s our data, we paid for it, we want it back please.
One problem with many grassroots attempts is that they expect that your collaboration should involve you going to their site to upload your data. This hardly ever works (friends reunited worked, but not for long). Why can’t they adopt the Google model, which says, you create your map data and we will come and find it? It’s the only way that might work because it removes the main barrier to it not working (time, effort and just remembering to do it).
Now, can anyone tell what GPS gadget I should buy (I use MacOS X)?
p.s I’m gonna have to buy this book … Mapping Hacks and start hacking.