How old is your road map?

Phil Hale at is a fellow director of , as well as a former colleague of mine.  He also kindly arranged to fit Tulip (my trusty SmartNav) to my Merc.  But that disclosure shouldn’t prevent me saying how good Phil is at identifying interesting, creative and relevant media stories.

 The latest is a survey based story claiming five million drivers are using outdated maps – many actually being from last century.  Bizarrely the survey alleges 138,000 drivers are using maps from before 1950 – pre-dating Britain’s first motorways, so I assume they don’t travel far from home [I feel that is a rather questionable extrapolation though].

What I like about this story is it has individual relevance (how old is the roadmap in your car?), the potential for discussion and includes some useful information regarding road projects completed in the last decade (which helps give some local relevance too).

There is the plug for Trafficmaster with 21 per cent of motorists favouring sat nav systems instead of road maps (along with a subtle dig at competitors whose maps are not updated regularly).  However, this doesn’t take away from the value of the story and the fact that there is a natural linkage to Trafficmaster as the experts behind the survey.

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Heather Yaxley PhD

Dr. Heather Yaxley is passionate about sustainable careers, reflective practice and professional development. I am a rhizomatic educator, practitioner, consultant, academic and scholar. As a qualified academic, I teach the CIPR professional qualifications with PR Academy and have experience teaching at various Universities. I run the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA) and my own strategic consultancy. I was awarded by PhD researching Career Strategies in Public Relations by Bournemouth University in 2017. I'm a published author, with books, chapters and academic papers to my name.

11 thoughts on “How old is your road map?”

  1. I too worked with Phil Hale. Sadly, my recollection is someone who was very slow to get a round in at the pub.

  2. I am asking all the Blogpower bloggers to publicise the July 1st Blogpower Awards ceremony (1400 London time) on their blogs. I have a sidebar item on mine with a link to the venue in Second Life. Could you do something similar please, or at least put up a post this week encouraging people to go?

    The SLURL (Second Life URL) which will take people directly to the event is at my site to copy and paste.

    I have hosted suitable advertising pictures at my blog as follows – you can link to them or download them from there.

    Please help to make this novel event a success!


    Tom Paine

  3. Someone would clean up if they published a map with EVERY bridge in the UK on it. Truckers have an awful job you know!

  4. Jill – I read a press release recently about a new map for truckers, but I can’t remember who was behind it and couldn’t find it online. I’ll let you know if I can locate it. I’m not sure also whether some of the route finders have special truck features. I’ve a meeting with Phil this afternoon, so I’ll ask him.

  5. Found it (hadn’t emptied my email delete file this week). Dated: 25 June 2007 – TRUCKERS’ ATLAS BRITAIN FROM FTA

    The Freight Transport Association has published the Truckers’ Atlas Britain. The new book now includes comprehensive details of truckstops and cafes, narrow and weak bridges, speed cameras and 4,700 low bridge heights.

    The 360 page, spiral bound and hard backed book is ideal for traffic office reference or for the cab and has been produced by Automobile Association Developments Limited.

    Priced £20, the book is available from or by calling 08717 11 11 11.

  6. Hmmm interesting, thanks Heather. I would like to know it the FTA has actually got to grips with EVERY bridge in Britian in this edition. Before, my pals sometimes found themselves having to reverse back up country roads when they realised that they were approaching a bridge below 17ft6in that they had no hope of getting under. Usually it wasn’t indicated on their truckers atlas at all. Some of them stoped buying it as they thought it unreliable.

  7. Jill, I spoke to Phil Hale last night about Trafficmaster and truckers. He said that at present they don’t fit SmartNav to over 3.5 tonnes, primarily because there isn’t sufficient information on such aspects as bridge height and weight restrictions available.

    It is the companies who map the roads who need to get to grips with this. The likes of FTA and others who retail physical maps and in car navigation aids rely on accurate information from those companies who check all the details of the roads etc.

    As you can imagine, also, this is constantly changing. For example going to the meeting in Swindon yesterday, a roundabout had become a fly-over with a junction, in the last few weeks. Confusing for maps, satnav and drivers.

  8. Thanks Heather,

    The companies who map the roads could really get their heads together to compile accurate information to get a sat navs to use for truckers with all the low bridges logged within it. Even if the software can’t come up with an alternative route and stop them going to a low bridge then the driver can make the choice himself – it would only need to be flagged up to him.

    How hard can that be? Maybe I’m over simplyfing things?

  9. Jill – I think it is as simple as someone recording bridge heights – like all other elements of mapping, that needs time and resoure to research this. The concept isn’t difficult, but presumably it hasn’t been done to date.

    Maybe one idea would be to get truckers to do the recording – how about lobbying through a truckers group to get them to mashup bridge heights onto a Google Earth map?

  10. Now you’ve got me thinking.. I sure miss the old trucking days sometimes… Google earth maps I’m not familiar with. I’ll go research and have a ponder, thanks.

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