Google’s attempt to map the surface of the Earth for smartphone users to access half a dozen times then ignore, is near to completion. The project has been largely successful except for mapping the United Kingdom, which until six weeks ago was cocooned like a mind-mashed student under a double duvet of concrete cloud.
Thanks to unprecedented clear skies during the heatwave, satellites have now mapped every square inch of the UK, even those square inches sold off to justify lord and ladyship titles. The information is being processed and compared against contemporary maps which show the UK as it would be if drawn by a sherbet-fuelled five year old on an etch-a-sketch.
In the history of cartography, the precise definition of the UK has always remained subjective. As the Romans used the UK as a penal colony, no detailed maps were produced for fear the ‘convicts’ would find their way back to the continent. Henry VIII decreed cartographers should depict the realm to reflect the Sovereign’s magnificence; naked on a prancing jousting horse grasping the royal lance. Queen Victoria ordered the Royal Engineers to blast the coastline to bits to resemble Her Majesty in profile on the throne, flashing a morsel of ankle.
A techie from Google explained: ‘Our high-resolution images of the UK captured 37 islands not previously mapped before: one is a US air base, one contains a medieval castle with a round table at its heart, three contain Wicker Men, and the rest support enormous anonymous banking institutions. The English section of the mainland has a distinct red and white hue and appears to be retreating from continental Europe at an accelerated rate. The mainland’s roads have a granular and uneven texture and connect a honeycomb network of sports stadia, retail parks and charity shops.’
‘Detailed analysis has revealed intriguing features: ditches at each end of Hadrian’s Wall on the Scottish side seem to have been made with a huge saw-like implement and appear to be increasing in length. Flatlands known as Hackney Marshes reveal remarkable geometric Nazca-like lines which could be a sign of alien intelligence.’ Google are releasing the maps this week although the government have stated only maps with resolved objects larger than a discarded beer can will be published until after the World Cup clean-up has ended.