The South Atlantic island, one of the most isolated, inhabited islands in the world, currently relies on Ordnance Survey maps dating back to 1990. Dramatic development changes to accommodate the island’s first and only international airport due to open early 2016 and other new key changes including a major road, infilled valley and new wharf, render the existing maps out of date.
“Having assessed the current OS maps at the equivalent scale, the Government felt that adapting these to St Helena might not be the best option for visually representing the island”, comments Samantha Cherrett, Environmental Data & GIS Manager for St Helena Government. “We are looking for mapping that accurately represents the island whilst being familiar to visitors. The GeoInformation Group will create a cartographic design afresh giving us the flexibility to adapt the map visually to emphasise the island’s important environmental and historical features”.
A key consideration for The GeoInformation Group is to ensure that the various map elements are effectively communicated. For example, roads on the existing maps are all shown with the same symbol, which is very misleading since many of the roads are single track, steep in places and of varying quality. In addition to this, there is limited detailed mapping for the island that shows the information needed so this process has prompted the update of many GIS layers.
The new maps are to be primarily used by tourists and local businesses, however, it is envisaged that the digital product may be used by the GIS department as a base map. Finding places on the island can be deemed quite difficult; directions regularly include “It’s next to Mrs Henry’s House”.
“We consider The GeoInformation Group professional, competitively priced and possessing excellent experience with more detailed mapping”, concludes Cherrett. “We felt that they are best placed to provide us with a high quality product”.
The maps aim to be printed in time for the first flights in late February 2016.