A very British row appears to be brewing after the president of the British Cartographic Society took aim at the likes of Google Maps and accused online mapping services of ignoring valuable cultural heritage.

Mary Spence attacked Google, Multimap and others for not including landmarks like stately homes and churches.

Remarkable Britain

She said: "Corporate cartographers are demolishing thousands of years of history - not to mention Britain's remarkable geography - at a stroke by not including them on maps which millions of us now use every day."

While Spence is correct to point out that some aspects of an area are not included by default, sites like Google Maps strongly encourage customisation and include tools for adding local knowledge to the mix.

Google responds

Indeed, Google's Ed Parsons pointed out this very fact to the mapping president: "Anyone can create their own maps or use experiences to collaborate with others in charting their local knowledge."

Better yet, Spence should probably take a look at wholly collaborative mapping sites like geograph, which aims to have users pool photographs of every single part of the British Isles. So far, it has almost one million photos in its library.

Working together

If that's too technical, then there's something as simple as Flickr, where the ability to geotag photos is already creating a rich picture of the entire world.

Then, there's Open Street Map, where UK users submit details of whatever they like, from post boxes to football pitches, on a community map. We could go on...