diamond geezer

 Friday, August 27, 2010

Further intrigue and debate surrounds the location of the "Go" square on London's Monopoly board. The manufacturers of the famous game commissioned Ordnance Survey cartographers to pinpoint the precise location of the start square, and concluded that 'Go' is to be found "on the South Bank at Queen's Walk promenade by the London Eye". It did seem a little odd that 'Go' should be in such a conveniently world-famous location, and now it seems these suspicions are well justified. Because Ordnance Survey have had their say, and it turns out they located Monopoly's 'Go' square somewhere completely different...
“Go” actually sits between Mayfair and Old Kent Road – but where is it? Monopoly celebrated its 75th anniversary on Wednesday and we joined forces with them to pinpoint the location of “Go”. “Go” is actually centred on Lambeth North Tube Station, close to Queens Walk, where Monopoly held their celebration event.
So, 'Go' is apparently about half a mile away from where Hasbro said it was, outside a very ordinary Bakerloo line station on Westminster Bridge Road. There was no mention of this in Wednesday's PR fluff, presumably because Lambeth North isn't a very a good place to hold a media event. It seems that Hasbro commissioned Ordnance Survey to carry out some "accurate" research, and then promptly approximated the results to suit their own ends. Which is lunacy, but I guess only to be expected. Ordnance Survey have since published a press release which tries to make everything clear...
“By using Ordnance Survey’s latest digital product, OS VectorMap District, we were able to accurately locate “Go”. We mapped the positions of Mayfair and Old Kent Road, which sit either side of “Go”, and then accurately calculated that Lambeth North tube station was the central point between the two and therefore the location of “Go”.
Ordnance Survey have even published a map so we can see how they worked it out. They shaded in Mayfair and identified its geographical centre, just to the west of Berkeley Square, which looks fair. They also coloured in the Old Kent Road and marked a point halfway between the Bricklayers Arms roundabout and the edge of the map, But that's not correct. The Old Kent Road runs a lot further than this, off the edge of the map, so the true halfway point is half a mile further down. Ordnance Survey appear to have used a subjective non-halfway location to represent the Old Kent Road, so their 'Go' location must surely be equally suspect. Here's what their blog has to say...
It was fantastic fun to work with Monopoly and as well as plotting “Go” on the map we also marked the locations of all the other Monopoly board positions. The final ‘Monopoly map’ looks great and really brings the game to life, giving it a whole new dimension.
The map is a lovely idea. Unfortunately it's also wrong, with two major geographical errors in the orange set of properties. Monopoly's Vine Street isn't in the City, it should be a runty little backstreet to the west of Piccadilly Circus. Likewise Marlborough Street doesn't refer to a short Chelsea crescent, it's meant to be Great Marlborough Street in the heart of Soho. Please, drinkers of London, don't reorganise your Monopoly pub crawls to match Ordnance Survey's flawed map. And please, boardgamers of Britain, don't believe that the 'Go' square is at the London Eye, or even at Lambeth North tube station. Let's just stick with 'Go' being a blank square with an arrow on it, shall we?


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