Have you ever noticed how real people are useless at giving
directions? People you ask are either tourists - or locals. Visitors
don't know but don't want to let you down - so they guess. Locals
have a very clear idea of how they would get to your intended
destination but they are usually lost in their own little world: "Left
where the post office used to be; right just past my brother's old
Distance is always a problem and this is where real people confirm
just how useless they really are at estimation. There are two grades
of indistinctness - "not too far", which could be any distance from
100 yards to a few miles; or alternatively "Ooh! It's quite a way"
(any distance from 100 yards to a few miles).
Signs aren't much better. Sat Navs can find a route to your front
door clearly stating expected time of arrival, distance and weather
en route, but at the other end of the scale are rural signposts,
calibrated using an elastic tape operated by knowledgeable local
authority officers who live in the next county and who have
probably never been to this road junction. A finger post is likely to
point in the direction of the last hurricane, or one quarter revolution
back from where it was before the local tractor boy reversed into it.
Ipswich is about to become different however. A new set of master
maps and monolith signs produced by AIG (Applied Information
Group) are being erected about the same time as this Newsletter
reaches you. And these are not just ordinary signs. They are
integrated with downloadable apps (applications for your i-phone)
so you can take the map with you as you wander beyond sight
of the map. There are also paper maps, town plans that are
exactly like the maps on the signs, so you don't have to translate
numerous symbols. The maps on the monolith are orientated in
the direction of travel, so as you approach the sign the top of the
map is the way ahead: buildings on the left of the sign are to your
left, and important buildings are drawn in 3D so they are instantly
The Ipswich Society welcomes the installation of these new signs.
Clearly they will be of benefit to tourists but they will also inform
locals, highlighting buildings of distinction in the immediate vicinity.
JOHN NORMAN, Vice-Chairman