But preparing for the worst has occupied many of our thoughts over the past few months. And, of course, it doesn’t stop with COVID-19. Remember the severe winter flooding towards the latter part of last year and the early part of this, exacerbated by the wettest February on record?
We should, however, be better prepared for future floods, thanks to new predictive tools, the latest of which is described by Tom Telford on page 54 of this issue. New technology to help us cope with climate change and unforeseen weather patterns is also the subject of John Pepper’s article on page 42.
Britain’s dependency on satellite-based Position, Navigation and Timing systems comes under scrutiny on page 46, with Andy Proctor reviewing how government is, at last, tackling vulnerabilities that could, according to one estimate, cost the nation £5.2 billion over a five-day outage. Anther tricky issue for government is whether or not to press ahead with a home-grown satellite navigation system. We look at the evidence on page 49.
Those in the construction sector will undoubtedly be preoccupied by the 40% drop in output suffered since the lockdown began in March. On page 52, Levi Sookram-Brown looks at how laser scanning can help the industry bounce back.
The pandemic also features in Seppe Cassettari’s regular column on page 44 and where he suggests that more work is needed to ensure maps convey clear messages in times of crisis. Yet cartographic representation in fast moving situations is far from easy, as Lauren Gardner, an epidemiologist with the Johns Hopkins University, noted in a recently-published article.* “It is especially challenging to collect good data at a fine spatial resolution, which is what most people want to know, and without having travel data in real time that captures these altered mobility patterns, it is hard to assess what the geographic risk profile will look like moving forward.”
Yet move forward we must, perhaps bearing in mind the Chinese proverb that says, ‘As long as we have hope, we have direction, the energy to move, and the map to move by’
* International Journal of Health Geographics. March 2020