Interesting thoughts to ponder! What's your take?

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OcoeeG

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Went from SE Tennessee to Glacier and back last summer and used a Rand McNally Atlas from Walmart for 90% of it. It was my wife's idea and I embraced it. It was fun to show my 10 year old how we did it back in the day.
 

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Except when on a street road trip in the car or truck, I always take paper maps, the most detailed ones I can find, like forest service maps or Benchmarks state maps.
The biggest problem with this guy’s article is that he is basing his story on relying on Google maps which will only work with cell service, so it lacks some merit for off roading, but still a good idea. When I plan a trip, I download Gaia maps for the area I am going and use my BadElf GPS, which has worked everywhere I have gone.
 
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grubworm

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my wife is the Navigator and she only works off her phone and does great. she's the only one that tells me to exit before the actual exit, not as we're passing it....

with that said, i prefer paper maps and that is all i use. traveling as a kid in the early 70s, that was all that was available and just what i got used to. i loved pouring thru a Rand McNally road atlas and checking out each state and which state had the most mountains, the most lakes, etc. i still like to see a giant page of Utah and pretty much have the entire state right there in front of me with everything in view at once. i get a great layout of the entire state and routes just pop into my head as i am able to see everything at once and mentally trace a route that will go thru the places i want to see.

im 55 and dont see as great, so that is a strike against the small electronic screens and like i said, i prefer seeing the whole state at once and seeing all the highways and roads and how they intersect each other. pretty hard to do on a phone.

now for city travel...no way id use a paper map. say we're entering Montrose, CO and i need to find an Autozone. the wife punches that into her phone and within seconds, i'm given the quickest route to get there without trying to hurry and figure turns while stopping at red lights, if i even have a paper map with that much detail...which i usually dont
 

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I spend hours, days even, looking at the google and other maps in areas I plan to explore and places I need to stop for the night. I am amazed at satellite views. When I find areas I want to stop I will print the maps and make a folder to reference when I am on the way there. Maybe some FS and topo maps too. For a day going cross-country I look at the atlas and make some quick notes about which highways and maybe distances, towns, etc. Electronics are great but trying to see the big picture and scrolling doesn't work to good for me while driving. I do have some built in GPS in the vehicle. Sometimes you are only looking at an arrow when off the primary roads but at least you can back out and see where you are relative to towns and major roads. Getting lost is only temporary...so far. I have found some neat little spots just scanning the google maps. Bottom Line: I like paper maps! Paper increases my comfort level. I use electronics extensively pre-trip because various maps show many different things. Once I have zeroed in on what I am looking for, fishing and camping mostly, then a quick print and there is no fooling with stuff while driving. I do carry a laptop and a notebook for times I need to check back with the rest of the world. Probably close to half of the places I end up are due to just turning up and interesting looking road or talking to a friendly local or fishing guide. I have yet to have a problem getting away from the crowds. Very few campgrounds for me. I'm flexible and have great fun just rambling and following my instincts.
 

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I was taught with Paper Maps, so do use GPS for back up. It rubbed off on my Son, because in the Army they have classes how to use a map in case the Sat. systems are down at war, he was able to make his way through Vermont's Army range and the one here at Fort Irwin near Barstow, and got his battalion to their way points. Score one for us Old Guys
 

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Being able to accurately and reliably use a paper map is a useful skill. But, a good Satellite-based electronic map has a lot of benefits, and the skill of reading a paper map mostly translates to electronic maps. I don't agree with the shunning of technology for nostalgia's sake. Time marches on; embrace the innovation.

Personally, I stick to electronic maps as much as possible but keep a spiral-bound topographical atlas map book for backup
 
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MOAK

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I'll follow up on that. Interesting, I do not dis-embrace technology in the least, and I do not shun mapping technology for the sake of nostalgia. I find it humorous, when a broad brush is used to accuse paper map folks of shunning technology, when here I am, typing on a modern keyboard and communicating with untold numbers of people, using, guess what? Modern Technology. Sooo, don't assume that because I do not use modern technology as a tool to navigate, that I shun technology. So, please, @Bama-kiwi don't assume that we paper map guys use paper maps for the reason that you outlined. Paper maps are dependable. If, god forbid, we should ever have to abandon our vehicle, strap on our back packs and walk out, I want a paper map to navigate with. Walk out? When we go alone, our backpacks have everything we would need to survive for 5-7 days. An electronic device? I'll save the battery for whenever we reach cell service. Worst case scenario? Yes. Will it ever happen? Hopefully not, but if it ever happens, I like to think that being able to navigate on foot using a paper map, will increase our odds of survival. In the meantime, feel free to keep reading my rather long winded reply. Hopefully you'll learn that I do not shun technology.

My brother-in-law is a big fan of GIA mapping software. He loves it and I see the advantages, especially when one is on a timeline. However, I see no advantage in negating the element of surprise as we are traveling the backcountry of the western US. One of the things my wife and I often do when we reach a region, is put away the Nat Geo maps and just take the road less traveled. Every time we have navigating by "dead reckoning" or "seat of the pants" it has always led us to some of the greatest campsites and spectacular sunsets the southwest has to offer. The next morning we will get the paper map out and figure out where we are. Traveling like that leads to a few surprises, a lot of fun and a deep feeling of satisfaction. Traveling with a small group, we kinda sorta stay on a preplanned course, so my wife, (the greatest living navigator) keeps the map open and guides us. I break many things down into needs and wants. Do we need our vehicle to do what we do? Yes. Do we need all the fancy glamping gear to do what we do? No. Do we need paper maps to do what we do? Yes. Do we need navigation apps on our phone or pad? No. ( pardon me for getting on a soapbox, I'll stop now )
 

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The biggest problem with this guy’s article is that he is basing his story on relying on Google maps which will only work with cell service....
Google maps also have the ability to download data for a defined area and will work just fine offline.

 

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My cell is a flip phone, it rides in the console, I use it a few times a month. Zero technology is my choice and I still use the paper maps books I grew up with.
The way technology keeps changing I'm not comfortable relying on GPS or any electronic device. Paper has never let me down. There are no advantages to GPS.

I always use the paper map before starting the car and often make a few notes, paper and pencil, for the drive. I grew up doing this 50 years ago. it always works.

The only time I rely on GPS is when my Grandon is riding shotgun because EVERY opportunity to interact with a 14 year old should be exploited and he loves his iphone.

Every so often a logging spur not in the Map Book looks like the road I want and off I go but a few miles later I cross a stream..... the route I want is clearly marked on the other side so I back track and yes 1/2 mile further is the logging spur I wanted. Paper lets you see the actual terrain. A brain helps make sense of it. When GPS makes an error you have no clue. Nor does GPS show you the alternatives as clearly as paper.
 
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Billiebob

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I don't agree with the shunning of technology for nostalgia's sake.
Absolutely right.
I shun technology because paper is way more reliable and the technology never changes as opposed to everything electronic which is only relevant til a new technology replaces it.

I find the article bang on with reality.
 
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Bama_Kiwi

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I'll follow up on that. Interesting, I do not dis-embrace technology in the least, and I do not shun mapping technology for the sake of nostalgia. I find it humorous, when a broad brush is used to accuse paper map folks of shunning technology, when here I am, typing on a modern keyboard and communicating with untold numbers of people, using, guess what? Modern Technology. Sooo, don't assume that because I do not use modern technology as a tool to navigate, that I shun technology. So, please, @Bama-kiwi don't assume that we paper map guys use paper maps for the reason that you outlined. Paper maps are dependable. If, god forbid, we should ever have to abandon our vehicle, strap on our back packs and walk out, I want a paper map to navigate with. Walk out? When we go alone, our backpacks have everything we would need to survive for 5-7 days. An electronic device? I'll save the battery for whenever we reach cell service. Worst case scenario? Yes. Will it ever happen? Hopefully not, but if it ever happens, I like to think that being able to navigate on foot using a paper map, will increase our odds of survival. In the meantime, feel free to keep reading my rather long winded reply. Hopefully you'll learn that I do not shun technology.

My brother-in-law is a big fan of GIA mapping software. He loves it and I see the advantages, especially when one is on a timeline. However, I see no advantage in negating the element of surprise as we are traveling the backcountry of the western US. One of the things my wife and I often do when we reach a region, is put away the Nat Geo maps and just take the road less traveled. Every time we have navigating by "dead reckoning" or "seat of the pants" it has always led us to some of the greatest campsites and spectacular sunsets the southwest has to offer. The next morning we will get the paper map out and figure out where we are. Traveling like that leads to a few surprises, a lot of fun and a deep feeling of satisfaction. Traveling with a small group, we kinda sorta stay on a preplanned course, so my wife, (the greatest living navigator) keeps the map open and guides us. I break many things down into needs and wants. Do we need our vehicle to do what we do? Yes. Do we need all the fancy glamping gear to do what we do? No. Do we need paper maps to do what we do? Yes. Do we need navigation apps on our phone or pad? No. ( pardon me for getting on a soapbox, I'll stop now )
That's a lot of words in defense against my post that was basically in agreement with the original thread topic, with the sole exception being that I feel as though electronic maps and "GPS" are the modern technological evolution of the paper map and my choice to embrace that. My "shunning" comment was a generalized statement, not pinpointed at any particular person. I apologize if you felt singled out by that statement. Not my intent.

By all means - use your paper maps. This isn't me waging a "coming for your maps" campaign. I was simply expressing my personal stance on a Community-based Internet forum devoted to the sharing and discussion of ideas. Shockingly, some of which may be different than yours - again, a generalization.
 
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NMBruce

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Google maps also have the ability to download data for a defined area and will work just fine offline.

So I still question Google off line, helping me when I am out in the middle of no place.

One big problem with this according to google, from the link you gave
“This article is only for Google Maps built into your car. Feature availability or functionality may depend on your car manufacturer or region and data plan.”

Tried to do a short trip and step 2 of this Google page, I don’t see a settings icon to select

so does that mean if you don’t have CarPlay or Android Auto, it doesn’t work? I will have to give it a try and see if it can show me the TransAmerican trail across Colorado. I am planning to do this with friends this year so it would be a good test.

A question I still have, is when I get off road, no internet or Wi-Fi and I get side tracked, wanting to look at something off the track I load, how can Google maps help? Or I stop for the night, how does Google know where I am if I have no cell service, so where is my next turn? With Gaia and my BadElf gps, I know where I am at, even if lost

Now if Google will work with a separate GPS system that doesn’t rely on my phone gps having a signal, then I could go for that.

On a trip last year, driving the Pony Express across UT and NV, paper maps where very important, as Gaia routes where not 100% accurate. On that trip, I used both.
 
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shansonpac

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So I still question Google off line, helping me when I am out in the middle of no place.

One big problem with this according to google, from the link you gave
“This article is only for Google Maps built into your car. Feature availability or functionality may depend on your car manufacturer or region and data plan.”

Tried to do a short trip and step 2 of this Google page, I don’t see a settings icon to select

so does that mean if you don’t have CarPlay or Android Auto, it doesn’t work? I will have to give it a try and see if it can show me the TransAmerican trail across Colorado. I am planning to do this with friends this year so it would be a good test.

A question I still have, is when I get off road, no internet or Wi-Fi and I get side tracked, wanting to look at something off the track I load, how can Google maps help? Or I stop for the night, how does Google know where I am if I have no cell service, so where is my next turn? With Gaia and my BadElf gps, I know where I am at, even if lost

Now if Google will work with a separate GPS system that doesn’t rely on my phone gps having a signal, then I could go for that.

On a trip last year, driving the Pony Express across UT and NV, paper maps where very important, as Gaia routes where not 100% accurate. On that trip, I used both.
Sorry for the confusion. I posted the wrong set of instructions on how to do this. Here is the instructions for iOS. I have used this all over the US and Europe and was able to download maps and data for entire geographic areas for use in navigating completely offline. At least for Apple phones, GPS works regardless of wifi or cellular service. My backup is that I also use my inReach connected to my phone.

 
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NMBruce

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Sorry for the confusion. I posted the wrong set of instructions on how to do this. Here is the instructions for iOS. I have used this all over the US and Europe and was able to download maps and data for entire geographic areas for use in navigating completely offline. At least for Apple phones, GPS works regardless of wifi or cellular service. My backup is that I also use my inReach connected to my phone.

I will have to give this a try
 
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pluton

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I'm not surprised that being told turn here, turn there is inferior to visualizing the route (using a map) ahead of time.
For my job, here in the gigantic Los Angeles meglopolis, I travel to different locations almost every day. I find turn-by-turn navigation, whether online Google or the old fashioned Garmin dumb GPS unit to be annoying, compared to when we did it with paper street maps. But keeping *up to date* paper maps for most of Southern California would be expensive, if they are still available!
However, when out in the backcountry, I have ALL of the USGS 24K topographic maps for large areas with me electronically, plus OSM (and some other) topo coverage of the ENTIRE country contained in a couple of small boxes (an iPhone and a Garmin Montana). The only thing better would be to have a large tablet for the in-car map display.
 
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shansonpac

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After reading this article in the "Art of Manliness," many of his points don't make sense.

1. Paper maps never lose power or wireless signal.

The author must be a Luddite who appears to have no idea how GPS and modern mapping software work on portable devices. By downloading appropriate maps and layers, I have accurate up-to-date routing data at my fingertips at all times regardless of wireless or cellular service. What is lost is real-time traffic data, which can be a major problem. Guess what? Paper maps may take you the quickest way, based on the accuracy of the map at the time is was produced, but I'll go with current data every time. A straight line is not always the quickest way in modern navigation.

2. Paper maps are safer and less distracting than GPS.

You have got to be kidding. Try using a paper map in LA traffic when you are by yourself. I will stick with turn by turn directions on my Apple CarPlay telegraphed by haptics to my Apple Watch any day of the week and keep my eyes on the road. Not to mention that online traffic data allows me to re-route on the fly and avoid congestion, accidents, etc.

3. Paper maps can get you to your destination faster than GPS.

See above. I know we are talking about
overlanding, but there is no way that a paper map gets you to your destination faster that GPS integrated with Google or Apple Maps and real time traffic data. I call BS. Remember this when you are sitting in a "parking lot" on the I-5 and ignored the re-route.

4. Paper maps create indelible mental maps.

Could be true. I would have to look critically at the psychologist's research and methods to see if there was any validity to this. May be true in one's hometown, but not in point-to-point navigation. Guess what, when I'm planning an overland trip, I pay attention to a "paper" digital map with up-to-date topography, satellite and real-time data in determining my route, and let GAIA keep track of where I am as I'm traveling so that I can keep my eyes on the road. With CarPlay integration, I can look at the data on my car screen, zoom in and zoom as needed to look at the "big picture."

5. Paper maps provide a more detailed, expansive, big-picture lay of the land.

I can't see how a static map can beat the expansive view of my overlanding route on my 27 " monitor with up-to-date layered topographic, weather, cellular, satellite, etc. data. When on the road, all the key data and layers have been downloaded to my Apple Phone and iPad and readily accessible, if not as expansive as the desktop.

6. Paper maps make you an active, autonomous participant in the skill and art of navigation.

No argument here. I'm skilled with map and compass after decades of backcountry travel. I just find that modern mapping and GPS technology makes navigating so much more accurate. I take paper maps and compass when backpacking. I also have my inReach, Apple Phone (in airplane mode), using Earthmate with full downloaded maps to actually get around. With a modern battery backup, I can go for a week or more if I only turn on my devices when I need them.

7. Emerging Reason: Paper maps may help stave off dementia, improve your memory, and enhance your ability to imagine the future.

The operative word in his analysis is "may." Correlation is not causation. I would have to really look at the methods and quality of the research to make any assumptions in this area. I suspect that these specific researchers are chosen because they confirm the author's bias. A simple google search demonstrates that this is a topic of debate among neurologists and researchers, and there is a lot of opinion on both sides of the argument.

Anyway, just my take on the article. Your mileage may vary.
 
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