Paper maps? still a thing or no?

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grubworm

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i use a road atlas to get to a general area and then i usually buy a paper map from a gas station of the state i'm in and that pretty much handles everything for me.
the wife and i always travel together and she navigates, so i generally use paper maps to plot my course to the general area and she always uses her phone to fine tune directions once we are there. so far we travel the US with no problems.

if i'm at home and planning a long trip, i'll use google maps to plot a route and then verify it against the atlas and google maps pretty much always has the best routes to take

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Road

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Oh yeah, paper maps and Gazetteers and Atlases are still very much a thing.

Here's another good thread from a couple years ago on paper maps: Which Paper Maps are best?

I wrote there: "I love, I mean absolutely treasure, the map books from Delorme Atlas & Gazetteer (who developed the Inreach satellite communicator and is now owned by by Garmin). Serious topo maps that show logging roads, etc. and that they are large book style, with a page guide on the back, helps one zero in on the page needed. Incredibly helpful both in planning and when out adventuring.

I also really like the Nat Geo folding maps, especially the National Geo Adventure and regional maps like the Nat Geo US Southwest and the five map bundle for Utah National Parks. Great folding maps. Those that I have are water and tear resistant."

You can usually get high quality water and tear resistant maps at NP Visitor Centers and local hiking club shops, too. One of my favorite old places for maps was the Appalachian Mountain Club store in Bar Harbor, Maine.
Other great places were often local trading posts that catered to guides and their guests. They usually had whole racks of USGS topo maps that I would roll up and keep in a homemade quiver while traveling.

I also love my BackRoad MapBooks - kind of the map bible in Canada.

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I keep an organizer on the passenger seat of my van whenever adventuring, with a collection of my current atlases and gazetteers:

map-organizer_6020-900.jpeg
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I got into a great conversation with a border patrol officer last time I was in the borderlands because of paper maps.

I was pulled over in remote ranch land on gravel, right next to the Rio Grande. I was standing at the front of my van with my Texas Gazetteer open on the hood, checking local roads and topography for which way I wanted to go. He stopped and got out, asked if I had everything under control or needed help, and we had a great chat about local roads, which pass to take up over the distant mountains, ranch roads, etc.

Those guys know the local roads like nobody else. I most likely wouldn't have ever met him and had the great chat, if I'd stayed in the van depending only on GPS and apps.

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Road

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@beachdude93

Just seen you are from PA. Each state forest has a free day use map you can get. Then if the area has a purple lizard map get that. Then the atlas to connect them all.

I have many threads here showing places to go...i get to all of them with a paper map
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I wish Purple Lizard Maps were more widespread. Cool history, the guy that started that.
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Road

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And while we are talking about maps, don't forget your Roadside Geology books ;^) Geology
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Hey, that's a very cool link with great roadside geology books. I'm always fascinated by geology of the area I'm in, especially if base camping there for a while. Old volcano fields, geologic oddities particular to a certain area, low desert basins that used to be under deep oceans, and so much more. All quite fascinating.

Ties in with maps and topos perfectly, and helps me understand why certain geological features are in the places they are.

Now back to your regularly scheduled map programming...
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rgallant

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Yup always carry paper and a compass BRMB (back roads map books) here in BC. I have a digital copy on my GPS but for for planning or rerouting paper is best.

Oh and a Land Rover owner :grin:
 
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FishinCrzy

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I just bought a nice printer and like to make a binder of certain areas I am going. I find various maps online will show various features and links. Then I will take the Gazetteer and mark routes and destination, other notes. Not all/any maps are 100% accurate I don't believe. Except satellite views. I can spend hours looking at maps and then viewing the sat view. Find all kinds of interesting stuff. I like paper and electronic but paper doesn't break down/crap out as easy.
 
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Alanymarce

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while we are on the subject of maps.....


anybody have any GREAT compass suggestions?
1) the one in the iPhone
2) Silva (we always carry a SIlva compass)
3) a watch (with hands, obviously, not digital - you have to know which hemisphere you're in, and it gets tricky near the equator...)
4) a GPS watch (like a Fenix).

re maps - we avoid paper maps - more weight more space. I know it's not a lot but if you pile up paper maps for 10 countries they accumulate...

So: we use maps in pdf on the iPad. I know it needs power however with efficient charging procedures we've never had it discharge completely. We use a GPS unit, to know where are, not for navigation. We use Waze or Google maps for navigating cities. We use maps.me for offline navigation. The only paper maps we carry on our trips are maps of places/areas which provide detail you can;t otherwise have - for example the maps you can get at national park entry points in Africa - and one paper map to show people our plans and route .
 
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smritte

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What a coincidence. I was digging through my "Box O Maps" this weekend. I have habit of buying all the latest topo and road maps for the areas I go. Of course their all coated.
So yea, sitting somewhere remote, looking for things I haven't seen yet. Best way is on a paper map. Even though I still keep an old Silva compass in my rig, I cant say how long its been since I've used it.
 

MOAK

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We carry an old Silva compass and it works very well after a couple of decades. We carry paper maps, Nat Geo, Purple Lizard, Latitude 40, and a few BLM Topo maps. As one might conclude, we have a lot of maps. When we head out we take only the maps of the region we are headed to. This time out we are bringing 7 maps with us that cover Canyonlands, Bears Ears, The Staircase, and the AZ Strip. On paved roads? We carry a compact atlas of the US & good provincial maps of Canada. We don't use the atlas very often in the lower 48 as It's nearly impossible to "get lost" anywhere east of the Rockies, save, western Texas. Just keep driving and you'll soon come upon a major route or small town. We'll pay attention to google maps on our phone to find gas, food, & lodging. As with anything else, when you find a method that works for you, there is no sense in changing it.
 

TheBison

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So, I've used a GPS with mapping feature for a long time but am a recent Gaia convert. That being said - I ALWAYS have paper maps as a backup (the Gazetteer as mentioned, plus NatGeo Trails illustrated if available for my area). Electronics break, maps and compass don't.
 

beachdude93

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So, I've used a GPS with mapping feature for a long time but am a recent Gaia convert. That being said - I ALWAYS have paper maps as a backup (the Gazetteer as mentioned, plus NatGeo Trails illustrated if available for my area). Electronics break, maps and compass don't.
Ya i dont want to load myself down with maps. So the gazzeteer looks good for my state and the 3 states around me.

Whats the nat geo trails maps? are they different than the gazzetteer?
 

NMBruce

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I use paper and electronics maps. When planning a trip I use GAIA on my laptop which transfers to my iPhone and iPad. I plan the route and then I also down load the areas around the route. After that I get out my paper maps and look at the route on them to be sure they are there. I carry the maps for the states I am going to.
While traveling off road, I hook my iPhone or iPad up to my BadElf GPS and then I will know just where I am. This system has worked everyplace I have gone, even up to the Arctic Ocean.