Out for a lakeside walk in Valea Morilor Park in Chisinau, Moldova. Photo taken December 4, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.

Where are they going next? Transnistria. The country that doesn't exist!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Still using a paper map

I have to admit, I love our GPS system for driving anywhere. I like knowing all the details, like how far it is to our destination, and our average speed, and how far it is to the next turn. And, I really like having the free mapping program on our iPhone that we can use even when we're offline. I also like checking things out on google maps online, and using the streetview version for details.

But really...we also love traveling with a good old fashioned paper map!

And I'm sure that most you who are also of our generation still like a paper map as well. But I wonder if we are the last generation of paper map users, or will the younger folks do all of their map planning electronically?

From our 2008 map book. You can see the highlighted pink line that shows our route.

There's nothing like a paper map to show an overview of your route. Ruth likes having it on her lap when we're on a road trip so that she can follow along and detail the route with a hi-lighter pen.

And, of course when you've worn out the map book and it's time to buy the next version you can keep the old one as a record of your travel and we use the old book because we like to try and follow a different route next time we're in the area.

I can't see paper map books disappearing altogether, but then we are not part of the newer generation who have grown up with electronics. 

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And, I notice that the 2017 Rand McNally Raod Atlas is now available...






34 comments:

  1. I love using a paper map. To me it is so exciting to see the entire country at once. When we are on the back roads, I like seeing all the little towns we will be traveling through.

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    1. That sounds exactly like the way I feel. Kevin programs everything into the GPS but I don't get to see the route so I sit with the map on my lap so that I can follow along and see what is coming up next on our route. :-)

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    2. It's a little disconcerting to me to only see the next turn or the next exit. I need to see each link in the chain in context of the whole.

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    3. I am much the same Dinah, I feel naked when I don't have a map on my lap.

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  2. Glad to see I'm not the only one that use a highlighter to mark up my Gazetteers! We use different colors for different trips. I agree there is nothing like a paper map to gain a great overview of the route and ideas of what's next. Altho Fran did mistake the green triangle (marking a mountain peak) for a tent (marking a campsite). All part of the adventure!

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    1. I do the same thing. If you notice on the picture of the map Kevin included there are four different colours, pink, blue, green and yellow. Each colour was a different year. I love having the map on my lap so that I can follow along too! Bet you could have found a great boondocking camping spot up at the top of the mountain, though! :-)

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  3. what mapping program do you use on your iphone? I need to get something that is available on and off line for an upcoming trip to a poor phone service area. Really want something that can be used both on laptop and iphone.

    I am a paper map lover too! Like the GPS but am not happy without my paper maps too!

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    1. Kevin loves the maps.me app. You download the app and then the state or province you are in when you have access to WiFi and the complete mapping system comes up so that you can then use it offline. When you a leave that state or province then just delete that map and download the next one, again when you have access to WiFi.

      I think it is always a good idea to have a paper map handy just in case any of the electronic equipment decides to breakdown or you lose service at least then you always have a backup.

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  4. We use them all just like you, the paper maps do a wonderful job.

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    1. Always nice to have the paper map for a good overall view and also as a backup.

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  5. In spite of the convenience (relatively speaking) of using GPS, I still like to use a paper map. Apparently, the ability to "dead reckon" can be lost if that part of your brain isn't used to find your way. So, stick with the paper map. Keeps you from getting turned around or lost.

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    1. Agreed! It does work the brain and it is fun just to follow the route and be able to anticipate what is coming up on your drive.

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  6. We don't have GPS and only use paper maps.

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    1. We like both but don't let the GPS guide us blindly, although they are especially good for getting though some of the big cities, it reacts more quickly than I do when it comes to a quick exit or turn.

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  7. I would never trust a GPS to pick the best route---nor even a correct one, for that matter. That said, paper maps are out of date before the ink even dries, and there's no way I would shell out fifteen bucks a year for a big bulky atlas, when you can get truly useful mapping software for much less.

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    1. We also NEVER let the GPS pick our route. Kevin always inputs coordinates along the way so that we go the route that Kevin wants us to go on. I on the other love to follow along our route with the paper map. We would never buy these maps yearly though, normally it is every 3 or 4 years or as they wear out because of the fact that we do use the GPS so the paper map is normally just a guide for us.

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  8. I never use a paper map, however, Anneke alwas has one handy.

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    1. Kevin generally looks at one briefly to get an idea of the route he wants to take so that he has an overall view but it's me that has it sitting on my lap while on route so that I can follow along.

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  9. We use a GPS but I always like to see the "big" overall view with a paper map. In fact we just went to AAA and picked up a bunch of new maps of the states, Canada and Mexico. Our old ones were in sad shape and out dated

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    1. Sounds like us! We also don't get new maps every year, we just replace them after 3 or 4 years. We too, use them as a guide or overall picture so they don't need to be totally up to date.

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  10. As many times as my GPS had sent me off in a wrong direction, you can be sure we double check our travels with a paper map! :c)

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    1. One of the reasons that Kevin will always input our route into the GPS to Kevin's liking rather than let the GPS choose our route. Having a paper map is also an asset though!

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  11. I think once younger people use a paper map they can see that they work in tandem with electronic maps. Everyone knows the frustration of the GPS burping or not having satellite connection. My Guia Roji serves me well in addition to GPS and good ole "stopping and asking someone".

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    1. Yes, we agree they work well in tandem but so many young people seem to rely solely on electronics these days.

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  12. We also use the Gazetteers, I mark our route with different colored pens & mark the date around the edges. We also have a GPS & NAV on our truck.

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    1. Haven't heard of the Gazetteers! I like to mark our routes in different colours as well, that way next time we are in the area we will try to take a different road or possibly go back to an area that we liked but didn't have enough time there on a previous visit. I also make notes on the map as well, so again if we are in the area we can stop and see something of interest or maybe we saw a great boondocking area that we could use.

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  13. RVers could check out the RM trucker/commercial version showing truck routes (width/height/weight restrictions) as well as fuel stops - also available with laminated pages for durability and use with dry erase markers

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    1. That is also a good idea as well as the laminated pages!

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  14. I'm part of that club, Kevin. As the "navigator," I've prided myself in map-reading skills, almost as good as the cheerful, efficient voice on the Google Map app. Some paper maps are better than others of course. I am cold-heartedly brutal with a AAA map. For a road trip with a designated route, I crop it to the area I need so I'm not constantly folding and unfolding, and slip it into a plastic sleeve in a 3-ring notebook. I find the new spiral map books annoying. They break in the most inopportune places. I also enjoy browsing for crazy names of small towns. The Southern USA is full of colorful town names.

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    1. Yes, I have to admit folding and unfolding maps can be a pain and eventually they will tear. We have the Rand McNally map book which solves that problem but then you have the problem of the spine. One book wasn't a spiral spine and I had the middle pages coming out and the new one is a spiral which I like but then you have to be extra careful when you turn pages so that the pages don't rip off the spiral spine. Feels like you just can't win.

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  15. Once you're the victim of GPS "Recalculating," you realize the confidence and value of a paper map!

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    1. Agreed! We really love having the GPS in an strange to us city though as it can sometimes be much quicker than me when it comes to knowing which street to take or exit and whether it is an exit to the right or left so that you can be in the correct lane just before the exit.

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  16. We've sometimes had two GPS plugged in with destination and they have both got it wrong… At that point Larry (driving), and me with the map out telling him the route to take. As he says, "I have three women telling me where to go". He's a smart man and listens to me. ;)

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    1. I can't imagine driving with 2 GPS units running, especially if they are each telling you something different. Yes, Larry is a smart man for listening to you, he knows what is good for him. :-)

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