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Resurgam.
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I’ve read many topics on a Bug Out Location and the various areas people have selected as well as the criteria that led them to their decision. Me being curious, I decided to create a tool that would help an individual select a location in the contiguous US. Using a base map of the US, I overlayed maps of other criteria in a Photoshop document so I can easily black out areas of the US that don’t fit. Below, I’ll list each map I have so far as well as a description of how the layers are broken up.

Top 25 Cities
[Source] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_cities_by_population

This first map was inspired by this topic: http://www.survivalistboards.com/showthread.php?t=179877 In short, if SHTF, you are best off being one tank of gas away from any major city, as most refugees will be heading out of these high-population areas. The map above shows 3 concentric circles with radii of 50, 150, and 300 miles around the top 25 most populated cities in the US.

Gang Presence
[Source] http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/2011-national-gang-threat-assessment

This next map shows a breakdown of the gang presence by county in the US. Darker shades correspond to more gang members. The division lines are at 1,000, 5,000, 10,000, 25,000, and 40,000 gang members in the given county. In a disaster scenario, gang violence is likely to increase, so avoiding locations with a high gang presence may be desired.

Annual Precipitation
[Source] http://nationalatlas.gov/printable/precipitation.html#list

Tying in closely with the hardiness zones is the above map of annual rainfall in the US. Annual precipitation has an effect on farming, solar power generation, or could just be a personal preference. Layers in the document correspond to the divisions provided from the source. The exception to this is the four divisions corresponding to over 100 inches of rain. They have been joined into one. A lighter shade of gray implies less annual rain.

Note: There are several small “holes” in this map. I did the best I could to fill them in. For the most part, they were due to bodies of water displayed on the original map, so unless you plan on bugging out on a boat, they shouldn't matter.

Hardiness Zones
[Source] http://www.arborday.org/media/Zones.cfm

Many people see farming as a point of focus when preparing for a long-term scenario. If farming will be a part of your plan, then choosing a BOL in a familiar or preferable hardiness zone will be vital. Likewise, individuals may have preferences towards specific temperature ranges. Hardiness zones can also reflect this. Displayed above is a map of the 8 hardiness zones that can be found in the US. There is a layer in the document corresponding to each hardiness zone. A lighter shade of gray implies a zone with a higher average annual low temperature.

Earthquake Prone Areas
[Source] http://earthquake.usgs.gov/hazards/products/conterminous/2008/maps/

This map displays areas that are prone to earthquakes. As the destructive force of earthquakes is tied to the rapid acceleration/deceleration of the ground, I figured the peak ground acceleration would be the best metric to use. For those interested, this is based off of a return period of 2% in 50 years. See the source link for more information. Once again, the darker shades correspond to a higher peak acceleration.

Personal and Economic Freedom
[Source] http://mercatus.org/freedom-50-states-2011

Some individuals choose a BOL based on where they would like to live pre-SHTF. If that is the case, one factor many look into is the amount of freedom a state provides them with. The source document for this map takes into account taxes, gun laws, government spending, and many other regulations. From this, it ranks all 50 states according to their degree of personal and economic freedom. The two values are then totaled to get an overall freedom ranking for each state. The final freedom rankings range from 1 to -1, with a positive value equaling more overall freedom. I divided up the rankings at every 1/10 of a point and created a layer on the document for each division. A lighter shade of gray implies more overall freedom. The file includes all three maps: Personal, Economic, and Overall Freedom.

Nuclear Power Plants
[Source] http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/operating/list-power-reactor-units.html

Although initially part of a project for one of my college courses, I created a Google Map displaying the location of all nuclear power plants in the US. I have included these locations in the document, along with several concentric circles similar to the first map. Given radii include: 10-miles, which is realistically the size of the dot I used to indicate each plant; 20 miles, which was roughly the evacuation/stay-indoors area for both Chernobyl and Fukushima during their disasters; 50 miles, which was the evacuation area advised by the US government; and 150 miles, mainly because I had the circle available and figured, why not.

Note: As the Google Maps snapshot did not perfectly match up to the base map, I manipulated it as best I could. Some areas still do not match up perfectly. This is notable when looking at shorelines and the Great Lakes. I estimate that locations may be off by 10 miles in some cases.

Example

The above is an example map I did, according to which, I should be looking around Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. I turned “on” the following layers, which correspond to locations I do not want:
Under One Tank of Gas: The 150-mile radius around the Top 25 Cities
Under Hardiness Zones: All zones except 5, 6, and 7
Under Annual Precipitation: Any zone not between 20-60 inches of rain
Under Overall Freedom: All zones with a negative rating
Under Nuclear Power Plants: The 50-mile radius around every plant

Proposed Maps
Tornado Prone Areas
Hurricane Prone Areas
Volcano Prone Areas
Wildfire Prone Areas
Drought Prone Areas
Nuclear War Targets
Nuclear Warhead Storage Facilities
Major Highways
Concealed Carry Laws

Proposed Updates
All proposed updates have been implemented.

Download
For those of you who have Photoshop, the document can be found here: http://minus.com/m8Yv18JwF#1 (Click on the image to download). Just turn on the layers that do not match your criteria. If you do not have Photoshop, you can download The Gimp, which should be able to open the file.

TLDR; Too bad.
 

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Excellent job man! I live in Missouri and have always wondered how people in the high mountains would be able to grow enough food. Good growing season here and usually plenty of rainfall. Everyone talks about tornados but I'm 65 years old and have never seen one. I guess our biggest threat here is the New Madrid fault, but out west they've got Yellowstone. The taxes aren't to bad and Missouri is gun friendly, no waiting periods or permits required. CCW is a must issue and we recognize other states CCWs.
 

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Destroyer of Karen
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Holy **** balls this is flipping awesome!!!

I will see if I can get it to work in gimp as well as PS.

---edit---

It works in GIMP which is a free type photo shop program for anyone interested!
 

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Sam Adams was right....
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My kingdom for a doughnut
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You are seriously awesome OP.. much appreciation for the time you spent on crafting these.

I would add however, your last map on the locations of Nuclear reactors.. Grand Gulf in Mississippi about 8 miles north of Port Gibson, MS should effectively blot out the tiny "Safe" white area between Florida and Louisiana.
 

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Wow this is some awesome work here. Great job.

Glad to see Colorado is a pretty decent place. Guess I will hold on to my home there for the time being. I was surprised that Vermont had a pretty poor freedom rating. I don't know much about the state but I know they have an open carry law which I like a lot. Plan on getting some land there as well.
 

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Sam Adams was right....
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That is what I am afraid of
naw Jerry.. as long as the "box" yer in is:

South of Bend, Oregon
North of Redding, CA
West of Ogden, Utah

yer good... :D:
 
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Keeping it Simple
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Your maps look good, thanks for making them. Some other suggestions to add to the maps are natural disaster areas.

1. Hurricane prone areas
2. Earthquake areas, to include New Madrid
4. Possible volcano areas, to include Yellowstone
5. Tornado alley
 

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Adventurer
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one thing people fail to take into account with the "people will all flee the cities" idea

is one as high as 30% due to medical problems will not be able to or will choose to stay with those who do or refuse to leave in a crisis


second issue is that people will not all go in one direction and every time you double the distance from the city wou quadruple the area

thus diffusing the potential # of people per SQ mile by a factor of 4 every time you double the distance and assuming everyone fans out in a even circle

its really not that many people once you get 20 miles out
 

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Resurgam.
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I live in Missouri and have always wondered how people in the high mountains would be able to grow enough food. Good growing season here and usually plenty of rainfall. Everyone talks about tornados but I'm 65 years old and have never seen one.
I was quite surprised myself when I did the example map. Definitely was not what i was expecting. I definitely have to look further into Missouri now. :thumb: A tornado alley map could actually be beneficial to some. I knew I forgot at least one obvious map... Good to know that Missouri is still safe on that front.

It works in GIMP which is a free type photo shop program for anyone interested!
Many thanks for checking. Good to know this can still be used on a free program. I'll edit the first post to reflect that.

I would add however, your last map on the locations of Nuclear reactors.. Grand Gulf in Mississippi about 8 miles north of Port Gibson, MS should effectively blot out the tiny "Safe" white area between Florida and Louisiana.
That map should already have that site, but thanks for the feedback. I'm sure if I took into account the prevailing winds down there, that area would disappear pretty quickly.

Looks great. Any chance of adding nuclear war targets and prevailing wind fallout patterns?
I can definitely look into nuclear war targets. After taking different radiation levels as well as the different sized bombs into account, that could be very interesting to see.

I actually did briefly look into wind fallout patterns, but to effectively take that into account would require more work than I feel like doing for right now. :D: I can see how useful it is though, so I'm sure I'll revisit it at some point.

Some other suggestions to add to the maps are natural disaster areas.

1. Hurricane prone areas
2. Earthquake areas, to include New Madrid
4. Possible volcano areas, to include Yellowstone
5. Tornado alley
I'm still looking for a good hurricane-prone area. Earthquake zones is a great idea. I'll admit I never thought of volcano areas, but it can't hurt to look into. Tornado alley is probably at the top of my list. Thanks again for the suggestions.

one thing people fail to take into account with the "people will all flee the cities" idea

one as high as 30% due to medical problems will not be able to or will choose to stay with those who do or refuse to leave in a crisis

second issue is that people will not all go in one direction and every time you double the distance from the city wou quadruple the area

thus diffusing the potential # of people per SQ mile by a factor of 4 every time you double the distance and assuming everyone fans out in a even circle

its really not that many people once you get 20 miles out
Two very valid points. Doing the math out, an even distribution of 2/3 of the population for the top 25 cities still results in over 300 people per square mile for the smallest city at a 20-mile radius. Put another way, that's a little over 2 acres per person. Assuming you follow the roads, and taking into consideration the number of people who are outside the city but inside this radius, that number can rise fairly rapidly. That's just me playing devil's advocate though. They are all good factors to consider.
 

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I'm still looking for a good hurricane-prone area. Earthquake zones is a great idea. I'll admit I never thought of volcano areas, but it can't hurt to look into. Tornado alley is probably at the top of my list. Thanks again for the suggestions.



Two very valid points. Doing the math out, an even distribution of 2/3 of the population for the top 25 cities still results in over 300 people per square mile for the smallest city at a 20-mile radius. Put another way, that's a little over 2 acres per person. Assuming you follow the roads, and taking into consideration the number of people who are outside the city but inside this radius, that number can rise fairly rapidly. That's just me playing devil's advocate though. They are all good factors to consider.
The hurricane and earthquake thing is pretty easy. Stay away from the coasts. South and east coast have hurricane and the west coast has earthquakes. For hurricanes the further from the coast the less damaging the storms.

As for the population distribution. I am not convinced that 2/3 of the population would flee the cities. Hell in NYC 2/3 of the population don't even have cars lol. I also think that many of those people are so dependent on the government they will volunteer to go to the next FEMA death camp. I would think the ones that do flee end up some place close to the major highways. So maybe a map of major highways?



I would also think that people are more likely to flee south and stay away from mountainous regions.
 

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Resurgam.
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The hurricane and earthquake thing is pretty easy. Stay away from the coasts. South and east coast have hurricane and the west coast has earthquakes. For hurricanes the further from the coast the less damaging the storms.
Not denying that. I'd like to be able to find an existing map from a reliable source though. It gives the results more meaning.

As for the population distribution. I am not convinced that 2/3 of the population would flee the cities. Hell in NYC 2/3 of the population don't even have cars lol. I also think that many of those people are so dependent on the government they will volunteer to go to the next FEMA death camp. I would think the ones that do flee end up some place close to the major highways. So maybe a map of major highways?

Good points as well as a great idea. Maybe I'll add a 50-mile radius to the 25 cities. Any suggestions for a good distance to avoid around major highways? 5 miles? 10 miles? As a note for those interested, in the actual file, one pixel is almost exactly 2 miles (2% margin of error).

I would also think that people are more likely to flee south and stay away from mountainous regions.
I'd say it depends on where you live. From what I've read, a lot of people seem to prefer the mountain hut in the middle of nowhere. It's personal preference, really.

Thanks for the feedback.
 

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Not denying that. I'd like to be able to find an existing map from a reliable source though. It gives the results more meaning.
Yeah agreed. I did a quick search and didn't see anything, will let you know if I see something.


Good points as well as a great idea. Maybe I'll add a 50-mile radius to the 25 cities. Any suggestions for a good distance to avoid around major highways? 5 miles? 10 miles? As a note for those interested, in the actual file, one pixel is almost exactly 2 miles (2% margin of error).
I was thinking the same thing, 5-10 miles from the highways would probably be good.


I'd say it depends on where you live. From what I've read, a lot of people seem to prefer the mountain hut in the middle of nowhere. It's personal preference, really.
I agree with that as far as us survivalist types go. I don't see city folks fleeing to the mountains though. Living in a mountainous region is too hard for most of them imo lol.


Thanks for the feedback.
No worries. Trying to add what I can to a great idea and thread. I know it might be too specific to my own needs, but I prefer some place close to a lake or ocean because I think fish would be a great addition to survival food. Not sure if you want to add that.
 

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I’ve read many topics on a Bug Out Location and the various areas people have selected as well as the criteria that led them to their decision. Me being curious, I decided to create a tool that would help an individual select a location in the contiguous US. Using a base map of the US, I overlayed maps of other criteria in a Photoshop document so I can easily black out areas of the US that don’t fit. Below, I’ll list each map I have so far as well as a description of how the layers are broken up.

One Tank of Gas
[Source] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_cities_by_population

This first map was inspired by this topic: http://www.survivalistboards.com/showthread.php?t=179877 In short, if SHTF, you are best off being one tank of gas away from any major city, as most refugees will be heading out of these high-population areas. In most cases, these refugees won’t make it further than one tank of gas away from the city. A BOL should therefore be outside of this radius. On a full tank, my Jeep Liberty can go about 300 miles assuming no traffic. Half a tank, which would be what the normal car would have at any given time, is therefore 150 miles. The map above shows 2 concentric circles with radii of 150 and 300 miles around the top 25 most populated cities in the US. There are two layers in the document, one corresponding to each distance.

This topic has come up before statistically as I recall most families own 2.1- 2.5 autos on average per family..so a family of 4 mom & dad have a cars and often a 3rd for two teenagers. The point is IF people leave populated areas many could siphon enough fuel from the three to have a full or close to a full tank if needed.

IMO the big question(s) what will they be fleeing, how many will flee certainly not all and what direction will they go
 
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