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Realist
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Discussion Starter #1
I want to make some local maps for both bug in and bug out scenarios. Does anyone have some guidelines around how much detail my maps should have and how much area they should cover?

Specifically:
- How much of a radius around my home do I need for a street map to cover? Does it need to show every street name? Some of the maps I've been looking at only cover primary roads, but not my neighboorhood streets, for example.

- Should I get a more detailed map of my super local area (like 2-5mi radius) that shows satellite photos / buildings / topographical info? I figure these might be useful for bug in applications, but I'm having trouble imagining exactly how/why at the moment.

Any advice appreciated, thanks!
 

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Born 120 years too late.
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REALLY...
In this day of Google eye in the sky

You can have actual area photos of the places you will ordinarily have to recon or move through. Every alley or field or building is there for the taking as well as street views.

In other older times this kind of info was priceless and men died trying to get it.
Now it is just a click away.
 

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Crazy Cat Lady
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How many maps do you plan to hand out? You are aware they may be copied and shared with people you don't want "Because I felt sorry for him" "She is hot and didn't have anything to eat" "They have 3 little kids" etc.

Every couple weeks we get a postcard from a house flipping company with a photo of our house on the front. Google can help a lot with that.

If I were giving directions I would say how many streets to the nearest big intersection.
 
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REALLY...
In this day of Google eye in the sky

You can have actual area photos of the places you will ordinarily have to recon or move through. Every alley or field or building is there for the taking as well as street views.

In other older times this kind of info was priceless and men died trying to get it.
Now it is just a click away.
Yes, Google maps is a great resource. I've used the satellite photos to identify many "green" areas near me for possible foraging, fishing or hunting small animals. You can use a simple image editing program to highlight interesting areas or make notes. At the risk of sounding like Captain Obvious, make sure they're printed out if you're prepping for a grid-down situation.
 

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I've used google maps to print off multiple routes to my BoL and then stored them in water tight shields. It is a bit of a pain in the ass as you have to zoom in to get enough detail for the less traveled roads but, as long as you allow enough overlap in your prints, you have a pretty good means of seeing the terrain.
 

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REALLY...
In this day of Google eye in the sky

You can have actual area photos of the places you will ordinarily have to recon or move through. Every alley or field or building is there for the taking as well as street views.

In other older times this kind of info was priceless and men died trying to get it.
Now it is just a click away.
All that is great as long as everything is working as it should, but I believe the OP wants printed maps that don't require more than eyes to read them.
 

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Should I get a more detailed map of my super local area (like 2-5mi radius) that shows satellite photos / buildings / topographical info? I figure these might be useful for bug in applications, but I'm having trouble imagining exactly how/why at the moment.

You see something on fire a mile away. You can't see exactly what it is from your rooftop but you pull out your map and extrapolate what it has to be based on identifiable landmarks on your map. You realize its the local tank farm and the wind is shifting your direction.....

A hundred other variations of this.

Maps are invaluable, even when bugging in.
 

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Realist
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Discussion Starter #10
You see something on fire a mile away. You can't see exactly what it is from your rooftop but you pull out your map and extrapolate what it has to be based on identifiable landmarks on your map. You realize its the local tank farm and the wind is shifting your direction.....

A hundred other variations of this.

Maps are invaluable, even when bugging in.
This resonates with me a lot. Any other examples? Particularly for bug-in, what else would you expect to need to know about? I'm trying to figure out how many 'zoom' levels to go for (probably make multiple maps). Like one could be the 1mi radius with satellite view, street, and building details.

I'm thinking other ones for what is walkable or bikeable in a day (round trip) would be like a 10mi radius. Scavenging? Recon? I'm not sure what else.

And then maybe a 20mi for bug out?
 

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If you're making maps, rather than just buying commercially-available ones, then you decide what's important to you and use the symbols that make sense to you, while keeping the meaning pretty vague to anyone who might pick it up if you drop it. You're probably going to have to use some sort of line for roads and railroads, but there's no reason why you shouldn't put in coloured dots for different resources/obstacles etc. And never put your home location on the map.

If you're using commercial maps, again, never mark them, so it's just a sheet of printed paper to anyone who picks it up or takes it off your dead body before they go looking for your family and stores. Don't put your home location in the centre of the map you draw or print out, that's the most obvious place for someone to look for where you came from.

Practice practice practice, so now before things go wrong you can use Google maps and the Google Earth photos when you check out places. Then the images are stored in your brain, rather than in a binder or on your phone.

The radius you need depends on what you're travelling to, and you will work that out from your estimate of the threats. A ten mile radius hike is a long way out and back in a day, if you're carrying lots of stuff and avoiding the herd. Work out why you're bugging out, and where you're going to be once you think you've arrived. For most situations I'm going to bug in, and I know the area round by house for at least a five mile radius, without using a map. Cycling, jogging and hiking will do this for you; driving is less useful. My bug-out route will only be used if there's a nuclear/chemical attack on London and the wind's in the right (wrong) direction. There is only one direction we can go, without running out of land or ending up in a conurbation. The route is a nightmare because of the linear obstacles I will have to cross, impossible in a vehicle without using bridges (choke points) and extremely difficult on foot. I will probably be safe if we go 50 miles, 20 miles wouldn't be enough if the wind changes.

The best maps are the ones in your head. Next best is commercial paper, unmarked. After that photograph them on a password-protected phone, so long as you can re-charge the device.
 

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Born 120 years too late.
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All that is great as long as everything is working as it should, but I believe the OP wants printed maps that don't require more than eyes to read them.
WELL.. I didn't think I would have to add "so be sure and print them up before you need them."

Thought that part was fairly obvious.
 

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American fearmaker
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One of the things that you might want to consider is taking some classes that involve land navigation. You can learn land navigation (land nav) when you take classes for hiking, camping and so on. You can also get basic information from military training books on the subject as well.

https://www.itstactical.com/skillco...tion-with-the-military-grid-reference-system/

https://www.armystudyguide.com/cont...opics/land_navigation_map_reading/index.shtml

https://www.fema.gov/124000-scale-usgs-topographic-quadrangle-map

The 1:24,000 maps give you a much clearer reference of what is on the ground locally too. The 1:50,000 maps are more for use with "the larger or general picture of an overall area." I've used both and it is a good idea to have both on hand. The 1:24,000 lets you pinpoint individual buildings, which are represented by black squares, on the map.

Once you get used to using the 1:24,000 maps they're a real lifesaver because they let you move around objects that you want to avoid. There are also special glasses that you can use with these maps to get a 3-D effect of what to expect on the land before you move over it. The trouble is that the 1:24,000 cover less ground than the 1:50,000 maps cover so there is a trade-off.

Any maps that you need to carry and use should probably be laminated to protect it from the weather. Over in Nam we had to laminate all our maps or they would melt from all the humidity in the air over there and that didn't include the downpours from the rains either. That country was hard on everything.

If you get a set of maps, you'll also need a decent compass as well. You don't have to have the most expensive model compass out there. A decent little middle-of-the-road compass will serve you well. A GPS system would also be nice too. Again, it should be something that you can re-charge the batteries on or switch out with a second set of batteries that have been re-charging. I would get a GPS that uses normal, everyday batteries instead of some special type of battery that you can only purchase in Outer Mongolia once a year during the Locust Blossom Harvest or some other nonsense.

One other thing: Learn to believe in yourself and your gear. While you may have your doubts, if you use common sense, believe in yourself and properly use your gear you should do okay. Good luck.

By the way, some of the information I gave out is for other people who read this and might need the most basic of data to help them along. I don't think that you, the OP, may need the land navigation courses yourself but a new person to getting around without Google Map might need to learn the basics all the way back to the beginning.

You can also buy U.S. Topographic Maps here: https://www.usgs.gov/media/audio/where-do-i-buy-usgs-topographic-maps
 

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WELL.. I didn't think I would have to add "so be sure and print them up before you need them."

Thought that part was fairly obvious.
Nothing can be assumed on the internet. ;)

Also, most can't print things larger that 8.5 X 11, so it's just as easy to buy maps already printed to scale.
 

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One of the things that you might want to consider is taking some classes that involve land navigation. You can learn land navigation (land nav) when you take classes for hiking, camping and so on. You can also get basic information from military training books on the subject as well.

https://www.itstactical.com/skillco...tion-with-the-military-grid-reference-system/

https://www.armystudyguide.com/cont...opics/land_navigation_map_reading/index.shtml

https://www.fema.gov/124000-scale-usgs-topographic-quadrangle-map

The 1:24,000 maps give you a much clearer reference of what is on the ground locally too. The 1:50,000 maps are more for use with "the larger or general picture of an overall area." I've used both and it is a good idea to have both on hand. The 1:24,000 lets you pinpoint individual buildings, which are represented by black squares, on the map.

Once you get used to using the 1:24,000 maps they're a real lifesaver because they let you move around objects that you want to avoid. There are also special glasses that you can use with these maps to get a 3-D effect of what to expect on the land before you move over it. The trouble is that the 1:24,000 cover less ground than the 1:50,000 maps cover so there is a trade-off.

Any maps that you need to carry and use should probably be laminated to protect it from the weather. Over in Nam we had to laminate all our maps or they would melt from all the humidity in the air over there and that didn't include the downpours from the rains either. That country was hard on everything.

If you get a set of maps, you'll also need a decent compass as well. You don't have to have the most expensive model compass out there. A decent little middle-of-the-road compass will serve you well. A GPS system would also be nice too. Again, it should be something that you can re-charge the batteries on or switch out with a second set of batteries that have been re-charging. I would get a GPS that uses normal, everyday batteries instead of some special type of battery that you can only purchase in Outer Mongolia once a year during the Locust Blossom Harvest or some other nonsense.

One other thing: Learn to believe in yourself and your gear. While you may have your doubts, if you use common sense, believe in yourself and properly use your gear you should do okay. Good luck.

By the way, some of the information I gave out is for other people who read this and might need the most basic of data to help them along. I don't think that you, the OP, may need the land navigation courses yourself but a new person to getting around without Google Map might need to learn the basics all the way back to the beginning.

You can also buy U.S. Topographic Maps here: https://www.usgs.gov/media/audio/where-do-i-buy-usgs-topographic-maps
Excellent post! Reminder to all, no use having any tool you don’t know how to use.

Other options to buy quad maps are at public offices. BLM, USFS, State Forest Service, or even County / Town Forest Service (in some instances). OP doesn’t note location, but may be handy for others if they have such offices nearby.

Also, didn’t notice if mentioned in the thread yet or not, Delorme Atlas & Gazetteer’s by state are SUPER HANDY! Enough scale to get along pretty well, if need be, and handier than getting out the quad maps/give coverage if you don’t have a particular quad. Far easier region reckoning, albeit less detailed.

In our case, no need for super detailed urban street mapping, thank goodness! However, if that were to change, easiest for us would be google map printouts (as mentioned).

Edit: @Snyper708 posted up on Delorme Atlas in post #3, so my post is just another note on how great of a combination resource they are...
 

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This resonates with me a lot. Any other examples? Particularly for bug-in, what else would you expect to need to know about? I'm trying to figure out how many 'zoom' levels to go for (probably make multiple maps). Like one could be the 1mi radius with satellite view, street, and building details.

I'm thinking other ones for what is walkable or bikeable in a day (round trip) would be like a 10mi radius. Scavenging? Recon? I'm not sure what else.

And then maybe a 20mi for bug out?
Go to the Trulia real estate app on iPhone. I'm not sure the Trulia website has the information you will want. Type in your town and select "Local Info" and then "Crime". It will give you a map of recent criminal activity in your area. I was surprised when I checked out my town and surrounding towns in that some neighborhoods I had expected to have a high crime rate didn't and others I assumed safe weren't so safe.

You have to use your judgement. Shopping malls and strip malls tend to show up as having high crime rates but it's mostly property crimes like shoplifting. The same is true with Universities.

I don't know of any way to print the Trulia maps so you will probably need to draw boundaries on your maps around "safe" and "no-go" zones. Knowing which areas are "rough" and which are relatively safe seems useful info to have during the apocalypse.
 

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Excellent post! Reminder to all, no use having any tool you don’t know how to use.

...

Also, didn’t notice if mentioned in the thread yet or not, Delorme Atlas & Gazetteer’s by state are SUPER HANDY! Enough scale to get along pretty well, if need be, and handier than getting out the quad maps/give coverage if you don’t have a particular quad. Far easier region reckoning, albeit less detailed.

...
I love the Delorme Atlases. They are especially useful for planning alternate travel routes such as along railroad lines or power line rights of way.
 

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One thing you might want to consider is tracing paper. You can trace the map you have of your local area and add in any details like roads that they missed. Tracing paper is delicate but you can photocopy it so it lasts longer and you can laminate your photocopy. You can add any notes you want to your photocopy so it is personalized to what you need. You can even trace the map with just a specific detail like water sources. If you have AAA you can order free maps online from city maps to world maps.
Something to consider, my dad used to have laminated map and every hurricane season he would get a wet erase marker and mark out the paths of the storms. After hurricane season he could wipe it down and use it again the following year. If you laminate a map you can mark it with different details as needed for an at home map where it will not get smudged or wet. From online: Wet erase markers can be used on acetate, film or non-porous laminated surfaces, wet erase markers contain water-soluble dyes and can only be removed with a damp tissue or cloth.
 

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Prepper_Ed; I don't know of any way to print the Trulia maps so you will probably need to draw boundaries on your maps around "safe" and "no-go" zones. Knowing which areas are "rough" and which are relatively safe seems useful info to have during the apocalypse.[/QUOTE said:
I am not familiar with those maps so I don't know if you can find the same information on a laptop, but when I can't print something on my laptop I just click the print screen button on the keyboard then past into paint or a word or publisher document. You have to crop to the area you want but it should work. Good idea on marking the more crime prone areas.
 

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In answer to the question of desired radius of coverage...

For my local area, I have a laminated color wall map at 1:10,000 scale, with overlayed grids. 11 x 8.5 kilometer rectangle. This gives me a detailed depiction of a roughly three miles radius around my place. Half of that rectangular map is centered on my immediate locale; the other half covers an adjacent area of interest.

That full-color 1:10,000 map depicts everything around me within long distance rifle shot, to include potential observation points useful to intruders. It depicts expected avenues of approach by outsiders. It also covers friendly rally points, local security patrol routes, and water features.

I built that custom map on mytopo.com. Cannot recommend them enough. Lots of mapping options/formats/scales to choose from, affordable, and very quick delivery.

Most everything else I use is in 1:50,000 or 1:25/24,000 stretching across my state and adjacent states. USGS topos or military Military Grid Reference System (MGRS) maps. As well as the usual collection of hiking & trail maps for recreational trips.

I spent the majority of a long military career primarily utilizing 1:50,000 maps for small unit patrolling and employment of indirect fire or aviation assets (emplacing mortars, calling for fires, CAS, E&E corridors, Landing Zones, Drop Zones, etc.). It's a good general purpose scale and will suffice for most things. Which is why it's the default US military scale for mobile units. Obviously, 1:25,000 MGRS or 1:24,000 government topo maps are preferred when available, but add to the inventory of physical maps that must be stocked or carried.

The single most KISS useful "analog" hard copy map system is the Delorme Atlas & Gazetteer for your state. A map booklet you can purchase on-line or at damn near any book store, big box store, gas station, or truck stop. Obviously focused on vehicular travel, but still useful detail for foot movement scenarios. Any combination of the map pages can be pulled and then taped together to provide a single larger map, ready for lamination and pocket carry.

Buy that booklet and you have your entire state's landscape in one handy package. Then get something that depicts your immediate area of concern (for a few surrounding miles) with greater detail.

Again, 1:10,000 provides great local detail along with a still usefully wide-enough area of coverage. If you require close-up detail for a few surrounding blocks, streets, or acreage... Google Earth is your printable friend.

(Edit to add: US military city maps are typically 1:12,550 scale, sometimes up to 1:5,000. Which gives you an idea of map scales considered practically useful for military operations in urban/suburban environments.)
 
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