I’ve gotten so used to smart phone apps I forget the thrill of a tangible map. You know, the kind you …
- spread out across the hood of your car
- write and doodle all over
- let the dogs ram into, demanding your attention while you’re busy holding one open
- hang on the wall so you can stare it
… dreaming and scheming of all the places to go.
Good, old fashioned paper maps rock!
Map App Advantages
Map apps on mobile devices have their place. On my last trip, I frequently asked my phone
- “where am I?”
- “find the nearest pet supply store”
- “tell me the directions to my hotel”
You can’t make these requests to a paper map. Well, you could, but …
Paper Map Desires
Yet, I greatly regretted not having a paper map with me. (I thought I could buy one at a gas station but the stations I stopped at didn’t sell maps. Go figure.)
I really wanted a wider view of the area I was getting into without losing highway and geographic details. And to quickly grab a map at any moment, not squint at small displays, hoping I didn’t already close the map view.
Paper Map Thrills
For this next trip, I’m planning ahead. I got 18 maps from AAA! I love AAA. I ordered the maps (free for members) on their website and BAM the maps soon arrived in my (physical) mail box.
On one hand I find all those maps daunting (that’s a lot of road), on the other hand it’s great fun gazing at places I may want to stop and to feel the perspective of distance.
Weather Forecast Mapping
I’m hoping to take this trip after the hottest months of summer but before the colder months of winter.
To better visualize (and reference) what I’ll be driving through, I mounted a US map on cardboard and started sticking notes to it, including:
- the average temperature of various towns along my route the month I expect to drive through (as well as the month after in case I get a late start)
- regional long-range forecasts offered by the (on-line) Farmer’s Almanac Long Range Forecasting
I love my new paper maps. They make this up-coming trip so much more … real.
How about you? Do you like laying your hands on paper maps, or prefer just using apps? Are paper maps “old fashioned”?