How many of us are still using paper maps?

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
rualexander
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Postby rualexander » 22 Oct 2008, 10:51pm

Yes, I think 1:100,000 is the ideal scale for cycling, the French IGN series is excellent.
At home I print out Ordnance Survey (1:50,000) at 1:100,000 from my Fugawi mapping software. I used to print on plain paper and laminate them for durability but now use 'Toughprint' waterproof paper which is great.

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orbiter
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Postby orbiter » 23 Oct 2008, 11:19am

For a planned route, copies of map pages at the appropriate scale - e.g. more detail for towns - or from Gmaps or mapping programs. I've managed without laminating so far, just keeping the maps in a poly bag.
For unplanned exploring, 1:100,000 or 1:200,000 maps.
And definitely a compass. I use the sun for direction if it's there but it ain't always!
I use a simple GPS (Etrex, with no detailed maps), mostly for track recording and waypoints, as I like to make up the detailed route as I go, but it has been of real value on tour a few times, like
1) Lost in small lanes in Holland with no chance of location on map, so set the GPS to give direction & distance to destination. Could have used map & compass intelligently to hit a recognisable road but GPS was more direct. On another occasion it led me up a dead-end road and I had to double back :(
2) After dinner in a German village a storm started, pouring rain and totally black; set the GPS to retrace route from hostel, which I wouldn't have recognised in the dark. Took me straight back. :D
I'd use the GPS for turn indications if I wanted to follow a very specific route without stopping, like an audax, but I like the occasional stop to take in the view and understand where I am and what I'm seeing. I prefer to just load a few waypoints for help in case I need it.

mk1golfnut
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Postby mk1golfnut » 28 Oct 2008, 11:02pm

I'm currently touring France and am using a Garmi etrex legend hcx GPS to navigate. This is the first time I've used a GPS system as in the past I've always used paper maps.(I'm still carrying my IGN rouge maps)I've got the European NT city maps installed on the GPS unit. I'm so impressed at how it works. There are many different ways you can use it. I set up a route the night before on my laptop and download it to the GPS. It then shows me the route I've planned and will give me turn by turn info as I'm going. If I change directions it will recalculate a new route. You can just forget its there and enjoy your cycling. I'm following the Rhone river at the moment so I haven't been planning any route. Just leave it on and I have a scrolling map showing where I am or hover over a road to tell me what road number it is. If I spot somewhere I want to go just click on the map and it gives me turn by turn directions on how to get there. Its great for sight seeing as well as I've installed lots of points of interests on there. If your looking for a particular place find it on the locations and it takes you straight there. It helps me find campsites, hotels, restaurants, supermarkets pretty much anything that's programmed in and if its not I just download it from the net. I was really undecided whether to go for the electronic mapping route but now I've tried it I wouldn't go back to just having paper maps on long distance touring.

nirakaro
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No maps

Postby nirakaro » 30 Oct 2008, 5:35pm

I met a Swede just south of Rome who'd ridden from Stockholm, with no maps, no GPS, nothing - he just kept asking the way ...

Tommo
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Postby Tommo » 31 Oct 2008, 9:04am

rualexander wrote:Yes, I think 1:100,000 is the ideal scale for cycling, the French IGN series is excellent.
At home I print out Ordnance Survey (1:50,000) at 1:100,000 from my Fugawi mapping software. I used to print on plain paper and laminate them for durability but now use 'Toughprint' waterproof paper which is great.



I do a very similar thing. I don't tend to set the scale beforehand, just adapt it to how complex that part of the route is. The Fugawi software is great for planning a route as I rarely use A-roads and like to pick my way across the countryside. You get to fiddle about endlessly, plotting routes, working out which is the shortest, which is the hilliest, where the sharpest inclines are etc...

Then I stick the printed out maps in a plastic wallet and stick them in me shorts for travelling. I am happy to admit that a GPS is probably a 'better' option in many ways, but I just dislike them. Have had to use them when doing delivery jobs and the whole idea of another machine telling me what to do and where to go is not something I wish to entertain when I am trying to enjoy myself! I like to look at a map and make my own decisions (occasionally very wrong, but that's the fun of it). I cycle to get out in the fresh air and not have to look at a screen.

The times when I think GPS come into their own are in cities. I wouldn't drive through London without one in a hurry and they are a bonus for any metropolitan area. Thing is that I don't cycle through these places unless absolutely necessary (i.e. never).

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zenzinnia
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Postby zenzinnia » 31 Oct 2008, 3:03pm

Tommo wrote:I do a very similar thing. I don't tend to set the scale beforehand, just adapt it to how complex that part of the route is.


I was thinking, as I pedaled along some long empty road, that these days, what with modern computers and that mapping site that changes the size of countries to show various information, that you could make a map with a variable scale dependent an the density of roads. Obvioulsy it wouldn't be very good for working out distances but then any basic map can do that but then it would be great for touring. Every long road with no turns would take up very little space and every town would be blown up so you didn't get lost.

It is amazing what the mind drifts into on a long stretch of road on a damp and forlorn day

brianleach
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Postby brianleach » 31 Oct 2008, 4:11pm

I always use GPS when driving. It's quite good fun winding up the "voice" if your "local knowledge" route is a different one to that which the computer chooses. So far I have never been sent anywhere undrivable.

However although the TomTom software which I use has an option for bicycle route (and indeed walking route)( unlike Google apparently per this week's newsletter) I wouldn't dream of using it on the bike. I much prefer a map in the plastic on the top of the handlebar bag: I used the Michelin series when I was in France in August and had no trouble route finding. I suppose I should confess that I've always had a love of maps of all descriptions from a very early age. They are a thing of beauty.

I am concerned that a bike is not an ideal location for a sensitive piece of computer equipment and if you are camping keeping the battery charged would be a major issue I think.

Brian

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Postby mattvermeer » 31 Oct 2008, 5:08pm

Simon L6 wrote:pages ripped out of a cheap road atlas for long trips, OS maps for short trips


Totally agree with Simon. My wife and I have just cycled 2,500 miles across Spain and France OS Maps (or equivalent) would have been impractical and
a GPS hard to charge/maintain. A couple of cheap road atlases gave us all we needed...after all if the road bends A LOT it's probably steep, if it's straight, it doesn't!
:D

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Greybeard
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Postby Greybeard » 31 Oct 2008, 7:16pm

Paper every time. To avoid damage to an expensive and regularly used map, I have taken a photograph of the relevant sections with the old digital camera and then laminated it when needed. It's surprising how much detail a camera can capture.

As far as a car trip is concerned, I wouldn't have a SatNav in the car. What's more interesting than selecting a route and looking for all the little hidden spots that an electronic voice would have you ignore? I was given a tongue when I was very small and when/if I'm lost, I use it. Let's keep communicating with other people while we still can. :)

PS - I do have a GPS, but it's reserved for sailing and then only as a back up for the compass, dividers and chart. :wink:

Steve

Richard Fairhurst
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Postby Richard Fairhurst » 1 Nov 2008, 9:06am

Tommo wrote:I am happy to admit that a GPS is probably a 'better' option in many ways, but I just dislike them. Have had to use them when doing delivery jobs and the whole idea of another machine telling me what to do and where to go is not something I wish to entertain when I am trying to enjoy myself! I like to look at a map and make my own decisions (occasionally very wrong, but that's the fun of it).


There's a difference between GPS, which simply shows you where you are (usually in the context of a map), and what's commonly called "satnav", which additionally tells you where to go. I've never heard of a cyclist using the latter.

I use both paper maps and a Garmin eTrex, the latter loaded with the OpenStreetMap cycle map; the two complement each other.

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Ben Lovejoy
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Postby Ben Lovejoy » 1 Nov 2008, 10:57pm

Richard Fairhurst wrote:There's a difference between GPS, which simply shows you where you are (usually in the context of a map), and what's commonly called "satnav", which additionally tells you where to go.

Both are synonyms for GPS units.

GPS stands for Global Positioning System, and techically refers to the combination of the geostationary satellites and the equipment used to receive the signals, but is commonly used to refer to the receiving unit itself.

'Sat nav' is just an alternative colloquial term for a GPS unit with routing capabilities.

I've never heard of a cyclist using the latter

There are a great many threads on here with cyclists you've never heard of, then. ;)

Ben
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vernon
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Re: No maps

Postby vernon » 2 Nov 2008, 9:41am

nirakaro wrote:I met a Swede just south of Rome who'd ridden from Stockholm, with no maps, no GPS, nothing - he just kept asking the way ...


Reminds me of a short piece that I saw in Readers' Digestages ago:

A lost motorist stopped and asked a local farmer, "Where does this road lead to?"

"Anywhere you like if you want it to", replied the farmer.

jawaka
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Postby jawaka » 2 Nov 2008, 1:04pm

reading proper maps feels like a skill and the more you look at them the better you can appreciate them. anyone can read a gps (i assume .i've never had one)

nirakaro
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Postby nirakaro » 2 Nov 2008, 2:59pm

Personally I find it great to have both: the paper map for the overview, and the GPS for a reliable 'you are here'. And it's great for the shortcut through the housing estate, or wiggling across the city centre by the back streets, where the OS is pretty useless.

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Ben Lovejoy
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Postby Ben Lovejoy » 2 Nov 2008, 3:16pm

jawaka wrote:reading proper maps feels like a skill and the more you look at them the better you can appreciate them. anyone can read a gps (i assume .i've never had one)

If you plot your own routes to load into a GPS, you still use maps, just electronic ones.

Ben
TRICE Q with Streamer fairing for the fun stuff
Brompton M3L for the commutery stuff
LEJOG blog: http://www.benlovejoy.com/cycle/tripreports/lejog/