It has not been that long that we’ve had smartphones and GPS enabled devices, but for many it would be unbearable to live without them, and getting lost would be a daily pain. Not so long ago we were completely reliant on physical maps without this technology.
There are still going to be times that it wouldn’t be that bad to know how to use a map or other navigational techniques. It doesn’t even have to be in a scary situation but due to everyday circumstances. There’s the possibility you’ll need to navigate without GPS. You might find you have no Internet access, the battery has gone out or you’re in a foreign place with no streets.
Mastering the Map
There are a large variety of maps out there that have differing uses. There are road maps for people driving through the city or other residential and country roads. They have maps for famous tourist attractions that are good for sightseeing or famous landmarks. Then there are maps for hikers and anyone out exploring the country. We’ll explore all of these maps and what works best for you.
Many people are familiar with the all-popular Google Maps, that isn’t always available though without the Internet connection. You’ll have to learn a few things about choosing a map and picking the one that best suits your environment.
Check the map’s orientation. Most maps are drawn with north located at the top.
Sometimes this may be depicted using a compass rose. Or, it might simply be stated to be the assumption of the map. If there is no indication to the contrary, presume it is north at the top.
Mapping the Journey
All maps have key figures to take note when you’re going to be using them. All maps should have a legend. These legends are a key of symbols denoting things on the map itself. So they’ll be different if you’re traversing the wild in a car like the Jeep Renegade or heading down a bustling street in the city.
Lines can depict roads and routes from a side street to major artery of a highway. They’ll vary in size and color depending on the environment.
Natural & Artificial Topography
Forests, parks, and grassy areas will be denoted in green. The same goes for the symbolic relation between bodies of water and other natural objects. Cities are usually shown in shades of grey and black tones. It’s always a good idea to keep a backup map in your car or offline version on some kind of device for whatever environment you may be entering into. If the place isn’t familiar then you can’t rely on just the map forever.
By driving around without GPS you can then use the technology and eventually paper or offline maps for reference. It really comes down to knowing what type of map you need, being able to understand the symbols and finding your way around by current location and being able to check out the area around you beforehand.
Julian Mitchell is the king of gadgets, be the internet enabled or more old-school; he couldn’t live without his Swiss army knife! Julian writes about technology, apps, and all the clever-but-never-used-again gadgets certain humans seem to collect!
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