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Are there any advantages using paper maps on your long distance rides?

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Are there any advantages using paper maps on your long distance rides?

Old 04-16-18, 12:29 PM
  #51  
fietsbob 
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I used the Uni - Map Library to check out details , decades ago..

In Europe every town of any size has an information center, with people who speak several languages..







....

Last edited by fietsbob; 04-17-18 at 04:06 PM.
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Old 04-16-18, 12:34 PM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
4 inch screens are too small for route planning. I carry a 7 inch tablet (that works fairly well).
A 1:200,000 map spread out on a table works a helluva lot better, IMO. I carry a tablet, too, but I use it for other purposes for which it is better suited.
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Old 04-16-18, 12:57 PM
  #53  
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Paper maps are lighter, easier to read, require less maintence, are more reliable, and can be used collaboratively with more ease (two people at the same time figuring things out).

What they don't do is guide you step-by-step and hold your hand like people like some people apparently need.

They also take more skill and practice to read depending on the type/format.
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Old 04-16-18, 01:03 PM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by gauvins View Post
I took Tokyo as an example not (only) because it is a large city, but rather because it is impossible to figure out street names unless you are familiar with the Japanese language, and because house numbers are essentially non-existent.
It is in fact impossible, because they name the street blocks, not the roads. That might help next time

Anyhow, to get back on track- paper rules, digital drools. (j/k)
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Old 04-16-18, 02:35 PM
  #55  
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I have previously posted on a few threads:
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Originally Posted by Jim fromBoston View Post
...On our tours, including a cross-country ride in 1977, we have had a similar strategy of 50 miles per day (or more to reach a shower). On that ride we used a large paper map of the USA to plot our general route [and individual state maps to cross the state]. We left Los Angeles on May 4,and had to be in Boston by July 1.

In California we were strongly advised to avoid Las Vegas, so we went through Arizona. After crossing the Rockies we realized we were not making enough progress, so we veered towards Washington DC, and arrived on June 27 with enough time for sight-seeing, and then took the train with our bikes to Boston.
...Attesting to the utility of paper maps. We so relied on those paper maps that it became a standing joke to bring the current map with us at every stop to ponder the next several miles.
Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
One other thought: if you don't have set routes and are planning your route either the evening before or the morning of, sitting down at the end of the night and looking at paper map is far more enjoyable than trying to huddle around a 4" phone screen.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
... For some generalities, my favorite map is the AAA road map of metropolitan Boston [and other cities]. The size is large enough to plan century rides, yet the scale is small enough to find excellent cycling roads nicely defined by the road color and weight of the line.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
I have recently started to use my gps to figure exactly where I am, then relate it to the paper map.
Originally Posted by gauvins View Post
I am surprised by the proportion of paper maps fans.

Try to navigate across Tokyo with a paper map and post your experience so I can learn.

Paper maps are ok in some circumstances, but inferior to electronic maps in all respects with the exception, maybe, of lighting a campfire. The debate would be like comparing pencil paper to a spreadsheet.
Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
Urban navigation is one area I agree with you. IME, most maps just don't show enough detail, and if they do, it is tedious to stop and try to discern individual street names and such.

Much easier to simply pop on Google Maps and let it guide me in and out of populated areas.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 04-16-18 at 03:00 PM.
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Old 04-16-18, 04:24 PM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by fantom1 View Post
Paper maps are lighter, easier to read, require less maintence, are more reliable, and can be used collaboratively with more ease (two people at the same time figuring things out).

What they don't do is guide you step-by-step and hold your hand like people like some people apparently need.

They also take more skill and practice to read depending on the type/format.
I am not sure you are entirely correct, here. First, you say paper maps are easier to read, but then you end with paper maps take more skill to read. Based on my experience, neither is inherently "easier," although I will add that finding yourself on the map is MUCH easier on a GPS-enabled digital map than it is on a paper map 99% of the time.

And it is not true that paper maps are more reliable - commercial GPS data is often updated much more frequently than paper maps, often including things like temporary road closures or restrictions that would never make it on a paper map.

Obviously, there are pros and cons of both system - and personally, I think they complement each other well. I always carry both on any touring, bikepacking, or backpacking trip. Despite being equally comfortable using both, I'll have to admit that I rely on the GPS map 95% of the time, and I rarely pull out a paper map on a trip. I find the paper maps most valuable when planning a trip. My $.02
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Old 04-16-18, 05:10 PM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by dh024 View Post
I am not sure you are entirely correct, here. First, you say paper maps are easier to read, but then you end with paper maps take more skill to read. Based on my experience, neither is inherently "easier," although I will add that finding yourself on the map is MUCH easier on a GPS-enabled digital map than it is on a paper map 99% of the time.

And it is not true that paper maps are more reliable - commercial GPS data is often updated much more frequently than paper maps, often including things like temporary road closures or restrictions that would never make it on a paper map.
Sorry, you are right, my post wasn't clear

What I meant was that paper maps are physically easier to read, like as in physical sight, but take more skill to interpret and understand.

"Reliable" I mean that unless you burn them or something, they will always work, not the accuracy of the information.
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Old 04-16-18, 07:34 PM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by fantom1 View Post
Paper maps are lighter, easier to read, require less maintence, are more reliable, and can be used collaboratively with more ease (two people at the same time figuring things out).

What they don't do is guide you step-by-step and hold your hand like people like some people apparently need.
first underlined part--I certainly find this handy, useful and even easier for planning numerous days ahead.

second underlined--In my opinion, people who need the hold your hand approach are folks who dont have the ability to visualize a map anyway, no matter the medium, who dont have a sense of direction and spatial awareness. I know a number of people like this, and its just how their brains work I guess.

I would say though that growing up using paper maps and learning how to read and situate oneself on a map, is always going to be a help. I used to wonder if gps stuff stops people from learning these basic skills, and I guess in some cases this is true, but I do think that there will always be folks who just dont have the skills for map reading, situational awareness etc, no matter the medium.

recently in the last few years, I really like how its nice to be able to use a gps and see how far to the end of the day, and or use google maps to get a reasonable idea of how much climbing there is in a days route. Having ridden in very mountainous areas, knowing that you have a day of 1000m climbing, or 500, or 1500, is a huge help in judging what is doable in a day and where to plan to end your day, not to mention how to dole out your energy over a long day of X metres of cllmbing.
We certainly cant get that info from a paper map.
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Old 04-16-18, 07:50 PM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
....Paper maps have their problems but the people suggesting them never seem to mention them.
OP asked about advantages of using paper maps.

OP started another thread asking about GPS, says currently using an iphone but
drawing too much power.

What GPS do you use?

OP hasn't been back to either thread, so maybe too busy asking questions?
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Old 04-16-18, 07:56 PM
  #60  
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I think its also fair to say that the fellow doesnt have a lot of travelling experience using maps or whatever, and is looking for guidance. Using an iphone or any cell phone exclusively for directions just aint gonna work power wise, and he or she has figured this out by now.

I hope some of this discussion helps the OP to get more real life info about using maps or whatever, but utlitimately has to get out in the real world and see what works best, or a combination of things.
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Old 04-16-18, 08:17 PM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
recently in the last few years, I really like how its nice to be able to use a gps and see how far to the end of the day, and or use google maps to get a reasonable idea of how much climbing there is in a days route. Having ridden in very mountainous areas, knowing that you have a day of 1000m climbing, or 500, or 1500, is a huge help in judging what is doable in a day and where to plan to end your day, not to mention how to dole out your energy over a long day of X metres of cllmbing.
We certainly cant get that info from a paper map.
With a good, detailed paper map, you can select roads which follow a river valley, minimize crossing contour lines, avoid roads displaying symbols showing steep climbs, and know the altitude of villages & passes along the route. There is an incredible wealth of information available on a good map, much of which I have yet to see on a gps.
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Old 04-16-18, 08:29 PM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by axolotl View Post
With a good, detailed paper map, you can select roads which follow a river valley, minimize crossing contour lines, avoid roads displaying symbols showing steep climbs, and know the altitude of villages & passes along the route. There is an incredible wealth of information available on a good map, much of which I have yet to see on a gps.
Preaching to the converted young feller ;-)
The best ones I've used were the Michelin ones in France, in the 90s, but Google maps and whatnot is pretty darn snazzy and useful.

On my first bike trips,pre bike computer time for me, I measured out a piece of string curving along the route on the map to get rough distances. This touches on the skills we had to develop using paper maps doing outdoor stuff, skills and a familiarity with imagery in our head that I do feel are an advantage to have, even with GPS stuff available.
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Old 04-16-18, 08:51 PM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by fantom1 View Post
Sorry, you are right, my post wasn't clear

What I meant was that paper maps are physically easier to read, like as in physical sight, but take more skill to interpret and understand.

"Reliable" I mean that unless you burn them or something, they will always work, not the accuracy of the information.
Agreed on both counts. Thanks for the clarification.
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Old 04-16-18, 08:54 PM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by axolotl View Post
With a good, detailed paper map, you can select roads which follow a river valley, minimize crossing contour lines, avoid roads displaying symbols showing steep climbs, and know the altitude of villages & passes along the route. There is an incredible wealth of information available on a good map, much of which I have yet to see on a gps.
To be fair, a good handheld GPS or a mapping application on a smartphone can do all this as well. You may not be familiar with the technology, but lots of people find it exceptionally convenient.

To counter with one benefit of GPS - one can add a route to a digital map and instantly generate an elevation profile. Very handy for touring cyclists and bikepackers. And while it is possible on a paper map, it is a time-consuming task, for those who know how to do it.
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Old 04-17-18, 07:32 AM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
I have previously posted on a few threads:
I don't doubt that there are maps that detail cities well, I just find them cumbersome to use in an area where I am making frequent turns in short distances. Even then, my biggest problem is that road names aren't always located in a convenient location for how I fold a paper map down to the area I am in. I can only remember directions so far out, not an issue in the country when I may make a turn every ten miles or so. Much harder trying to remember slight differences in big long Icelandic or Dutch road names that I have to make three turns on in the next five minutes, especially if I have to pull the map out and unfold it to see the street name a couple inches above the fold

Of course, there are the downside of paper maps too: the one you have is never updated after the date it is printed, unlike the internet. Had a bit of an issue with that in the Netherlands too, when some intersection numbers were updated between when my map was printed and when I was there despite it being a "current" map.

Last edited by jefnvk; 04-17-18 at 10:27 AM.
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Old 04-17-18, 10:22 AM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
OP asked about advantages of using paper maps.
It's not that useful to just mention the advantages of something.

People are talking about disadvantages (as well as advantages) of GPS units in this thread.
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Old 04-17-18, 10:45 AM
  #67  
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Between a Garmin GPS and an iPhone, I have everything I need. Plus a computer to create routes on MMR in advance. If traveling outside of areas with cell phone coverage, a paper map can be useful as a backup or for alternate route planning. I downloaded .gpx routes for Switzerland for the GPS, and detailed maps as a backup for the iPhone, and got around just fine. Also spent a great deal of time studying Google Maps in advance to have a good understanding of the overall layout of the routes and terrain. Plus, the .gpx routes took me places I never would have found or ridden on my own. Paper has its place, but it is almost irrelevant.
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Old 04-17-18, 11:22 AM
  #68  
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Although I now use everything that is available to me when planning and actually touring; I believe technology takes a lot of the adventure out of bike touring. I've done a lot of touring before PCs and cell phones, using just state road maps, and there was a very different feel to those tours than today's tours. With today's navigational tools and the information available, it is almost like driving the route before we actually ride it.

Last edited by Doug64; 04-17-18 at 12:08 PM.
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Old 04-17-18, 12:08 PM
  #69  
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[QUOTE=Doug64;20286766]Paper maps have some advantages, but we use all the aids available to us: cell phones, paper maps, google map, etc. There are a lot of places with no cell coverage.

And google maps won't tell you when there are stairs. I ran into this trying to a good hour to figure out how to get on the Phoenix Footway Bridge in Hartford, CT. I got to the area of the bridge without trying, but google maps failed miserably trying to get me on the bridge so I get over the CT River.. I ended up riding exit to exit on I-84 in downtown Hartford as a result. Always thought it would be fun to ride through the building...never figured it would actually happen
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Old 04-17-18, 12:18 PM
  #70  
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Originally Posted by gauvins View Post
I am surprised by the proportion of paper maps fans.

Try to navigate across Tokyo with a paper map and post your experience so I can learn.

Paper maps are ok in some circumstances, but inferior to electronic maps in all respects with the exception, maybe, of lighting a campfire. The debate would be like comparing pencil paper to a spreadsheet.
Just wow. Bigger picture. Much better, I use both. Got contour lines on your phone? County lines, rivers and rr tracks? Road type? Some us bike pack "out" there. Going to recharge by plugging into a tree? And not everywhere has a cell tower or gps reception. Ever get to a street intersection and the street sign, paper map and gps all say something different. Like anything, its one more tool to use, YRMV.
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Old 04-17-18, 12:27 PM
  #71  
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
I don't doubt that there are maps that detail cities well, I just find them cumbersome to usein an area where I am making frequent turns in short distances.

Even then ,my biggest problem is that road names aren't always located in a convenient location for how I fold a paper map down to the area I am in. I can only remember directions so far out, not an issue in the country when I may make a turn every ten miles or so…

Of course, there are the downside of paper maps too: the one you have is never updated after the date it is printed, unlike the internet.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
My favorite map for the Metro Boston area is the AAA Metropolitan Boston map. It covers a wide area, including west beyond Concord and south to Blackstone and the Rhode Island border. The scale is small enough to show many excellent cycling backroads, as thin gray or black routes.

As you may not already know [posting from Michigan], Metro Boston has very confusing, seemingly haphazard roads. Many streets, particularly the one you are riding on are not marked; they surreptiously change names; and in rotatry intersections it's easy to lose your sense of direction.

So I supplement the paper map with my I-phone, at least to identify where I am on the map. Nonetheless, cycling here is scenic and superb, IMO (as a cross countrycylist).
As a (fellow) native Michiganian, I am familiar with the grid system of roads established with the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. Here in Boston,major streets are said to follow Colonial cowpaths. So I find that a spot view,as on a GPS screen needs to be put in a larger view, easily done on a paper map, in order to get where you are going.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
I have had the pleasure of riding with @welshTerrier2 and he has mapped out some of the best routes I have encountered in Metro Boston...

wT2 introduced me to RidewithGPS, and just last night I was perusing its detailed features. When I get some free time to play around with it, I will subscribe, start following his other posted routes, and file away my paper maps.
The best for me would be audible turn-by-turn directions.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 04-17-18 at 12:36 PM.
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Old 04-17-18, 12:41 PM
  #72  
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
....The best for me would be audible turn-by-turn directions.
in that case, no GPS for you.

tandem + stoker wife. done.
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Old 04-17-18, 01:28 PM
  #73  
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Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
tandem + stoker wife. super lost.
FIFY, at least with mine reading a map. She is definitely a GPS guides her everywhere person
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Old 04-17-18, 02:07 PM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by axolotl View Post
A 1:200,000 map spread out on a table works a helluva lot better, IMO. I carry a tablet, too, but I use it for other purposes for which it is better suited.
Originally Posted by djb View Post
The best ones I've used were the Michelin ones in France...
+1

If your destination is Europe you can't beat the artistic detail, resolution and readability of the Michelin 1/200,000 paper maps for the big picture supplemented with mobile devices for the close ups. I still have my maps as souvenirs of trips 20 years ago. Many would be good to go again.

Compare the Michelin screen shot above with the equivalent Google screen shot below. The Google map looks like an empty page when it's zoomed out to the same scale...
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Strasbourg_Michelin.jpg (328.6 KB, 37 views)
File Type: png
Strasbourg Google.png (401.6 KB, 37 views)

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Old 04-17-18, 02:11 PM
  #75  
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^^^ Big fan of topo maps, the Delorme ones are great.
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