Map it Out: Reading Maps Explained

Map it Out: Reading Maps Explained


Reading maps in the 21st Century seems a little odd, no? And, for those of us over 40, it seems a little strange that some might need instruction in this relatively simple art. We were all Scouts once, right? Maybe not.


Everyone benefits from a reminder. The young might never have heard of the art – maybe not even ever held a map. GPS and them Sail Foams could fail one day leaving us with just the old-fashioned methods. So it is important. Luckily Bob Rodgers and Prepper’s Will presented the first part of the ancient art of map reading. Please check that out!


Picture by US NPS.


“Sure, a satellite GPS may work for a while, but when the juice runs out, and there is nothing more to restore said juice, well, you’d be SOL when SHTF.”



Do the kids even know what a map is? It almost seems like the art of the reading is lost these days. People rely on the tech for everything. Many can’t even draw out a map or give simple directions. Sad. But, there’s hope. Rodgers hits hard on it. And this is just part one.


He starts by describing what a map is and how we’re supposed to use it.


He covers, in detail:

Legacy Food Storage


Symbols, signs, and color meanings.


Main lines.

Elevation and Contour.

Then he gets into calculating distance for navigation purposes. Scale counts here. And it pays to know what that is, where it is, and how to use it.


5 Tips:


General Scale;


Graphic Scale (as printed);




Location; and




Look at the original article for resources, tips, and a chance to see part 2.


His close for part 1:


“When first looking at a topographic map, it may appear downright confusing and not very useful, however, that assumption is entirely wrong. Understanding the skills of map reading can most definitely save your skin when s finally hits the figurative fan!”


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Anyone, preppers and all, can and will someday need to use some sort of map. Hikers, road warriors, etc. will tell you the importance. It’s a backup skill for when or if the GPS and electricity give one day – and they will, one day. When that S does hit the F. That’s as plain as the lines on a map.


Perrin​​ ​​Lovett​​​ ​​​writes​​ ​​about​​ ​​freedom,​​ ​​firearms,​​ ​​and​​ ​​cigars​​ ​​(and​​ ​​everything​​ ​​else)​​ ​​at​​.​​ ​​He​​ ​​is​​ ​​none​​ ​​too​​ ​​fond​​ ​​of​​ ​​government​​ ​​meddling.

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