TIP: Road Atlas – One of the best sources of information and intelligence

Rand McNally Road Atlasnote: first appeared November 2015

I was a member of a national incident management team in the Operations Section for six years. We handled a wide range of disasters in a large area of the country. One of the most frustrating and limiting issues we faced in the Operations Section was “maps.” Yes, maps. Or rather, the lack thereof.

We would arrive in an area for a new assignment and most of us wouldn’t know much about the region, especially how to get around from a transportation perspective. We would ask for road maps and we would get blank stares in return. They knew their way around so they expected the same from us. It got so bad that one of the first things I would do is go to a gas station and buy a county road map with my own money.

Then one day my long-haul truck driving son showed me a road atlas. It was for the entire United States but the road detail was amazing. I bought one. Then one day I was in a truck stop and saw an atlas for just my state. It was Delorme Atlas & Gazetteeramazing! The road detail was right down to abandoned two-track roads out in the forests and desert. And it had shaded topographic relief as well as topographic contour lines. I bought one right then and there!

Why is this so important? Think about it for a minute. If you have to “bug-out” during a grid-down do you know where you are going and how to get there? What if the main roads are all closed? What if the secondary roads are closed? What if even the dirt roads aren’t available? Would you know what to do and where to go?

My answer? Road atlas.

That would also be just as true for an evacuation associated with a disaster if a full-blown grid-down wasn’t the problem for you at the time.

If I didn’t have an Atlas right now…

First one I would buy is a United States Atlas. Cost: $13 – $20. Essentially each two-page spread is a state. Some military Road Atlasof the bigger or more complex states have more than just the two-page spread. They also have additional page(s) for larger city areas.

Then next, I would buy a state atlas for the state in which I live. Cost: $13 – $20. This state road atlas will break Delorme Atlas & Gazetteer statesdown your state into small sections and provide amazing detail of what is contained in that area. All of the roads, many of the trails, lakes, stream, springs, etc. There are other points of interest that will be of real value to preppers such as campgrounds, local and state parks, etc.

After I own those two atlas options I would purchase the closest neighboring state’s road atlas. Alternatively, I would look at a purchasing the state that you feel you might have to travel to your destination. Another valid purchase would be RoadAtlas-002the state you have to travel through should your “bug-out” require you to leave your own state.

So, for well under $50 you can have some amazing intelligence and information that could prove absolutely priceless. Think if you had to go out on a scavenging mission and you weren’t real familiar with the area that you would be working in.

RoadAtlas-004Now, consider you have a detailed road atlas of the area. Do you think your job just a whole lot easier…and safer?

Let me ask you this, “Have you ever been lost while in a stressful situation?”

Or, “Have you ever wanted to know the fastest or shortest way to get somewhere?”

How about if you had all that information at your finger tips?

So, why not just use a GPS or a laptop or some other technical “gadget” to get the job done?

Murphy’s Law lives and breathes…especially when it comes to electronics. Don’t count on electronic gadgets when you really need them. If you are in love with your techno gadgets…have a “Plan B” and that would be good old fashioned map and compass.

You wanted an “edge” for prepping…I just gave you one.

 

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