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Best maps for SHTF

Discussion in 'Back to Basics' started by Witch Doctor 01, Jun 30, 2011.

  1. Witch Doctor 01

    Witch Doctor 01 Mojo Maker

    Thought i'd pass on my thoughts on this subject... theer are lots of maps available from roadmaps, TPC, etc but the best i've discovered fome from the state fire service.... they have all of the water sources, fire cuts, transmission line locations, and even small paths along with topagraphical features specific to your area of operations... i suggest you look them up the price is also right...
    Hispeedal2, Gold Eagle and beast like this.
  2. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    I made a couple of DVDs worth of USGS Quad Maps of the part of Alaska that I live in. I have backup copies on my Servers and my Drobo Box. I also have the US West Coast, Canadian West Coast, and Alaskan Coast NOAA Navigation Charts in those same places. I have both, a Delorme USA & Canadian Roads System Maps, and a MicroSquash Roads & Maps System, in the same systems. This covers my needs, for Maps, and backups of those Maps should the Internet and GoggleMaps go down.I can turn any of these into paper, for any section I need should that be required. That is my solution to the Maps Question..... YMMV....
  3. NCGunDude

    NCGunDude Monkey+

    Do you have a link to where to order the maps? I searched the NC Fire Marshall and Forestry Service and couldn't find any information, but it sounds like just what I need.
  4. beast

    beast backwoodsman

    USGS soil survey maops are pretty good too
    and also free for the asking
    Ganado likes this.
  5. Witch Doctor 01

    Witch Doctor 01 Mojo Maker

    NC Forest Service District Office

    • (919) 732-8105
    3314 Nc-86 S, Hillsborough, NC 27278
  6. gunbunny

    gunbunny Never Trust A Bunny

    Google maps!

    Ha,ha- just kidding.
    I like the USGS 1:250,000 local quadrangle maps. They are rather small scale, so you need quite a few of them. Unfortunetly, they only seem to resurvey every 20 years, so a lot of the local detail may be changed by the time you need them. The nature of the terrain may change, but not the terrain itself.
    Brokor likes this.
  7. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    A variety of maps are needed for different purposes

    For survival maps....

    1:250,000 for getting from present location to BOL / Retreat (It will contain a lot more usefull information like topography, likely landform choke points etc than a road map.

    1:50,000 as a patrol map for navigating to nearby communities, allies and friends, (topographic and orthophoto maps)

    1:25,000 as a patrol map for close security patrols around BOL / retreat; and to and from locations of tactical interest and importance, (Topo and orthophoto maps)

    1:1,000, 1:2,000, 1:5,000 and 1:10,000 maps (Orthophoto maps) for BOL retreat planning and management (food production and site improvements). It will also be useful for tactical planning, command, co-ordination and control for conducting the defence
    of the BOL / retreat. Naturally a high degree of OPSEC will need to be applied to the tactical information on your BOL / retreat battle map.

    Information would typically include (on map overlays)

    Site structures and high value assets requiring protection...living quarters, outbuildings, storage facilities, animal enclosures and accomodation, power generation, water supply and reticulation etc etc

    tactical features:

    Vital ground: (that ground that if held by your opponent would seriously interfere with the conduct of your defence.)

    Key terrain (that ground, which if occupied will confer a significant tactical advantage to the occupier)

    Dead ground: ( ground that if occupied is not observable by defenders - offering concealment and cover from direct fire. And which may provide covered routes to a jumping off point to launch an attack, or to provide covering fire from.)

    Approaches: likely routes by which opponents may assault a defended locality...there may be different approaches for foot mounted and vehicle mounted attackers, and there may be different approaches by day and by night.

    Likely positions where opponent fire support elements might be located to supress the fire of defenders to assist the assaulting elements.

    locations of LP/OP's

    Location of obstacles

    Reference points for range estimation, fire co-ordination and issue of fire control orders. Identification of fixed lines of fire and fixed arcs of fire for no or low visibility situations.

    Patrol routes for close security patrols.

    Location and layout of defensive works.

    Fields of fire and co-ordination of arcs of fire.

    Location and orientation of early warning devices and remote observation devices.

    Probable withdrawal routes for both defenders and attackers.





    Last edited: Feb 3, 2015
  8. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    One of the problems with highly detailed reconnaissance is the time it takes to accurately gather the information especially if conditions are hostile.

    Plus to keep it up to date one must keep patrolling or risk not know a very large group passed a mile or so away.
    Ganado likes this.
  9. Barbosa

    Barbosa Monkey+

    Wouldn't Google Earth be good for this?
  10. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    Don't throw away your conventional topo survey maps just yet

    Google Earth maps printed onto hard copy would be a useful adjunct to standard topo and orthophoto maps, but lack the marginal information, grid squares, true north, grid north and magnetic north alignments and magnetic variation details...including the date that the map was compiled, so that present day magnetic deviation can be calculated and factored into conversions from magnetic bearings to grid bearings and vice versa.

    Google Earth maps have their uses, but for navigating...a conventional map will generally be more useful.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2015
    oldawg, Ganado, Shaunda and 1 other person like this.
  11. Barbosa

    Barbosa Monkey+

    Good points chelloveck
  12. Hispeedal2

    Hispeedal2 Nay Sayer

    You can download USGS maps from:
    USGS Maps : Free Image : Download & Streaming : Internet Archive
    You can screen capture the area you need to use and print it off for use.

    Google Earth is good to use. Especially if you exaggerate the terrain. The advantage to Google Earth is the ability to see individual trees, clearings, buildings, etc that may not be on the 1934 USGS map of your area. Other than printing the map, you can zap-grab, screen capture, or snip tool the image and paste it into Power Point for later use. This is especially useful in making maps of your property. I do this for deer season. Then I can make notes about what I see, scout, etc. You can laser range fields of fire and make your notes. Later, you can clean up and digitize your notes on the actual map for next year. Sort of like a working document. Its a lot like creating a range card for you .mil types.

    I keep one of those state gazetteers in the vehicle for road map use. Not only do they have the roads, but they also have better topography of an area to include natural features and elevation. They are small enough that you can throw one into a pack and have decent mappage of your entire state. It may be a good idea to have a couple state's maps if you live near a border or anticipate crossing state lines.

    I think a regular CONUS road map is a must. If you have to leave a geographical region, it will at least get you to where you need to go. Its impossible for one to carry 50 states worth of USGS, but a road map is better than nothing.

    Military maps are great and really easy to use. UTM is easily converted into MGRS.

    I try to only use copies of maps in the field. I keep the originals nice and neat, preferably tacked to a wall. I scan and print (hard copies) or screen capture and print (soft copies) out on my laser printer. A color laser printer is must. Ink jet will just run if it gets wet. I've been known to print canoe maps out on Rite-in-the-Rain paper as well. You can get acetate in 3' wide rolls to cover any hard copies you have tacked up on a wall. Then you can write on them with grease pens or alcohol markers and erase your notes later. I would not laminate. Lamination does weird stuff over time and can make maps unreadable if you have to fold them or if they get a bit wet.

    The last thing I will say is that you need to download area maps now while you still can. Save your digital USGS maps, Google Earth imagery, etc. to your hard drive. It may be good to print them off now and make a hard-copy map book. Buy the hard copy USGS map sheets now. Have them all on hand. My garage wall typically looks like a Tactical Operations Center with all the mappage that I post. Its really a disease.
    Ganado, Brokor and chelloveck like this.
  13. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Actually, you can have all the USGS Quads on a 2TB Hard Drive, if you are willing to spend the time to download them. I keep the whole state of Alaska on my Laptop, when I am traveling around up here, and it isn't all that big. With 3TB HDs coming online now it is possible to have all the USGS, and a good current CONUS Roadmap with POIs, and other stuff on a single 3.5" HD, for less than $200US. . ..... YMMV....
    Hispeedal2 likes this.
  14. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    USGS -The best place to buy topographic maps (1:24,000) for terrain navigation and hiking.

    "How do I buy them?"

    Step 1: Go to the USGS website: http://store.usgs.gov

    Step 2: Click on "Map Locator and Downloader"
    Step 3: Scroll your mouse wheel over the map, click and drag to your location of interest. Zoom in by scrolling your mouse wheel. Give the map time to render. You will see a chart pop up (squares) which depict the individual map areas.

    Step 4: Click the radial button on the right, "MARK POINTS" and then LEFT CLICK inside the square you wish to receive the map for.
    Step 5: Now that you have the red flag icon from left clicking, you will LEFT CLICK the red flag icon and a box will pop up.
    As you can see in the image above, you can download the map (free) or download the full package of maps (free) by selecting the files underneath the corresponding icon. You may also purchase (for $8-$15) the map of your choosing by clicking in the left column underneath "BUY". Scroll inside the box to see more maps. The most recent is always listed at the top.

    Step 6: Select your map (if you chose to buy) and check out securely. Take special note of the map date.

    I can attest that the shipping is fast. These maps are great quality. You also should be aware, this price is fantastic, too.

    I carry my map inside a map case for field use, along with my compass....
  15. NotSoSneaky

    NotSoSneaky former supporter

    @Hispeedal2 , "State Gazetteers" seconded.
    Find them here.
    They're published by DeLorme, I've used then for the better part of the last 40 years in some aspect of nearly every job I've had, I consider them the best I've used.
    chelloveck and Ganado like this.
  16. vonslob

    vonslob Monkey++

    I too buy off the usgs website, it is easy to use and way cheaper than going to the local surveying store, not quite half the price. In my area BLM surface management maps are available, they cover a larger area (1:100,000 scale) so less detailed terrain wise, but much more accurate as far as dirt roads go. Ranch roads, abandoned roads, logging and mining roads etc.
    chelloveck likes this.
  17. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    Notsosneeky is right those state gazette maps are great in the western states the detail and quality are better. The company started by doing Washington state and expanded from there. At the end they were in a hurry to get all the states out that the quality of the detail suffered for some states. Hope they fixed this by now.

    One of the interesting things that happened when the USGS quad maps went digital is that there were area's that were 'rediscovered'... once Arc View aka Ark GIS could handle making customers maps from the USGS raster files, the places in the corners of printed quad maps were 'rediscovered'.

    It's interesting that the human mind typically doesn't explore the corners of quad maps. I've always thought a good location for a place to live would be where 4 physical quad maps came together. Merely because the human brain might skip over the area. Hope this communicates as its not an easy idea to get across in writing.

    Suggestion. Go to a mapping store and have them print you custom maps for your area. It's cheaper than buying all the quads and they can print any view and any scale you want. You can also have the center n of the map be any location not just the standard quads
    chelloveck, kellory and Yard Dart like this.
  18. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Easy. You want to live in the red dot. Man, my Gimp-jitsu is pretty aweful...
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