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  1. Default Maps and advice,,,,

    Hi there,, just joined and wondered if any one could give some advice please,,
    Firstly, I"m UK based and over here we have maps called OS Exployer maps that are very detailed for which ever area you are visiting,, now I"m trying to plan a 16 day visit for later this year, part of which will be a drive from San Francisco to Long Beach, down highway 1, the PCH, now wondered if any of you could recommend some really good maps,, not for the driving,, I"m OK with that, but for instance,, the area of Big Sur, showing the side roads, or walks etc,, hope this is making sense,.
    Secondly,, I could/would probably allow 4 days for the drive,and have already thought of overnight stops in Monterrey and Santa Monica,, any thoughts on these stops or break the journey up differently, ????
    Any help or advice would be very welcome,,

    Thanks for looking,, rolandb

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Details

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Our equivalent of the Ordinance Survey maps are the USGS topographic maps. As I think you can well appreciate, in a country the size of the United States it takes literally thousands of such detailed maps to cover everything. So these really are meant more for local use, hiking and the like, rather than over-the-road navigation.

    Both Monterey and Santa Monica make good stopping points in that there is plenty to do in both cities, You might also want to look at a stop midway down the coast, say Cambria or San Simeon, if you plan to do a fair amount of hiking on the coast and in the forests just inland.


  3. Default

    Thanks for that AZ,, I"ll take a look at the maps,, they sound just the thing. Not wanting them for hiking as such,, I do a lot of photograghy and want them so if I stop somewhere,, say Pfeiffer Beach for instance, I then have a map showing trails and the access to the beach etc,,
    As for stops,, Monterey I think is a must,, looks great around there, also it has the 17 mile drive ??, just wondered where else to stop to break up the drive, and get to see as many of the great views that the PCH has to offer,,,,

    Thanks again,, rolandb

  4. #4

    Default Have a look at Benchmark

    Hello rolandb,
    Most of the US is mapped at 1:24,000 scale on 7.5' quadrangle sheets by the USGS as AZBuck noted. The USGS also offers topographic maps at smaller scales.

    For what you're planning, however, I'd have a look at the maps published by Benchmark. A Benchmark California map book will probably retail for around $25-30 and includes landscape topo maps with much in the way of cultural information (road names, towns, parks) and a separate section of the book shows primarily recreational features (trails, local parks, state parks, off-highway trails.

    The book itself would be cumbersome to hike with, and the landscape and recreational map scales are normally in the 1:250,000 range, but you'd have the full state covered with the one book.

    For USGS quadrangle larger scale coverage of specific areas, you can access free printable images of those maps via a variety of online services. So, if you'll be traveling with a laptop and either wireless or wifi connections, you can zoom in when you wish to.

    As to stops along the PCH, my wife and I were enthralled with Cambria, CA when we drove from Monterey to Ventura a few years back. We turned a late lunch into nearly a half-day dining and walking tour and vowed to go back.

    Map study preceding the trip is one of my favorite pastimes. Enjoy yours!


  5. #5

    Default Update frequency: OS vs USGS

    Somewhere along the line I recall reading the Ordnance Survey maps are very regularly updated. I wonder if the Explorer series you mentioned are among those regualrly updated.

    Alas, the USGS 7.5' topos are not updated on a frequent basis. The Elkhorn Hot Springs quadrangle, encompassing some of my all-time favorite Montana trails and summits, hasn't been updated since 1978. And that's not the least bit uncommon.

    A strategy of using something like a Benchmark with more localized detailed scale maps seems workable for your trip. Many public parks and forests have downloadable brochures including detailed trail maps. While it is uncommon for these to include topographic detail, they're readily available and one can download and print a whole file of them prior to embarking.


  6. Default

    Thank you Foy,, certainly gives me something to start with,,, I love the planning nearly as much as the going, ha,ha,,,,,,,,,,

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