I'm planning a road trip for May/June 2007 and was wondering what everyone thought was the best atlas or map. I'm looking for the kind with a map of the whole US, then each individual state. I know my parents used to use the Rand McNally to plan our family trips, but is that my best bet?
it a personal choice
i use American Map $21.00 at any book store . Large scale and type make it easy to read.They take a good amount of abuse. Im still using the 2003 version today
Lots of Choices
Welcome to the RTA Forum!
Personally, I use the Rand McNally atlas for most of my trip planning. They work perfectly fine for me, and best of all, you can usually pick them up for $5 at Walmart/Target/etc.
That's just my opinion though, RTA has a whole section dedicated to the reviews and recommendations of maps and atlases
I like to use a combination of the Rand McNally atlas, Google maps, mapping software, and I have several individual state maps which have much greater detail. Street-level city maps are a big help if you plan on spending any time at all in a major metropolitan area.
The "procedure" is to start with the McNally atlas and get an overview of what's in the area - scenic routes, attractions - then dig down to get a better look at the particulars.
I too use the Rand McNally atlases as a mainstay on my trips. I also like individual state Gazetters for more indepth state maps, Thomas Guides for Metro areas, and standard paper maps (AAA, King of the Road, etc.) for individual states as well.
I use a combo of maps
-- AAA maps for local and states when I'm traveling. I've found them pretty good.
-- Online mapping services for point-to-point detailed instructions (usually www.maps.msn.com, but also www.mapquest.com)
-- USGS Topo maps for detailed maps outside an urban area, such as in the middle of the Mojave. I was able to buy a basic 15' set of the entire United States for about $50 on CD, and have the 7.5' set (very detailed! but not very current) of California, also for around $50. These came with TOPO! mapping software from the US National Geographic society and link to my Garmin Legend hand held GPS so I can download information back and forth. Since I've got the entire 50 states, I can usually identify and downlad waypoints across the whole country. The only time this didn't work was on a road trip to the north end of Vancouver Island in Canada, which is outside the USGS topgraphic maps coverage.
I typically don't use the larger Atlases, although I have a Rand & McNally around here somewhere...
Depending upon the urban area, you can typically find very detailed "map books" for the area. For example, for around $50 you can get a Thomas Brothers detailed map book of the LA urban area (Los Angeles and Orange Counties) that is amazingly detailed, down to individual blocks. It's about 2" thick.
I am also not adverse to picking up a detailed map of an area that I'm going to (usually sold at the Vistor's Center), and have them filed at home. These include detailed maps of National Forests, National Parks, Wilderness Areas, etc. If I'm heading somewhere I've been before, I can usually pull a map from the files.
When traveling I'll load GPS waypoints into the computer for destinations and major landmarks, and I'll log my route on the GPS. Between the AAA maps, online-destination turn-by-turn directions, and the GPS/ Topo maps I'm pretty well covered.
I love AAA TripTiks, been using them since the 80s. I've also been using Microsoft's Streets and Trips since the late 90s. This last will go online and update any changes on your route.
Other Atlases I use are Rand McNally's, National Geographic Adventure Edition, and I have several state Atlases as well for the states I visit the most: Florida, Louisiana, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New York. A good Atlas can last you many years - as long as even a decade. Major highways don't change very often and I count on AAA and the internet to keep me updated as to changes on the road.
Hope this helps