Paper maps are an important tool to have in case of emergencies because they do not rely on technology or an internet connection, and can be used even if GPS or cell phone service is unavailable.
But with smart phones mapping capabilities, such as with Google Maps and Apple Maps, few people today even own a paper map. In an emergency situation you will very likely need to navigate using a paper map instead.
Here are some reasons why having paper maps is important for emergency preparedness:
- Reliability: Paper maps are reliable and do not require a battery, internet connection, or satellite signal to function. This makes them a dependable resource in the event of a power outage, natural disaster, or other emergency situation.
- Detail: Paper maps often provide more detail than digital maps, including topographical features, hiking trails, and landmarks that may not be visible on digital maps. This level of detail can be especially useful in navigating unfamiliar terrain.
- Navigation: Paper maps can help you navigate more effectively, by providing a larger overview of an area and allowing you to plan a route that avoids obstacles or hazards. This can be especially important in emergency situations where you may need to evacuate or find a safe location quickly.
- Backup: Paper maps can serve as a backup to digital maps or GPS devices, which can malfunction or lose battery power. Having a paper map as a backup can help ensure that you are not left without navigational resources in an emergency situation.
- Historical information: Paper maps can also provide historical information about an area, including cultural landmarks, historical sites, and natural features that may not be visible on modern digital maps. While this might not be important, they can often be less populated places you can use for meeting places for family and friends, since they are less frequented locations during emergency situations and would usually be a safer meeting place than a usual place, like the local Walmart or mall.
Overall, having a paper map is an important part of emergency preparedness, as it can provide a reliable and detailed resource for navigating in emergency situations. Be sure to keep your paper maps up-to-date and in good condition, and practice using them in various scenarios to build your navigational skills.
If you have never learned to read a paper map before, you might want to spend some time getting familiar with the layout and symbols so you do not get confused when you actually need to use one.
Ensure you have maps of your local area, since the maps would be of much greater detail, as long as a state/province/county/etc map to get a broader view of the area for travelling.
If weight isn’t a concern, you can purchase a road atlas for your country. For example, there is a road atlas for United States.
While it is tempting to mark significant places on the paper map ahead of time, such as your bug out location, consider if the map ever falls into the wrong hands, you don’t want them knowing which locations are of importance to you.