Map Shop Map
Here is the first in what we hope will be a series of articles as the Map Shop family goes out into the world and test drives the maps we sell. This story is by our own cartographer, Megan. It relates to her recent trip to Europe with her family and her use of various maps of France and Belgium.
My mother, father, sister and my-self are in a part of France unfamiliar to us all. We are looking for a particular town, that held a particular winery that my grandfather passed through during World War II. Now keep in mind that my grandfather had not been through this region in 60 years, and my father does not have the best of memories either. Now, of course, I have been voted driver to the Bost family, considering my father has fallen asleep at every chance he can. And, of course, my mother has deemed herself “navigator”.
I’m sure all of you have been in this particular situation, one way or another. It all starts with “Now Meg, according to the map, after you go through this next intersection, you’ll turn left onto 4605, and that will take us towards Boursault.” Now since I am the driver, I obey the navigator‘s directions. Not questioning her ability one, bit. Well that was my first mistake. A trip that should have taken only 25 minutes, tuned into a little over an hour. With all of our brains frazzled and at our wits end, except for my father, who is still asleep, we finally pulled into the gate of the winery, definitely ready to sample all of their abundant nectar.
I learned quite a lot in that hour. Partly I am to blame, considering I’m used to being around people who are quite familiar with maps. I automatically assumed that the rest of the world’s population could navigate with the best of us. However, just because someone has the correct information in front of them, doesn’t necessarily mean they know how to use it properly. Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying my mother is anything but genius, but sometimes even genius need better instruction.
The common person usually looks at maps, and the information they contain, differently. What one person sees, another may not. What works for one, may not for another. So, with the help of our trusty “navigator”, following are some advantages and disadvantages to the maps the Bost family used on their “European Vacation”.
France Michelin #721: This map was excellent for planning the trip, however the advantage stops their. This map was too cumbersome for the car, an atlas would have been preferred. It was also harder to read and understand because the highways aren’t marked with shields, instead most of them are written labels.
Belgium Michelin # 214 and 533: We were able to find the cities easily and try to relate the cities to where the roads were located. However, the shields and labels on these maps did not correspond with the road signs, very confusing. Example, similar to labeling a map with state route numbers instead of the road names.
Brussels City Map EuroCity, GeoCenter #9780841606838: Helpful and easy to use, as long as you know where to look for the road signs (on the side of buildings). Also tourist destinations were clearly marked on the map, so if you were walking and you were lost you could relate you location to that of the nearest tourist spot. No disadvantages that we could find.
Paris Pop Out: Great tourist information also, as well as good road detail. Map of metro was also included and accurate. It was also a great size for packing and traveling. Only disadvantage was that it was not laminated.
Let’s Go Paris Pocket City Guide #9780312316631: Maps and travel guide in one. Listing dining, accommodations, nightlife as well as what to find in the different neighborhoods, also referring to each listing on the map by indexing. The maps were laminated and covered more area than the pop out. No disadvantages were to be found.
There was also some small discussion on the use of a GPS, whether or not that would have been more helpful than the maps. The consensus, with the exception of yours truly, was that paper was more trustworthy than a digital image. I believe that that particular decision was based solely on inexperience with technology and not the inadequacy of the data.
All in all the maps that were used were never inadequate. We could always figure out where we were and which direction we needed to go. However, Dad swore one time that it was God’s providence. I think it was just excellent use of map skills