After a major disaster (or even some relatively minor ones) you might find yourself with no working GPS or phone. That’s when a paper map is absolutely vital to have. Here are five reasons that you need at least one, and preferably several, paper maps in your kit.
1. You Need A Paper Map To Find Resources
Paper maps are really useful for finding resources without having to travel around aimlessly searching.
You can use your map to identify potential water sources, such as rivers or streams. Finding a good source of drinking water after a major disaster is extremely important and your map will help with this. Remember that you’ll need to purify any water that you collect.
Your map will help you to find areas of woodland. Woods are great for collecting fire wood, as well as foraging and camping.
Another use for your paper map is to look for potential places to scavenge after an apocalyptic event. For example, industrial areas may have tools or materials that you need. Abandoned office buildings may have food and clean water.
2. You Need A Paper Map To Navigate
We can sometimes take tools like Google Maps for granted. They make it so easy to find a route without having to even think about it. However, after a major disaster, it’s likely that online services and electronic devices won’t work.
A detailed paper map is vital for finding routes to bug out locations, to home, to areas of safety or to resources. Roads might be blocked, or there may be areas you need to avoid for safety. A paper map will allow you to plan multiple different routes so that you can stay safe.
A paper map and a good compass will help you easily find your current location if you’re lost. They will also allow you to find your way in unfamiliar territory so you don’t risk getting lost.
3. You Need A Paper Map To Find Safe Locations
Maps are really useful for quickly looking over a large area to find potential safe locations. After a major disaster, you might need to quickly find areas of safety. For example, during flooding, you can easily identify and navigate to higher ground that will be safe from floods. In times of civil unrest, you may want to find areas away from large populations.
Maps can help you identify safe bug out locations with resources that you need to camp. An area of woodland, away from population centres, but with a water source nearby would make a great bug out location.
You could also use your map to find a high point from where you can see all of the surrounding area. From there you’ll be able to see anyone approaching, as well as identifying nearby risks and resources.
4. You Need A Paper Map To Identify Places To Avoid
Identifying places to avoid is just as important as identifying safe places.
If there are thousands of people trying to flee, major routes will be blocked. You can use your map to navigate avoiding all of the major routes.
After a major disaster, particularly if there are no food or water supplies, civil unrest is likely. Use your paper map to identify areas that are likely to be dangerous because of this. For example, areas with shops and businesses that may be targeted by looters might quickly become dangerous.
Detailed paper maps often show large factories, industrial areas, power plants and military facilities. Depending on the nature of the disaster, facilities such as these may become dangerous.
You can also use your map to identify locations of danger that you may have observed. For example, you may have seen smoke from a large fire in the distance. Using your map you will be able to pinpoint the location. From this you can estimate the danger to yourself. For example, your map will help you work out whether a fire could spread towards you. If the fire is a factory or chemical facility, it may also release dangerous fumes, so you will know not to remain downwind.
5. You Need A Paper Map To Record Information
Lastly, an advantage of a paper map is that you can quickly add notes to it. Use your map to record areas you have identified as being safe, areas with resources and routes you know to be safe.
You can also not areas of danger on your paper map. For example, mark blocked roads, areas you know to have civil unrest or gangs, broken bridges and any other areas to avoid.
In a post-apocalyptic world, paper maps will be a vital tool for survival. Adding information to your map as you discover safety, resources and danger will help you survive.