I’ll admit it: I’m a map nerd. Sometimes I wish I could get by with a photocopied cue sheet taped to my top tube—but I know myself—I like to learn the terrain I travel through. I like to look at a map and analyze the topo lines, figure out the name of the surrounding buttes, notice an old cemetery up the hollow to my left, and then when I inevitably get lost trying to find it, locate an alternate route home.
Paper maps are great. The amount of detail and finesse put into good printed maps these days is a thing of beauty. Someday I’ll buy every quadrangle in Oregon and wallpaper my studio with them. But they have their drawbacks. They get wet, they get bulky on a big trip, you constantly have to refold them, and, well, they don’t tell you where you are.


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