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Free maps to your bug out location!

October 19, 2012

Good day, folks!

How ’bout some free maps to your bug out location? Or at least to your prearranged meet location with your survival group or family, however you’re planning that.

This will be a ‘duh’ article to some, who already connected the dots from using internet map services like mapmaker

Or perhaps Mapquest

Or google maps

Connecting the dots, I mean these users already realized the potential of these free services to generate maps to not only vacation destinations, business trips, etc., but also to use as an ‘escape tool’ for when the SHTF.

Let’s take Mapquest and for a working sample, let’s say we live / work in Dallas, TX and our preplanned BOL is a little town called Archer City, about 140 miles northwest of Dallas. Now, the usual thing for Mapquest or Google maps is to show what it calculates as the ‘best’ route from point A to point B, which is great for normal commuting or travel. They also give a couple alternate routes as a toss in.

As you see, all the neat information all tidy and at hand. Clicking on the choices you get your preplanned, “most efficient” routes to Archer City.

We have route #1, the ‘most efficient’ route to get there.

Then route #2

And #3

Printing these routes and putting the maps in your BOV or at last resort, your BOB would be right handy, right? Well, the most useful aspect of these services is to use that last item in the menu, the dragging the route line option. Now, you’re getting useful data.

So, setting the scene to bug out of Dallas, let’s say we have a window of a few hours when the authorities have said we gotta scram. OK, well enough, but the entire population of Dallas has the same news. See all those rings of major expressway all thru Dallas? Every one of those is going to come to a complete STOP. OK, now you have some idea of the usefulness of preplanned route alternatives, right? Route #1 the thing handed you probably works fine, more or less, for normal travel. Maybe a traffic delay or two getting out of the city. Now visualize 250,000 vehicles per hour wanting to use that same major outbound expressway, and they’re every one kind of in a panic, a stampede if you will, all scrambling over each other to get away. So, take the average rush hour commute with a minor fender bender snagging things up for miles and multiply that by a factor of 10 or so, now you have an idea of what you’re up against with only one route out. You should use the satellite views of these services to scrutinize your routes for choke points, like bridges on the expressway or major highways….any wreck or jam in these places is impossible to get around in this scenario. Adjust your route to get around these.

If you zoom in a bit on this map, you’ll see the computer routes you right up against DFW airport. You really don’t want to get anywhere near this kind of place if you’re attempting to get the ‘ell out. So, drag the route line northward, let’s say. Now it plots this route, avoiding DFW. This runs you up thru Lewisville and Denton, which are also probably going to be messed up with major traffic on these main routes. So, for the next try let’s get kinky with the drag line and see what we get planning to miss these two towns.

Now we have goten away from interstates and are more on the ‘back roads’ which hopefully won’t be quite as bad as the interstates. The options menu tab on the page will allow you to have the computer plot a route that avoids highways, tolls, ferries, ect that does a pretty good job of getting you started on these alternate routes. Now zoom in and see what you can fine tune this ‘avoidance’ map the machine gives you. When done, you have a handy mileage / time / fuel costs estimate for however kinky the way may be. I would advise throwing out the time and fuel costs or multiplying by 5 or so because of delays, more detours or who knows what.

You can continue to zoom in down to the county road level to even avoid the small towns.

When you’re done with all this scouting for THIS route (you need at least 3 more as backups to the backups) your handy map service will print every turn, road and distance to the next turn and mini-maps for the whole route. Neat!

Now, of course, all this can be done with your favorite brand of GPS unit for your vehicle, which has the wonderful feature of recalculating your route on the fly, so if you spotted a wreck, unauthorized (or maybe ‘authorized) roadblock or whatever blocking the road, you could check the local area for side roads and just head off towards anything that’s not a dead-end. BUT, a good survivor doesn’t bet everything on one piece of equipment. Suppose the GPS unit was accidentally in the other car, or didn’t work because it’s a massive solar flare EMP that wiped the power grid AND the satellites the GPS must have to work? Be the ‘belt and suspenders’ kind of planner for survival planning is what I suggest.

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