[Cdt-l] maps, printing, etc...

Jonathan Ley jonathan at phlumf.com
Mon Mar 24 22:29:08 CDT 2008

The contour line labels are one of the smallest fonts on the maps. 
They're harder to read when the contour lines are close together, or 
printed over forested (green) areas. Also, some of the base USGS map 
scans are of a better quality than others (as they come from a variety 
of sources). In most cases, this tends not to be a significant issue 
when you're actually out there. The most important thing to garner from 
the contour lines is usually the relative grade of the slope you're on, 
and the slopes you're looking at (i.e. how tight the lines are, and 
where they're running). In the case where you're trying to help pinpoint 
your position by checking your elevation vs. an altimeter, usually you 
can find a contour label somewhere nearby that's legible.

How exactly you print the maps can make a big difference wrt/ this issue 
as well. If you print the maps via an inkjet, and use standard paper, 
that'll limit just how precisely things can be printed. Just a little 
bit of almost imperceptible "bleeding of the ink" on such paper will 
render such details a little blurry. If you use better paper that can help.

If your eyes aren't 20/20, you might want to bring one of those flimsy 
plastic "credit-card fresnel lenses", which weight/cost almost nothing. 
You can just keep one in your pocket with your maps. Or, as was 
suggested elsewhere, most compasses have a small magnifying lens.

Some people swear by 11x17, and others really like the smaller format 
because it folds smaller, and if you have good eyes, contains just as 
much information. $2/map is going to be a non-starter for a lot of 
people... especially when you're talking 250+ maps.

Regarding the particulars of the map contents, keep in mind that they 
can change quite a bit year-to-year. So if someone makes some reference 
to the maps, you have to know which year's version is being discussed.


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