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How Navigation Maps Will Come in Handy When You Plan Your Next Trip

At some point in your life, you have used a navigation map. As much as we all think we can get anywhere, the truth is, many of us have gotten lost or had to venture to a completely unknown area or place. But that’s what navigation maps are for! Helping us get from point A to point B!

What Are Navigation Maps?

Navigation maps will show you directions and use real-time traffic information to help you find the best route to your destination. These maps help us get where we need to go in the air, on land, or across the sea. They provide vital information to help prevent accidents and keep you on the quickest path to your destination.

The History of the Navigation Map

Great Lakes Wood Chart

The first navigation maps were of the sea. Phoenician sailors accomplished navigation by using charts and observations of the sun and the stars to find their way to and from their destination. Using this system, they created a way to determine their travel distance, cutting down time on each trip as they found quicker ways or speeding up their boat as they learned their surroundings.

The history of these maps has helped us discover new places and find our way around for years. Though they are constantly evolving over time to meet the demands of technology, their map history and purpose are constant.

Types of Navigation Maps

  • Topographic Maps
  • Thematic Maps
  • Cadastral Maps

History of Topographic Maps and Navigation

Topographical maps are detailed records of a specific area of land that provides elevations of natural and manufactured features. These maps show mountains, valleys, and plains. The history of these maps dates to the late 19th century. Topographical maps are used for navigation by hikers as they plan their routes around hazards to avoid and easily-accessible water sources.

History of Thematic Maps and Navigation

Thematic maps are single-topic maps used to portray a geographical pattern of a specific subject. This could be weather, geology, or population density. The history of these maps also dates to the 19th century. While they don’t show any navigational routes, their information can still be helpful for identifying potential hazards, like when planning a trip during a pandemic.

History of Cadastral Maps and Navigation

Outer Banks Wood Chart

Cadastral maps are used to detail information when land or houses are surveyed. Once that information is complete, it is joined together to create the map. The history of these maps dates to the ancient Egyptians who used them after flooding made it necessary for them to declare land ownership. Used when navigating a home build or house purchase, or building a new development, these maps are used for numerous purposes.

3 Ways to Use Navigation Maps to Improve Your Trip

  • Avoid Traffic
  • Save Money
  • Prepare

Avoid Traffic or Re-Route Your Trip

While this may not have been a thing of the past, one of the best things about navigation maps today is that they can alert you to traffic and accidents and help you choose routes that will save you time and avoid gridlocks. Just remember that the fastest route at the time may not always be the best route for you.

Save Money on Tolls

Everyone loves to save money, so save a few bucks with the help of your navigation map! If you don’t mind adding a few minutes to your trip, you can take a route that will help you avoid tolls. This generally is a more scenic route, but it can save you some cash while offering the occasional breathtaking view. After all, you would want to drive to the Great Lakes using the fastest route because you would miss some wow-worthy scenery.

Prepare for Losing Service to Avoid Getting Lost

One feature of navigation maps through apps today is that you can download your entire trip before you go or print it after you have created it. This allows you to be prepared if you lose service and do not have access to technology.

5 Best Navigation Apps

  • Google Maps
  • Waze
  • MapQuest
  • Apple Maps
  • Scout GPS Link

Google Maps App

Perhaps the most well-known navigation app, Google Maps, has been around for quite some time. It provides real-time traffic updates, estimated arrival times based on traffic conditions, and offers re-routing. It is also available offline! If you plan to visit the Outer Banks in peak season, traffic is brutal, so this app would come in handy.

Waze App

Lake Michigan Cork Map

The Waze app is one of the most popular navigation apps on the market right now. It informs users of accidents, construction, speed traps, road closures, and other traffic-related incidents in real-time. The maps are constantly updated, and users can even share gas prices to the app for others. As you use the app, it learns your habits and provides you with new routes. If this app sounds right for you, download it for your next adventure to the Great Lakes.

MapQuest App

A basic app, MapQuest, has existed in desktop format for years. You can add every stop you need to make and choose between different routes. It also alerts you to the best gas prices, allows you to search and book accommodations within the app, and alerts you to traffic speeds. This app is best when you are planning to make numerous stops. A cross-country trip with a stop in Lake Michigan? This app will help you plan every navigational detail!

Apple Maps App

This is the top competitor for Google Maps, especially as it comes pre-downloaded on all iPhone devices. It offers the standard turn-by-turn directions and voice navigation, alerts you to the fastest routes, and provides weather and air-quality reports for your destination. While it is a default for many, it still is widely popular and gets the job done. So, if you’ve been putting off that trip to Washington, D.C., you can feel confident using your iPhone to help you get around. 

Scout GPS Link App

Washington, D.C. Wood Chart

The Scout app is popular due to its social navigation options. While it has the usual features like turn-by-turn navigation, it also recommends restaurants based on user reviews. It can even text people to let them know your estimated arrival time. So if you are traveling to Block Island after hearing about their fantastic food options, this may be the app for you!

Navigation Maps in Everyday Life

Navigation has become an integral part of our day-to-day lives. We use it many times without even realizing it. Whether you are walking around a city and using the walking options to help you find your way or traveling to your favorite spot in Bar Harbor by car, easy navigation is right at your fingertips, ready to help you the entire way!

Navigation maps have continued to pave the way for us to explore new places, get to our destinations, or visit old friends. Wherever you go, don’t forget to commemorate your trip with a high-quality wood map or gift one to your traveling buddy. You will treasure the memories for a lifetime!


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