Is there somewhere you would like to travel once most COVID-19 restrictions are lifted? Would it be to Europe, Asia, Africa, or right here at home in the United States of America? Regardless of where you might travel, you need to know how to get where you are going. Today, April 5, 2021, is “National Read A Road Map Day.” Now, does anyone ever really read a road map anymore? In this day and age of GPS, satellites and voice commands, do we need traditional print maps? Of course, we do… Haven’t you ever heard of technology failing, dead batteries, and or lost satellite connections? Well, it does happen and you might need to rely on a current road map to get you where you were going.
Where did road maps come from you may ask? It is believed that the Turin Papyrus, an ancient Egyptian map is the oldest surviving topographical map created around 1160 BCE. It was the Greek civilization that developed the understanding of cartography. People such as Ptolemy, Herodotus, Anaximander, and Eratosthenes all contributed to the western earth sciences including geography. Let’s skip a few years now to cartographer John Ogilby, a British painter who pioneered the making of the first road atlas appropriately titled “Britania Atlas” in 1675. Now fast forward to 1924 when the Rand McNally Road Atlas debuted, followed by first full-color edition published in 1960.
Do you remember a time when you could pull over on the side of the road and actually hold a road map over the hood of your car? Road maps or route maps often included navigational information such as landmarks in a specific area thus becoming the ultimate guide for adventure. Folded maps are still available at most gas stations, bookstores, or for purchase online; therefore, remember this day and try putting away your GPS the next time you take a road trip and pull out an actual paper map.
If you are looking for a way to celebrate “National Read a Road Map Day,” you could take the time to learn how to read one if you have never read a physical map as it is a very good skill to have. You could utilize your library resources and learn more about maps and how they are made. Or, best of all, take a short road trip using only paper maps to guide you. But remember to bring along a navigator to direct you as you do not want to read a map while driving. So, what location is on your bucket list? Regardless of where will your travels take you, take along paper maps to help guide you—you will be glad you did!!!
Check out these resources to learn more about map reading: