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We like paper maps for our in-depth touring. In the past, we have bought the Benchmark Atlas for various states. We are getting ready for an in-depth visit to Idaho prior to going to Alaska. We don't have any really good maps of Idaho. Many years ago the Benchmark Atlas was to go-to map for the western states. Has anyone surpassed their quality? I don't think we have bought a map in 10 years or more. Now that we have more time we are very interested in getting better maps for our in-depth look.

Thanks

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Benchmark has one for Idaho. That's the one I'd recommend. We had them all and each time we entered a new state that was the first thing we pulled out.  They give so much information and show good backroads to travel and are very easy to read.  We started out with Delorme and soon found Benchmark surpassed it.

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Thanks, this is the type of input I am looking for. I was just wondering if there were any better maps/atlas in the many years since we bought one.

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We usually pic up, sometimes free, sometimes a couple bucks, each individual state map.  Usually each place that carries those also has local/state tourist info/maps.  We find lots of info, things to do more from that than any electronic or *big book* map.  I'm sure you have seen what I'm talking about, the usual visitor centers maps.  We use a Benchmark to get us to the area then use the tourist maps from there.

Edited by NDBirdman

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Thanks for your reply. Those maps do not meet our needs. Not enough detail for us. We are planning on buying the Benchmark Atlas for Idaho.

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While I always carry paper maps, one of the places a GPS is hard to beat is for county roads.  Most of the free or AAA maps & atlases don't have the detail that a GPS provides.  Trying to carry county level maps for the entire country is difficult, at least on paper; not difficult on a GPS. Both have their advantages...

Edited by vermilye

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Here's a sample of Benchmark's Idaho.  A GPS doesn't show all that this does.  It's an excellent resources if you're into exploring and using backroads. A Gazeteer map like this gives you a big picture of the area without loosing detail like a GPS does when you zoom out.  If you're just going from A to B in travels then a GPS is good.  Or... if you pick a gravel side road from the marked ones on Benchmark then use the GPS as you're traveling that road.  That's our feeling, anyway, and we travel the backroads at every stop.

https://www.benchmarkmaps.com/products-page/atlases/idahoroad-recreation-atlas

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Hi Swharton - Benchmark maps can be purchased and loaded through the Avenza Maps app as well. Has the details of the atlas version and you can toggle back and forth between Benchmark and Google maps to look at terrain or satellite or plot distances etc. Benchmark shows your location by GPS so you can see if you are on BLM or whatever...

 

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I find the GPS and the cell phone are inconvenient when traveling back roads. Doesn't display enough of an area if zoomed in enough to see the roads. We don't like to repeat roads in our backroad wandering. Also, dirt roads are rarely in the displays.

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We have all the tools  available .GPS is primary. Google maps on the smart phone, paper maps, Google Earth.

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We have about 20 of the Benchmark maps books as we used to get them for every state that we spent time in. Frankly we are using them less and less as our GPS seems to have just as many roads and we allows us explore backroads just fine. We use the Benchmark maps for "big picture" considerations, often the evening before, but between our GPS and Google Maps we seldom use the Benchmark books while underway. 

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We travel the back roads, dirt and sometimes mild 4x4 roads.  I like and buy Benchmark atlases.  However nothing beats looking at the satellite view of the roads with Google Earth, or the satellite views on Google Maps and/or Bing Maps.  I usually start with Benchmark and/or NF maps and then go to the online views.   Sometimes I am amazed to find ground level 360 degree photos of the dirt/gravel roads.  I know of no way to know if there is a 360* view unless I click on the icon to see if there is a photo.  

We also, at times, take our RV back to boondock spots on the dirt roads, but not before we drive the toad to check out the access. 

 

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I believe there is a time and a place for all our "mapping" items. If we have internet then Google comes in handy. Many tims we don't then the Benchmark maps are useful. GPS is used to get us back where we came from if we are all turned around.

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On ‎3‎/‎21‎/‎2019 at 9:08 PM, SWharton said:

I believe there is a time and a place for all our "mapping" items. If we have internet then Google comes in handy. Many tims we don't then the Benchmark maps are useful. GPS is used to get us back where we came from if we are all turned around.

Always remembered this guy who now is passed. Always take time to look back where you came from. Things may look different going that way and you may think your going the wrong way. I enjoy looking at maps and even if someone is flying me to a remote location have an idea where its at. Like Captain Sully said. you gotta know where your going. I don't own a GPS but use google maps a satellite views. I did find there road marking of I69 south of Indiannapolis wrong the other day.

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We travel the US, State, County, and other backroads whenever possible.  More to see and get a real look at the USA.  We use the Delorme Atlas & Gazetteer.  They do have one for Idaho.  One word of caution, buy directly from Delorme.  Amazon and other places have them but not always the most updated version.  We looked at one for Colorado and they had a 2012 version when we ordered from Delorme we had a 2015 copy.  Same with Arkansas.  We had a 2004 version and wanted something newer but Amazon only had a 2012 and Delorme had 2018.  

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I find Delorme Atlas & Gazetteer really lacking in the back country gravel, dirt, and sometimes narrow paved roads.  Delorme shows the same width and boldness to fairly decent gravel roads as they do to some pretty rough dirt roads

Benchmark maps has very easy to see distinctions between paved, good gravel, good dirt and roads which are 4x4.  

I haven't purchased at Delorme Atlas & Gazetteer in about 15 years because of this issue.  

I do use both Delorme Street & Trips and Delorme Topo quite a bit.  Both do a good job of distinguishing between the various types of roads.  Unfortunately both computer based programs were discontinued several years ago. 

Edited by Al F

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