Introduction: Pocket Sized Map Book

Picture of Pocket Sized Map Book
I've always felt that someone should make a map that could be read like a book, similar to the Thompson's Guide but smaller that could fit in a pocket for a bicyclist.

Well, here it is!

Step 1: Tools and Materials

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photo software (I used PaintShop pro)
ink jet printer (continuous ink supply system not required but recommended!)
paper cutter (recommended)
spray mount or spray adhesive (optional)
weather proofing spray (optional)

Step 2: Find a Map

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Get a map for the area you want. I used google maps, but you can use whatever map you want. I suppose you could even do this with a purchased street map if you so desired. Someone suggested this place instead of google maps:

If you haven't noticed already, on google maps you can click the tiny little arrow on the left side bar and it will disappear giving you a larger map area to work with.

I wanted this map to flow intuitively from one page to the next. To get that effect, you need a long (wide) and narrow (short) map.

I chose to make a map of my home area, Silicon Valley, which is sort of a landscape rectangle (see photo).

Take a screen shot and then paste it into your photo software.

Step 3: Tricky Part

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Once you have the screenshot in your photo editing software, trim it into a shape about 12" tall by 20" wide or so.

Then carefully select the upper half of the image (6" by 20"). (I wish Paint Shop Pro had a way to tell it specific coordinates for selection, but it doesn't, oh well)

Once you have the upper half of the image selected, you need to rotate it 180 degrees.

Now save your image and print it out to your printer.

In my case, I had to print the image out on poster setting 2x1 (printed over two pages in landscape mode).

Step 4: Trim and Assemble

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Once your printout is ready, trim the inner white margin with the paper cutter and carefully tape together the two halves of the map, being careful to line up the streets and street names so they match exactly.

Step 5: Trim Again

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Now trim the large white margin away from the entire map.

If you have a paper cutter, most of them will let you remove the guide so you can cut longer paper with it.

Step 6: Fold and Cut

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These are basically the same folding instructions that can be found on other websites, such as this one:

The photos explain it better than I can

First, fold the image in half lengthwise with the picture facing out.

Then unfold and then fold it into a W shape with the pictures facing in.

Then make cut through the middle hump of the W with scissors right down the middle (see photos).

Fold back lengthwise into the diamond with wings shape (see photos)

Step 7: Optional Larger Version

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I discovered that a larger version could be made by just adding more humps to the 'w'. These become more pages.

For this variation, you definitely need to use spray adhesive on the backs of the pages to keep it all from unfolding all over.

Also, getting all those pages to meet perfectly in the center was sort of tough.

But this produces a larger map which is more readable, so I like it.

Step 8: Optional Adhesive and Waterproofing

Picture of Optional Adhesive and Waterproofing
Because this was printed with an ink jet printer onto paper, the map will be very sensitive to any water that gets on it, so I chose to coat the pages with spray on waterproofing.

I also chose to spray adhesive onto the white back side of the map so that the pages would be more compact and look neater. However, if you don't use adhesive, you can actually unfold the thing again and get a better birds eye view of the whole map, which might be better actually.

Be aware that the more careful you are about trimming, cutting and folding, the neater the finished result will be and the more pleasing the finished booklet will be.

Thanks for reading and I hope you like this little map book.


siafulinux (author)2011-01-16

This is great. Thanks!

I made a map of our city by tracing an original using Inkscape. Used separate layers to incorporate different design elements such as a grid (alphabet - number), color zoned each main area, city limits are marked, shows businesses, etc. It all fits nicely onto ONE sheet of paper and I can filter what I want to print or don't want to print.

The reason I did my own map was because Google Maps (OpenStreetMap, etc) would not fit onto one sheet, no matter what I tried, without the text becoming a pain to read and I wanted to include my own edits as necessary.

I have just completed the index (by grid and zone) tonight and came across your 'ible after looking for other map ideas. Now I have a pocket version of my map book - just without the index listing - thinking of a way to incorporate it... hhmm.

I wonder if one could "laminate" the map using, say, contact paper? Just wondering if it would get too thick; guess I'll need to give it a try.

I'm liking the light-up / etched map ideas mentioned in the comments too.

Again, thanks for this simple idea.

foobear (author)siafulinux2011-01-16

cool, maybe you could post some pictures of your map. It sounds really nice.

alltootechnical (author)2010-04-13

It eats up your ink cartridges and pay for refills!

frikkie (author)2009-02-13

nice.Looking at your instructable I thought of two things one can build. Havent tried it yet.I thought of printing a black and white printout on transparency plastic paper.Then to take a piece of perspex plastic spray positive twenty onto it. Then put the transparency map on the perspex and put in sun for 30 min about. And after that using ferric chloride(chemical used to etch pc boards)and etch the perspex. The idea is to have a map on perspex or glass.In the war movies they have maps on glass or plastic panels. Let me know what you think of it.

foobear (author)frikkie2009-02-14

It sounds like you are on to something there. I like the sound of it.

frikkie (author)2009-02-13

The other method I thought one could use and less costly to put the map between to glass or perspex panels.And in the stand which holds the glass ,mount a few leds to light up the map.

kraM (author)2008-06-05

Thats a cool idea haden't thought of that. Im interested as to how you set up yhe continous ink flow. You shuld make an instructable on that. nice work

foobear (author)kraM2008-10-15

Yeah, the continuous inkflow system was awesome while it lasted, however, it broke down after only two months and the merchant ( wouldn't repair or replace it. So that was an expensive mistake.

berserk (author)2008-07-24

I had not thought of laminating these. I made an instructable for a Manageable map some time ago that gives some instructions how to fold this over multiple pages. It's similar to German "[ Falk]" plans (sorry, link in German only) - I wonder if they use the same methods as the Thompson's guides. I can't find any info about those guides - does someone have a link?

sabbott (author)2008-07-03

This reminds me of the pocketmod planner -- i didn't know you could add more pages! Great idea!

joejoerowley (author)2008-06-13

Cool! Great Instructable! Thanks Joe

koax (author)2008-06-11

Nice one man good job! PS: Another goodd alternative is an Iphone 3G :P GPS include :P

ejsilver26 (author)2008-06-05

That is pretty cool. I like the fact it isn't the same size as Thompson's Guides. This is great if you have a small-ish area that you are going to be in. Excellent job.

foobear (author)ejsilver262008-06-05

Yeah, I think I will try again and make a bigger one somehow. The booklet itself is still pretty thin, so there could be more pages easily.

ejsilver26 (author)foobear2008-06-05

it would be interesting to see if you can make this for bike trips. Pages for the "route" (map), and pages to record your times/distances, etc. That might be in instructable in and of itself.

Saint (author)ejsilver262008-06-07

You can easily expand this with to pages. If you make the cut over multiple segments you can make more very small booklets out of a single piece of paper. For convenience you could always glue them if it keeps falling apart. I scaled it up to eight pages once, with rather thick paper, and it worked fine.

SPGWhistler (author)2008-06-05

Great 'ible... but just a note - it's not technically legal to use google maps in this way - but you could use Open Street MapOpen Street Map - that would be legal and you'd get a similar result.

foobear (author)SPGWhistler2008-06-05

Why, why isn't it legal? They give you a print button so you can print out the map. Why can't you fold it up a certain way to make it convenient for yourself. What would be illegal about it?

SPGWhistler (author)foobear2008-06-06

Because you are using it as a guide book type thing - and I'm betting their license with NavTec doesn't cover this - because NavTec wants to make money on the maps it's sells to people like Thompson's Guides. You can check their TOS if you want to be sure.

michaelk42 (author)SPGWhistler2008-06-06

Making it for yourself, for your own personal use... Fair use easy. As long as you're not making these and *selling* them you're fine.

SPGWhistler (author)michaelk422008-06-06

Maybe, but you can for sure use Open Street Map this way, with no worries.

Saint (author)SPGWhistler2008-06-07

Fair use goes a long way, and you'll never see anyone complaining as long as you don't sell these on a large scale (for example online). Don't be too scared to find the limits of the terms of service, it'll make your life a lot easier.

bhunter736 (author)2008-06-06

Great Job! I thought your photos with the folds and cutting were excellent. I will be making one of these next time I travel. Thanks!

Sandal Man (author)2008-06-06

Great idea but I had no idea A-Zs aren't done in the US. We have them in the UK. A5 sized books that contain maps of cities. there is a different one for each city and contains all the cycle routes too. I always have one with me! however the book's size varies with the city. Oxford only has four pages in it but Manchester has about 200.

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