Make a (better) Foldable Map




Introduction: Make a (better) Foldable Map

Don't we all sometimes have problems folding back some of those big maps. You know the ones you have to fold like 5 times... If you are going on a trip somewhere, you can make your own map. Print it on a paper and fold it like a pro :-) This "instructable" includes lots of images to make it easier to understand. I have tried to use images instead of text as much as possible.
This is the endresult... last image is a gifanimation showing the map in action.

Step 1: A Template Makes It Easier to Understand...

I've made a template with folding lines that I will use in the beginning to make things more obvius later on. You can download this template (Illustrator file) from the zip-file below or use the PDF file.

Step 2: Images Will Instruct How to Fold...

Just follow the steps below on each image. This is the template that I have printed on a regular A4 paper. Then I cut it out to be the size of a A5 paper (cutting lines included in illustrator file). There is are no restrictions on how big or small the paper should be. I wanted to have a small size pocket map, so I choosed this format.

Please, follow the steps on the template before you start using your fold technique on the "real" map, or whatever you have printed. We can call this the learning part. :-)

Step 3: Lets Start With the Map

Until now, you have only been using a template and have been practicing the technique.
So you think you got it now?
Great, then let us continue with the mapfolding. I will use my papertemplate as a reference to what I will fold on the map. Just follow the images instructions once again please.



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    22 Discussions

    I loved how fine it works! Is this dieline design patented? I`m interested in applying this fold to a CD booklet project, but for commercial purposes.

    1 more answer

    Hi VítorT7, Thx for waking me up from a 6 year coma. Haven't been here for a loooong time :-)
    I doubt the fold is patented. You can easily find variants of it when searching on Google for "turkish map fold".

    Good luck!

    Yet another alternative is what is used in Falkplan maps in Germany. They fold the maps in parralel lines in one direction like an accordeon, and then in the perpendicular direction as well. The trick is, they cut slits between the folds. This allows you to look through the map from east to west like a book, and the individual pages flip up and down in parts to access the north south direction. So, you only ever need to open about the size of two squares of the folds to access any part of the map. I wasn't able to find any pictures of this online, and I have never seen a map like that outside of Germany. The folding process is patented by Falk.

    6 replies

    the Falkplan sounds like the 'Australian' fold that I learned in the Marines. My CO loved his maps and this method made it so easy. Of course I forgot how to do it and am now trying to figure it out again. if you see any instructions please post here and let me know. Thanks.

    Could you possibly show us the cutting and folding pattern for this? For example just draw the cuts and folds on an imaginary blank sheet of paper. This sounds like a really useful idea!

    It's your lucky day! :-) I've just made a pdf including the folding lines. You can download it above. I didn't have the time to illustrate all steps in the drawing(pdf). But I hope it will help you a bit more as it is now.

    It looks like a very useful idea. And a picture is worth a thousand words, but -- EXTREMELY CONFUSING! Ok, I got step 2 figured out and done. I am completely lost as to what you are doing in step 3 ! What is the ruler and knife for? How did you get it to come out a square-cornered booklet? What is the significance of the hand on the cookbook? Is that your sort of bible or something that you're swearing on? Some written instructions, explaining what you're doing, to go along with the pictures would be extremely helpful! I can't get past step 2.

    Hi Chasverna! If you managed to do step 2, it shouldn't be a problem with step 3. Step 2 is only a practice-step and the outcome of step 2 is being used as a reference/template when you make the true map/image fold. So, if your folding in step 2 works as intended. Just look at it and do the same in step 3, but with the image you would like to be the inside of your fold. The holy hand on the cookbook... Lol, that was funny. Actually I was just putting some pressure on it for about a minute, then left it on its on. :-) I've added some text to the pictures, but you have to rollover them to read it. I hope this help you out a bit. Writing instructions for all kind of foldings here is quite hard without messing it up for the audience. Especially when my foreign language isn't English.

    Thank you, ! I had assumed the use of the rulers was to try to extrapolate the map to a larger sized map to figure out where to put the folds in a large original sized roadmap – I was having large problems with that part. Can you imagine me at my desk trying to figure out where to put the folds in a full size roadmap ! Now, it makes perfect sense and I have a great little map ! I just printed your folding template onto the back of the map. Thank you so much,

    How does it end as a rectangle in the final image? I can only get it to be the "arrow" shape.

    Great idea, and folding technique. I am an avid google maps user. This is a great way to print off my most used routs, and keep them handy. Best part is this will unfold partially, as to make one handed viewing a bit easier at red lights. Although the size might make reading an issue, or your card may have to be enlarged.

    Hi Hobbyman,
    Just want to say thank you for this instructable I used it for a wedding map as part of an invitation and it was really well received. So thank. Mind you folding 200 of them was a bit mind bending!!! Cheers again

    Hi Great instructable but I am unable to download the pdf file, can you please check that it is working? Thanks Fintan

    1 reply

    Hi fquigley! I've tried it, and it works fine for me: Not sure if the url above will work (might be a generated url for each time someone download it)? Thanks!

    if you fold the origami bowel on this site and reverse some of the folds it will give you all the correct angles and creases without having to use a ruler......i used to make this map fold many years ago and it can be done very easily and only takes a minute or so.

    How far in from the edges of the sheet should I cut? It isn't clear from the PDF file. It would be helpful to add some more measurements.

    it seems like a Turkish map, right?

    I have to admit that it was NOT easy to understand! But with the PDF files and all the pictures, I finally succeeded! Thx for the Instructable!!!

    Thanks for pointing out this really cool map fold but the link is as dead as a doornail. I had a real hard time finding any information about folding this but I finally found this:

    There's a nice pdf of how to do this. This is easier than the fold presented here and probably more versatile.