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Have you ever wondered why characters in the movies can read maps so fast they can actually get to their locations in no time? Reading a map can be very intimidating especially if you are a newbie. Part of the apprehension lies in the fact that the map reading can mean life or death depending on how you interpret the directions. You do not want to get lost in a forest, on the road, or even in a building so it is highly important that you read these 5 Tips to Understanding Maps Better.
1. First and foremost, you must get an idea of what type of map you are looking at. Remember that a map is an aid to your navigation around a certain area. A huge variety of maps are available for purchase in stores. If you have just landed in a new country, chances are the airport store has an atlas which you can buy for you to get around the place. Travel agencies also provide almost all kinds of maps in order to accommodate tourists. In short, figure out where you can secure a map before venturing out into an unknown territory. The most important thing to consider when buying is that the map should be made by a reliable maker. Take note that not all maps sold in stores are accurate and well-made.
2. Now that you have with you a map, you must first pinpoint your exact location. Plotting your itinerary is useless if you have zero idea of where you are. This might prove to be a hassle, but never hesitate to ask people around you. Ask them the place where you are currently at and look for that place in the map. Landmarks are helpful when it comes to this process as most maps nowadays provide names for famous towns or cities compared to the ones made in the past. Do not forget the bodies of water as well, just in case you are near one.
3. Now that you have figured out where you are, you must now decide where you want to go and how to get there. There are two ways on how you can do this. If you are the type who is in a hurry, then try to plot the fastest way for you to get to your destination. If, on the other hand, you are an adventurous type who loves taking your time, then never hesitate to include stopovers on your travel in order to make the most out of your map reading experience.
4. It is always wise to bring a pen or a marker with you wherever you go. For example, if you happen to hear from a guide that a certain road is closed, then marking the place on the map with an X is highly advisable. Using a pen or a marker will make you avoid various mistakes such as having to backtrack because of a closed road.
5. The last of the 5 tips to understanding maps better involves safety, which must always be your number one goal. Do your best to travel through roads that are actually marked on the map. Do not stray away from the path or else it might prove dangerous for you. Even if wide spaces between roads prove to be a fast way for you to get to your destination, these are most likely filled with various obstacles such as checkpoints or even laws prohibiting property trespassing. In the end, you must practice responsibility as a map reader in order to avoid the hassle of getting lost or even getting arrested because of traversing on a forbidden area.