How To Read Directions on a Road Atlas

Although the Internet provides a lot of map sources, holding a road atlas still provides for an all-time-ready reference when trying to look for directions. It takes real skill to be able to read a map properly. You might have been taught in summer camp that map reading should be done in a scientific and rigid manner. But modern road atlases are made to make it easy for users or consumers to figure out directions.

A road atlas is very handy and reliable. You can stick it in a car compartment and it’s readily available for you. You can bring it everywhere. Put it in your backpack and you'll have the confidence to never get lost. If you have been using it for quite a while you probably have figured out a way to use it.

Here are some suggestions to figure out directions on a road atlas:

  1. Set a point of reference. To make it easier for you to figure out directions, set the current place where you are as your point of reference. It is from this point that you are going to start figuring out the directions.
  2. Locate the index. The index of your road atlas lists all the places, streets, highways, and other particulars covered by the atlas. As with printed materials, the index is usually located in the back part. Flip to that part.
  3. Locate the place. Use the index to locate the place of your destination. The name of the place should have the page number where you can find it. It should also contain the numbers and letters. These are the tracing codes with which you can exactly pinpoint the place you are looking for.
  4. Flip to the page. Go to the page that the index indicated. The page would contain the road map, as well as names of places and streets. At the side portion of the pages, you will see letters running along. At the bottom and top of the pages, you will find the numbers. These numbers and letters will run in perpendicular lines, which will form grids. Light lines will appear on the map. Using the letters and numbers provided by the index, run between the lines representing the numbers and letters until they intersect. At the intersection, you should find your destination.
  5. Overview. Use the streets and places to get to the destination. As an overview, use the connecting places first. Then, the streets. The places that are connected would naturally have streets that are connected. You can then go to the individual streets to trace to the destination from your point of reference.
  6. Visualize. You do not need to actually close your eyes to visualize the directions. But you need to somehow be ready for the travel you are going to take.
  7. Landmarks. Road atlases contain landmarks. These are printed noticeably. These landmarks may also be used as points of reference. As you go along the way in tracing the destination, note landmarks. They can also be excellent clues in figuring out directions on a road atlas.

Figure out directions first before setting out on a journey. This will entail careful effort but will provide a hassle-free journey.


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