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Offline ForgedPatriot

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Bug Out Route Planning
« on: November 30, 2012, 09:14:24 AM »
Just thought I would share what we are doing on our end to prepare for a potential bug out of our family to a safer location, and what kind of route planning we have been doing. The first thing on our agenda was to get a really good paper map (don't rely on digital maps or your ipad, etc.). We went with the Texas Atlas & Gazetteer. It has alot of information in it, and shows all Farm to Market roads as well as smaller county roads (which is important to know). Below is a link to the map we use (it has proved to be very accurate).

http://shop.delorme.com/OA_HTML/DELibeCCtdItemDetail.jsp?item=312&section=10042

Incidentally, we are also using these maps (along with a resource book from Joel Skousen) to determine the best place for us to buy land for a bug out location. I have made copies of the actual map pages and have highlighted certain areas, within a certain distance from me, that adhere to certain criteria (population, availability of water, topography, etc) that will be the areas that we will look for land to buy (we are late bloomers to the prep community due to my wife just getting on board!).

Once we pinpointed areas that look suitable to our conditions, we have started to not only look for land in those areas, but we have started to take several day trips to those areas. Along the way we have been marking such things as the following to later put on out final maps:

  • Water sources along our route
  • Actual road mileage between different points along our route
  • Any abandoned or temporary shelters along the route
  • Pipeline corridors that are favorable to our route
  • Railroad crossings that are favorable to our route
  • Populations of towns we go near
  • Restaurants, stores, etc. that may be a potential resupply
  • Location of law enforcement stations in towns
  • Location of clinics, doctors offices, etc. that may be a potential resupply
  • Location of mechanics shops, garages, meat processors, etc. all for potential resupply

There may be a few more, but you get the idea. we are looking for all of these things ahead of time and will be marking them on the master map. I will then be taking the finished map and making it into multiple small maps and using a numbering system on them. They will also be laminated for weather protection as well as to be able to mark on them with a grease pencil for any kind of planning (raid, ambush, scouting, best defense etc).

Anyway, that's where we are at currently. Any suggestions are welcomed!



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Offline cptd

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Re: Bug Out Route Planning
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2012, 07:41:33 PM »
I live in Georgia, and my father in law here retired recently from Georgia Power, which provides most of the electricity here. He was able to give me a map of all of the electrical easements in the state. I keep copies of certain parts of it in my BOV because in some parts of the state, these easements run uninterrupted for many kilometers, and in the event of road closings, traffic jams, or roadblocks they might provide a way to bypass certain choke points. The electric companies have to keep these things clear of trees and other debris because they have to be able to drive their trucks down them to inspect and repair the overhead lines.

I'm pretty sure it's illegal to go cruising down the easement, so I wouldn't recommend testing it out, but it might make a good alternative in the event that you absolutely had to get out of town and the traffic was crawling. As long as you know where these things eventually intersect with other roads and highways, you could incorporate them into your planning as fallback options.

Offline nelson96

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Re: Bug Out Route Planning
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2012, 09:05:44 PM »
That is very smart . . .  both of you.
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Offline otowner98

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Re: Bug Out Route Planning
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2012, 09:10:55 PM »
I live in Georgia, and my father in law here retired recently from Georgia Power, which provides most of the electricity here. He was able to give me a map of all of the electrical easements in the state. I keep copies of certain parts of it in my BOV because in some parts of the state, these easements run uninterrupted for many kilometers, and in the event of road closings, traffic jams, or roadblocks they might provide a way to bypass certain choke points. The electric companies have to keep these things clear of trees and other debris because they have to be able to drive their trucks down them to inspect and repair the overhead lines.

I'm pretty sure it's illegal to go cruising down the easement, so I wouldn't recommend testing it out, but it might make a good alternative in the event that you absolutely had to get out of town and the traffic was crawling. As long as you know where these things eventually intersect with other roads and highways, you could incorporate them into your planning as fallback options.

Good plan.  One small caution.  I remember watching Survivor Man and Les was following High Tension lines, but cautioning that they can lead to dead ends when they cross things humans can't - large rivers, swamps, canyons, etc.  Combine knowledge of where the easements run with a good topographical map, and you should be in good shape.

I seem to remember people using the utility easements to travel being alluded to in "Lights Out" as well as the TV show "Jericho".   "NUTS!!"
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Offline flippydidit

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Re: Bug Out Route Planning
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2012, 10:08:02 PM »
+1 for "Nuts!"

Many utility (power, telephone) poles have steel plates attached to them which are labeled with numbers.  Sometimes the numbers are the Latitude and Longitude for that utility pole.  Think of it as a “Poor Man's GPS”.  Utility poles are not the only locations for these data plates.  Some can be located on power boxes, overpasses/bridges, transformers, elevation bench-markers, etc.  Of course, if you don't understand how to use Latitude/Longitude navigation techniques, they will be nothing more than useless markers.

I also recommend checking into other "routes" less considered.  These are some examples:

Railroad tracks
Logging roads
Gas lines
Power transmission lines
Waterways (rivers, channels, irrigation, aqueducts, etc.)
Secondary/arterial roads
Sewers
Forest management/fire roads
Game trails
Hiking/jogging trails
Bike paths
Horse trails

Keep in mind that otowner98 is correct.  Some of the power lines and other options can lead you to a "dead end".  Other options maybe extremely hazardous (such as crossing a train trestle bridge, or going into a train tunnel).  Consider your options and do what you can now to determine your best routes.  As stated previously, many of these "routes" are illegal to traverse while we have Rule of Law, so check local laws.
Nate
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Offline ForgedPatriot

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Re: Bug Out Route Planning
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2012, 06:08:11 AM »
I live in Georgia, and my father in law here retired recently from Georgia Power, which provides most of the electricity here. He was able to give me a map of all of the electrical easements in the state. I keep copies of certain parts of it in my BOV because in some parts of the state, these easements run uninterrupted for many kilometers, and in the event of road closings, traffic jams, or roadblocks they might provide a way to bypass certain choke points. The electric companies have to keep these things clear of trees and other debris because they have to be able to drive their trucks down them to inspect and repair the overhead lines.

I'm pretty sure it's illegal to go cruising down the easement, so I wouldn't recommend testing it out, but it might make a good alternative in the event that you absolutely had to get out of town and the traffic was crawling. As long as you know where these things eventually intersect with other roads and highways, you could incorporate them into your planning as fallback options.

That is a great resource, I wish I was able to get a hold of one of those for my area. I saw another comment after yours that made a good point about knowing if the easement would lead you to a dead end. I work for a Pipeline Company, and we have the same thing basically only it's called a ROW (Right Of Way). Google Earth or Bing maps helps out ahead of time with all that. Use every resource! Thanks for sharing!
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Offline ForgedPatriot

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Re: Bug Out Route Planning
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2012, 06:17:06 AM »
+1 for "Nuts!"

Many utility (power, telephone) poles have steel plates attached to them which are labeled with numbers.  Sometimes the numbers are the Latitude and Longitude for that utility pole.  Think of it as a “Poor Man's GPS”.  Utility poles are not the only locations for these data plates.  Some can be located on power boxes, overpasses/bridges, transformers, elevation bench-markers, etc.  Of course, if you don't understand how to use Latitude/Longitude navigation techniques, they will be nothing more than useless markers.

I also recommend checking into other "routes" less considered.  These are some examples:

Railroad tracks
Logging roads
Gas lines
Power transmission lines
Waterways (rivers, channels, irrigation, aqueducts, etc.)
Secondary/arterial roads
Sewers
Forest management/fire roads
Game trails
Hiking/jogging trails
Bike paths
Horse trails

Keep in mind that otowner98 is correct.  Some of the power lines and other options can lead you to a "dead end".  Other options maybe extremely hazardous (such as crossing a train trestle bridge, or going into a train tunnel).  Consider your options and do what you can now to determine your best routes.  As stated previously, many of these "routes" are illegal to traverse while we have Rule of Law, so check local laws.

Great advice! It's funny, because while we were travelling the roads scoping out the area we saw a few train trestles and I told my wife that we would avoid crossing at that location at all costs....she wanted to know why. Train trstles are very narrow, and it is hard to get your footing. The only way off one is a drop into the water, or worse down to a dry river bed, etc. I would not use one to cross simply because it would maximize someones chances to get at me....it would leave me too exposed for too long a period of time. What if a train came along?  :o  My thinking is this, if it gets bad enough for me to have my family evacuating somewhere, then we will most likely be in a WROL (Without Rule Of Law) situation in a number of places. All bets are off, and I will use whatever means necessary to get my family to safety....but that's just me  ;D  There are a number of RR Tracks that I had no idea that they ran so far in the areas I am looking into, so they are a great resource. Great examples BTW, thanks for sharing!
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Offline idelphic

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Re: Bug Out Route Planning
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2012, 04:21:09 PM »
I can't figure out if what I want to do is the wrong way to go about it or not.. But one of the things I have to work with, like many is two vehicles, multiple packs and kits... and of course limited funds.

But I see the large format being difficult to work with, and not water proof..

So how do you handle that issue?
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Offline flippydidit

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Re: Bug Out Route Planning
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2012, 10:47:01 PM »
I can't figure out if what I want to do is the wrong way to go about it or not.. But one of the things I have to work with, like many is two vehicles, multiple packs and kits... and of course limited funds.

But I see the large format being difficult to work with, and not water proof..

So how do you handle that issue?
Nate
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Offline flippydidit

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Re: Bug Out Route Planning
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2012, 10:52:56 PM »
I can't figure out if what I want to do is the wrong way to go about it or not.. But one of the things I have to work with, like many is two vehicles, multiple packs and kits... and of course limited funds.

But I see the large format being difficult to work with, and not water proof..

So how do you handle that issue?

Divide that map into equal grid pieces physically (4x4, 8x8, etc).  Those individual "puzzle pieces" can be individually laminated and stored in a smaller map case.  They are easier to manage, and you only need to work with the one that covers the area you're currently in.  No need to manhandle a big map.
Nate
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"One of these centuries, the brutes, private or public, who believe that they can rule their betters by force, will learn the lesson of what happens when brute force encounters mind and force."
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Offline nelson96

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Re: Bug Out Route Planning
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2012, 11:42:02 PM »
Concerning maps, and I guess it depends on what the area is like, where you are going and how you plan to get there. . .  I use "fire maps" (can be obtained at the regional Forest Service office) because they show great detail, including trails, fences, old roads no longer used, and water sources.  This is what I use for the areas I hunt.  I also do what Nate is suggesting, I break them down in to separate zones so that they are more manageable for each given area.  Then I travel those areas (by vehicle or by foot) and add my own detail that may be missed or unclear.  If a road is blocked I label that too, along with determining if I could figure a way around the blockage if need be.
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Offline ForgedPatriot

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Re: Bug Out Route Planning
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2012, 08:07:52 AM »
Divide that map into equal grid pieces physically (4x4, 8x8, etc).  Those individual "puzzle pieces" can be individually laminated and stored in a smaller map case.  They are easier to manage, and you only need to work with the one that covers the area you're currently in.  No need to manhandle a big map.

This is exactly what we will be doing. I have a laminator at work that will do the trick. I have multiple people that will be using the same maps, so once I get everything on it that I want and feel I need, I will get them ready.
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Offline ForgedPatriot

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Re: Bug Out Route Planning
« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2012, 08:09:35 AM »
Concerning maps, and I guess it depends on what the area is like, where you are going and how you plan to get there. . .  I use "fire maps" (can be obtained at the regional Forest Service office) because they show great detail, including trails, fences, old roads no longer used, and water sources.  This is what I use for the areas I hunt.  I also do what Nate is suggesting, I break them down in to separate zones so that they are more manageable for each given area.  Then I travel those areas (by vehicle or by foot) and add my own detail that may be missed or unclear.  If a road is blocked I label that too, along with determining if I could figure a way around the blockage if need be.

Fire maps.....I had no idea, what a great resource. Will have to see if I can get some of those in my area. Thanks for the tip!
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Offline ForgedPatriot

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Re: Bug Out Route Planning
« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2012, 08:35:52 AM »
Well, I had to send off an email to the Forest Service to see if they have any fire maps in my area, but I was able to find Hunter Camp Maps for the National Forest's in my area. They are actually a pretty good resource. They show designated hunters camps, campgrounds, hiking trails, etc. all on public lands. I will call the Ranger station in my area to see what they can tell me as well.
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Offline endurance

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Re: Bug Out Route Planning
« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2012, 09:59:55 AM »
I think the 'fire maps' might be hit or miss by region.  I worked for the forest service for 11 seasons over five different ranger districts on three different forests and never saw a 'fire map'.  What we had was a forest map, which has minimal detail because of the large area it is covering (often 1.2-2.6 million acres), 4x4 roads (only 'system' roads that are authorized for legal travel, not backwoods tracks), rivers, and some peaks.  The primary purpose was to narrow down the fire's location to a township, range, and section (and ideally, corner of the section since a section is 640 acres) so resources could be called into the right location.

Forest maps are one useful tool, but personally, I like my Delorme software and the ability to do very small areas to a high degree of detail and very large areas that still display topographic relief.  I have four maps printed off in the cars, one highly detailed of the area within 20 miles of my home, one that covers about a 50 mile area with less detail and two that cover the majority of my state (a north of I-70 sheet and a south of I-70 sheet).
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Offline nelson96

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Re: Bug Out Route Planning
« Reply #15 on: December 06, 2012, 10:28:13 AM »
I think the 'fire maps' might be hit or miss by region.  I worked for the forest service for 11 seasons over five different ranger districts on three different forests and never saw a 'fire map'.  What we had was a forest map, which has minimal detail because of the large area it is covering (often 1.2-2.6 million acres), 4x4 roads (only 'system' roads that are authorized for legal travel, not backwoods tracks), rivers, and some peaks.  The primary purpose was to narrow down the fire's location to a township, range, and section (and ideally, corner of the section since a section is 640 acres) so resources could be called into the right location.

Forest maps are one useful tool, but personally, I like my Delorme software and the ability to do very small areas to a high degree of detail and very large areas that still display topographic relief.  I have four maps printed off in the cars, one highly detailed of the area within 20 miles of my home, one that covers about a 50 mile area with less detail and two that cover the majority of my state (a north of I-70 sheet and a south of I-70 sheet).

Plus 1 for Oregon then, I can get a very detailed Fire Map that also gives topographic relief.
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Offline fred.greek

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Re: Bug Out Route Planning
« Reply #16 on: December 06, 2012, 10:34:55 AM »
For at least some places in the US, you can download not only free topo maps, but free aerial image “maps” at:  www.store.usgs.gov
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Offline endurance

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Re: Bug Out Route Planning
« Reply #17 on: December 06, 2012, 12:18:32 PM »
Plus 1 for Oregon then, I can get a very detailed Fire Map that also gives topographic relief.

It certainly would be something useful.  I suspect that Colorado's multi-decade absence of fire led to complacency, but since the 2002 Hayman fire the attitude is changing.  Suddenly the 'asbestos forest' isn't so fire retardant anymore. 


My latest tool/toy for navigation is the BackCountry Pro app for Android phones.  I can pre-download four different layers of maps including topos and color aerials for free (it's a $7 app).  Once downloaded, you don't have to have a cell signal, just a GPS signal for your location, waypoint marking, or route recording and you can toggle between layers.  It also lets you download when you have a wifi connection to save data costs using your network.
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Offline ForgedPatriot

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Re: Bug Out Route Planning
« Reply #18 on: December 07, 2012, 09:02:10 AM »
It certainly would be something useful.  I suspect that Colorado's multi-decade absence of fire led to complacency, but since the 2002 Hayman fire the attitude is changing.  Suddenly the 'asbestos forest' isn't so fire retardant anymore. 


My latest tool/toy for navigation is the BackCountry Pro app for Android phones.  I can pre-download four different layers of maps including topos and color aerials for free (it's a $7 app).  Once downloaded, you don't have to have a cell signal, just a GPS signal for your location, waypoint marking, or route recording and you can toggle between layers.  It also lets you download when you have a wifi connection to save data costs using your network.

I will have to check that out! Thanks for the tip!
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Offline ForgedPatriot

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Re: Bug Out Route Planning
« Reply #19 on: December 07, 2012, 09:04:45 AM »
For at least some places in the US, you can download not only free topo maps, but free aerial image “maps” at:  www.store.usgs.gov

Thanks for the link!
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Offline ConcoursRider

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Re: Bug Out Route Planning
« Reply #20 on: December 08, 2012, 05:45:30 PM »
For at least some places in the US, you can download not only free topo maps, but free aerial image “maps” at:  www.store.usgs.gov

I've been playing around with their topo maps and unless I'm not finding the right ones, I don't believe they list the railroad tracks or the power line grids. Has anyone else had this issue?

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Re: Bug Out Route Planning
« Reply #21 on: April 03, 2014, 06:08:40 PM »
A map is an excellent start.  We should also be thinking about putting together some checklists for packing, phone numbers to police, EMS, fire, and hospitals along the planned route, and basically getting into the weeds about the route.  Some ideas are better expressed as pics so here it goes.  The value of having checklists is it helps during times of high stress...  Cards such as these can easily be tailored to a civilian application. 





Below is a short video on Pre Combat Inspections/Pre Combat Checks.  Fast forward to 2:08 in video.  This type briefing could easily be formatted to route planning and bugging out.  We always took the time to explain the 5W's and ensured everybody knew the route and what to do in emergencies.  We never just jumped in our trucks and took off down the road.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10u92HLDbzc

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Re: Bug Out Route Planning
« Reply #22 on: May 07, 2014, 09:35:08 PM »
Some tips about bug out route planning

County roads are preferred, then state roads, then federal highways.  I had an incident a few years back where West Michigan had moderate storm damage from straight line winds.  My GPS warned me the traffic was backed up, and my CB radio was full of commo from the truckers bitching about the traffic.  This was all due to trees being on the highway, and the resulting traffic accidents.  I immediately got off the interstate just in time and saw a road that ran parallel to the highway.  I zoomed out the GPS and saw a county road that headed in the same direction. 

The county road was in a rural area.  The local folk had chainsaws out, pickup trucks, and were helping each other out.  I only waited a few minutes in one spot for a local that was clearing a large limb.  After that it was smooth sailing to a state road and to the destination.  The short cut took an additional 45 minutes, but who knows how long it would have taken on the highway.  Besides constant movement in a car is way more secure than sitting with a bunch of angry drivers stopped on the highway.

-have a gps.
-have a CB that always turns on when the car starts.
-use county roads, the residents in those areas a more prepared.
-should carry a good county atlas and road maps as backups to the gps
-should have tire plugs and air compressor with the skill to repair tires in case of running over sharp tree limbs
-should always keeps your vehicle 3/4 full in case you have delays
-keep phone numbers of towing service preprogrammed into phone
-have 100 dollars on hand in small bills, such as 5s and 10s
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Give an American a fish, he will return the favor by giving you multi million dollar contracts.
Teach an American to fish, he gets jealous that you knew something he did not, and calls in a drone strike and kills you and your family.

Offline doublehelix

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Re: Bug Out Route Planning
« Reply #23 on: May 10, 2014, 11:00:55 AM »
Think strongly about "pre-running the route(s)" with a small camera like a gopro or lipstick camera..and several SD cards.

Cameras are invaluable for picking up things on later review, that you may have missed the first time around.  Some cameras even do a GPS overlay on screen.

Pretty much SOP now in the sandbox for protection convoy's.

Also good for pre-running with those that may not be able to come along on the first pass.

It also makes it MUCH easier to document waypoints and directions when you can go back and review.

We are visual creatures.

FWIW


« Last Edit: May 10, 2014, 11:15:14 AM by doublehelix »

Offline OutWestTX

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Re: Bug Out Route Planning
« Reply #24 on: May 10, 2014, 03:23:57 PM »
I can't figure out if what I want to do is the wrong way to go about it or not.. But one of the things I have to work with, like many is two vehicles, multiple packs and kits... and of course limited funds.

But I see the large format being difficult to work with, and not water proof..

So how do you handle that issue?

Office Depot, and other places, will laminate things or you....up to poster size.
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Offline The Professor

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Re: Bug Out Route Planning
« Reply #25 on: May 10, 2014, 03:50:38 PM »
Office Depot, and other places, will laminate things or you....up to poster size.

Also MapSaf or Thompson's Water Seal will waterproof large paper maps.

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Offline OutWestTX

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Re: Bug Out Route Planning
« Reply #26 on: May 10, 2014, 09:11:17 PM »
Some tips about bug out route planning

County roads are preferred, then state roads, then federal highways.  I had an incident a few years back where West Michigan had moderate storm damage from straight line winds.  My GPS warned me the traffic was backed up, and my CB radio was full of commo from the truckers bitching about the traffic.  This was all due to trees being on the highway, and the resulting traffic accidents.  I immediately got off the interstate just in time and saw a road that ran parallel to the highway.  I zoomed out the GPS and saw a county road that headed in the same direction. 


GPS is dangerously inaccurate in truly rural areas.  I recently had a 911 call from a guy who had followed his GPS and was "stuck in some sand".  He swore to me he was on a road which his GPS named for him.  We did not have that road in our county nor any of the neighboring counties.  He followed his GPS instructions down this "road" straight into an arroyo.   

His phone hit a tower in town, but he ended up being 27 miles north of town.  It was a miracle that we got he call at all.  It took the deputies and the game wardens and some other locals 6 hours to find him.  The cellphone company could not triangulate where he was because only one tower was picking up the call and it kept dropping. 
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Offline nelson96

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Re: Bug Out Route Planning
« Reply #27 on: May 10, 2014, 09:15:32 PM »
GPS is dangerously inaccurate in truly rural areas.

Just so we're all clear about your statement. . . .  GPS is very accurate in ALL areas, 'the mapping program' that comes with many of them, not so much.
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Online Big_Al

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Re: Bug Out Route Planning
« Reply #28 on: May 11, 2014, 12:55:59 AM »
GPS technology is a factor of the accuracy of the unit, the map datum loaded into that unit, and the user being able to interprete that data into useful information.  I have had instances where my map data was old, but paid enough attention to the road in front of me to understand what the unit was saying was not what I was seeing on the ground. 

It helps to also have a compass, and to review cities and rural areas before hand using paper maps.  It also helps to set the trip odometer to 0 and set some boundaries.  If I'm disoriented I set the odometer to 0, then actually say to myself,"I will drive X miles or X minutes looking for a route, otherwise turn around."  Some cities have a grid pattern, some a concentric ring pattern, some a combo of both.  I have to admit I do enjoy getting off the beaten path and have developed a knack for it.

One comment about GPS data sets.  The first company that overlays street data with crime statistics will get my lifetime membership and buyer loyalty.  How cool would it be if you drive into an area and the GPS warns of particular crime trends!  Maybe it already exists, please send along the info if so.  It would make a great addition to planning.
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Offline endurance

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Re: Bug Out Route Planning
« Reply #29 on: May 11, 2014, 12:00:05 PM »
....
One comment about GPS data sets.  The first company that overlays street data with crime statistics will get my lifetime membership and buyer loyalty.  How cool would it be if you drive into an area and the GPS warns of particular crime trends!  Maybe it already exists, please send along the info if so.  It would make a great addition to planning.
There's an app for that.  It's not perfect, but it does show you where all recent crimes are, from vehicle break-ins to sexual assaults, registered sex offenders and assaults.
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