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Customer Review

147 of 157 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A disgraceful example of cartography, June 28, 2012
This review is from: USA, Large Scale Road Atlas, 2013 (Rand McNally Large Scale Road Atlas U. S. A.) (Spiral-bound)
It's impossible to understand the favourable reviews of this product. First impression: all the pages were stuck together. They had to be carefully separated, pair by pair, trying not to tear the thin paper over the spiral binding. Then when I started trying to use the maps, I was astonished to find that where a map was split across two pages - most maps - there was just an arbitrary break. Words are split, even, unbelievably, letters. You'll find one half (or quarter) of the letter "t" on the left hand page and the remainder an inch away on the right hand page.
Perhaps users expect no better now, but I went back to an old (1996) Gousha road atlas and confirmed my recollection that, by human intervention, every page break was carefully arranged so that words were not split.
That's not all. Many states require two or more double-page spreads. Fine - that's the point of a large format. But there's no overlap. So for example Northeastern Pennsylvania takes a double-page spread on pages 178-179, and Southeastern Pennsylvania is on pages 180-181. Anyone who's actually used a map for driving knows that when there's a town at the bottom of one page, you should be able to find it at the top of the next page. That's how you orient yourself. Not with this road atlas. It's on one or the other, bot both.
It's as if someone laid out a huge map of the US on the floor, cut it into pieces for each state, and slapped the pieces into a book. If you think about it, the art of map publishing involves a lot more than that.
Incidentally, Pennsylvania takes three double-page spreads. Other reviewer have commented on how difficult the size makes the maps to use, but that perhaps depends on the type of use and personal preference. I think it's certainly true that the atlas is of very little use for planning a trip that covers any considerable distance, even within a single state.
And be careful that you know what you're getting. If you want Canada and Mexico, it's easy to purchase the US-only version by mistake.
I am afraid I am deeply suspicious of reviews that claim they found this publication excellent, or even halfway decent.
Now to try to find a decent piece of modern map publishing.
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Showing 1-10 of 14 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 10, 2012 6:32:27 AM PDT
From someone who once got lost using an inaccurate Rand-McNally state map, I also miss the old Gousha maps and atlases. I found them more accurate and more detailed than the Rand-McNally maps at the time. I still have the 1996 Gousha atlas (I think it was the last year they were published) and use it occasionally but, unfortunately, it's out-of-date badly. Highway numbers have changed as well as new highway routes having been constructed. Gousha was absorbed by Rand-McNally years ago and it is sadly missed. I'm one who would rather plot out a route with paper atlas and maps than rely on GPS units that are not always correct or use Internet mapping services that have, in the past, taken me on tours of places I never wanted to go. Probably the only reason the Rand-McNally maps get such good reviews is because there is no alternative these days.

Posted on Aug 11, 2012 1:30:50 PM PDT
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 11, 2012 3:48:50 PM PDT
bob12and35 says:
Wow, such repartee. Look it up.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 29, 2012 8:15:00 AM PDT
J. Paulsonn says:
Obviously, Carol, you have not seen a good American Maps or Gousha road map. They put Rand McNally to shame.

Posted on Oct 11, 2012 9:49:40 AM PDT
leigh says:
So have you found a good map? I have been looking for one; mine is very outdated, and anything I have seen has been very poor quality. If I found one, I was going to buy them for each of my grown kids to keep in their cars. GPS's are not always the best....
And by the way, as to the other commenter who thought you were picky, I do not consider my self old or old-fashioned, but I do like accuracy. What good is a map if it isn't accurate?
Let me know if you have found something worth buying...

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 12, 2012 11:18:25 PM PDT
bob12and35 says:
Michelin North America Road Atlas 2013 (Atlas (Michelin))

Hi, and thanks. Yes, I think the Michelin 2013 Road Atlas is pretty good.

Posted on Nov 11, 2012 12:34:46 PM PST
PATOLA says:
I am a GPS kinda gal, but realized with the way things are going now, I probably need a good ole fashion map and learn how to read it, so I find your review very helpful in knowing what to look for in a quality map.

As far as the "good" reviews you mentioned - I have found with many Amazon reviews that you should look at what other products the person has reviewed. Many times if the review is too good to be true, they have only reviewed that one product i.e. they are a ringer for that product.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 13, 2012 9:13:15 AM PST
Thanks! Going to look for that. I hate GPS, have used them and do not like them. have been able to read a map since I was very young, my parents used me as the navigator and there is nothing like a good road atlas. We are moving halfway across the country and I want to get a map for my kids to look at too, plus it has been a while since I have gone that way so it would be nice to have it on hand for us as well. Thanks for your honest review I will look at the Michelin one.

Posted on Mar 7, 2013 1:05:17 PM PST
Thanks for a good review

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 15, 2015 2:13:20 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Sep 15, 2015 2:15:30 PM PDT]
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