Zoom-in paper maps

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High-tech folding paper maps
Zoom in without fighting floppy folded pages

When it comes to navigating our way around this magnifi­cent country, is it perhaps time we went back to the future?

While the prophets of progress have long been predicting the demise of the paper map, could it be the steady stream of stories about tourist who blindly fol­low their GPS to near disaster over cliffs, into deserts, and up rock-riddled 4WD tracks that sees them return?

And that’s before we take into consideration the constant complaints about the lack of detail that the electronic maps give to remote Australia.

“Ah, yes,” say the GPS gurus and app aficionados. “But tra­ditional paper maps don’t allow you to zoom in on one area of a map … it means you have to spread a whole paper map out just to look at one specific area.”

Well, times they are a’ changing … and not just in the high-tech gadgetry department. British designer Anne Stauche has come up with a deliciously simple but incredibly ingenious zoomable paper map.

In its completely folded-down form, the map2 fits in the user’s pocket. Upon opening it, you get a 40cm x 40cm map. Unfold one of the four 10cm x 10cm quadrants, though, and it opens to a zoomed-in view of that area (another 40 x 40 cm map), allowing you to see more of the same spot without having to wrestle with a really large sheet of paper. I love it!

While the maps are rolling out to cover major Europen cities, surely it won’t be too long before we see fold-out Aussie Outback maps hitting the highways.

Ahhh, for a return to those glorious days of sitting around the campfire of an evening plot­ting the next day’s route on a crumpled paper map.

The Map2 for London is cur­rently available in tear-resistant paper for about A$13.

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