Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Printing Maps

Have spent some more time playing around with the Quo mapping software designing the route for the TGO Challenge, I now know that the whole route fits on 29 A4 sheets of paper.

The Quo maps I have are at the 1:50 scale but the software allows the maps to be printed out at almost any scale. I did try printing at 1:25 which give the best detail but only allows a 7x6 km square map, which mean more pages. Printing at 1:50 gives the lease number but is nearly impossible for me to see without glasses, it would mean having to put them on to map read then take off to see where I was then going, which in a pain and in bad weather a complete hassle.

So to give me the best option of scale I can see without glasses and not have to many pages; I have gone for 1:30 scale, which gives the 29 sheets of A4, but by printing double sided is only actually 15 sheets of paper.

But I worked out a way to make this even less sheets of paper; in fact only 8 by printing them on A3 paper, I can get 4 maps to one A3 sheet.

The next step is how waterproof the printed maps will be; printing on standard paper is a no-no as one drop of water and the maps will be ruined. I know that you can buy waterproof papers (which are expensive) to print on but I'm sure that you also need to have waterproof inks to make this work properly.

I have some maps printed using a high end electrophotography machine and will do some tests to see how good they are in the wet. I don't expect them to be fully waterproof but to be better than the ones printing on a normal printer.

As I'm taking a low level route; I'm sure that having the digital print out instead of 'proper' maps will work out O.K. although I will probably get and take the Havery's Cairngorms & Lochnagar British Mountain map incase I decide to take a detour in the Cairngorms.


  1. Hi George
    I was worried about my print-out maps getting wet for my Lejog, so I used a colour laser printer but on ordinary paper and tucked the maps inside an Ortlieb Document pouch (A5) which worked absolutley fine - no need for waterproof paper.

    But latterly I have just been using ordinary inkjet printers and putting the maps in the same Ortlieb A5 bag and have never had a problem.

    Interesting that you can print onto A3 paper - with my Anquet maps I can only print onto A4 - so, how do you do that? Is it a very techie thing?

  2. If you were worried about the print out getting wet, I guess you could post some print outs somewhere you planned to stay as a backup. Just in case they did get wet.

    Like Alan, I would recommend an Ortlieb case too.

  3. @ Alan All the software only allow printing at A4 but you can bypass this. I print the maps to .pdf files then I can get them printed to A3, 2 on either side of an A3 give me 4 maps to a sheet.

    @Steven I was thinking of sending a spare set up.

    I did have an Ortlieb case but it fogged over so you could see the maps inside will have to add this to the 'get' list :-)

  4. I've had good luck with a color laser printer vs. inkjets. Once you know what to print, using one of the "rent-a-printer" office shops isn't too expensive (a big chain in the states is Kinkos - but I'm not sure what they are called in the UK (when I'm there it is to visit family and NOT WORK)). Using a map case worked well for me last summer on a two-week canoe trip in Canada where water is probably even more of a problem than in Scotland. If you are planning on resupply stops, why not just put the next section of maps in each resupply?