Great post from Big Country on the need for **physical** maps should the SHTF: Map And Area Studies: You Need to Read This. Sez BCE:
Everybody, and I mean everybody… every swinging Richard out there has gotten faaaaar too comfortable with their Phone and iGizmos and whatnot in regards to navigation and such things. The reliance on the Google Map feature for LandNav means ‘regular good ole fashion LandNav’ has fallen by the wayside.
All of the cloud based stuff is awesome as long as it works but when you really need it, by definition that stuff won’t be working. Then what?
As is my pattern, a little nostalgia for ya. Back in my early married years we were always members of AAA, partly for the roadside assistance back before that became standard for auto insurance policies, but also for their “TripTiks”. If you were going somewhere you could go to your local AAA office, tell them your plans and they would draw out the best route for you, provide you with roads maps and other goodies. Even later on when GPS became ubiquitous we liked having maps, there is a stack of half a dozen Delorme Atlas/Gazetteers right next to me covering nearby states. My wife has always been my navigator, I drive and she checks the map.
Of course having a map and being able to actually read it are two different things. One of my favorite scenes from Band of Brothers is when Captain Sobel gets lost, again, because he can’t read a map and Luz pretends to be the major and gets him to cut a fence, letting the cattle loose.
“Why is there a fence here? There should be no fence here.” It is pretty clear that if Sobel had gone on the jump with Easy, someone would have shot him in the back of the head as soon as they hit the ground.
There is some great discussion going on in the comment section of Big Country’s post, you should check it out and ask yourself if you could navigate in your area of operation if the lights went out and the satellites stopped sending data. There are lots of free resources out there like topoView maps from the USGS, take advantage of them now while you can. Get yourself some paper maps, I just ordered a new Delorme Atlas & Gazetteer for Indiana and most state tourism bureaus will send you a free roadmap if you request a vacation guide. I already have maps for Montana and Oregon for our planned trip out West, still waiting on Washington and Idaho.
Depending on your situation, you should also be doing some basic AO (area of operations) work. For me this is pretty easy, we are out in the country and I drive for a living so I know all of the roads and can get home from just about anywhere I might find myself on a normal day. We don’t have a lot of sketchy areas around here but we still have some people who are on /theotherside/ and some generic malcontents. I wrote about this last year in this post I recommend you read: Proactive Pest Removal
Without getting into specifics, there are definitely people who live in my area of operation that I will work with and provide protection to. Then again there are also, without getting into specifics, people I have already identified in my mind that are going to be immediately problematic.
For example, even out where we live there are a handful of sex offenders on the registry and several of them are listed as “violent sex offenders”. These aren’t guys who are flashers, they are rapists of some sort. My general policy is that while some criminals can be reformed, violent sex offenders almost never can be. These guys have likely been eyeballing young girls and children for months or years, waiting for an opportunity. What do you think a convicted rapist is going to do as soon as the fear of being sent back to jail disappears?
Sex offenders are obvious. There are others, and I assume most people have them as well no matter where they live. The sketchy people, the guys you suspect of minor crimes like petty theft and vandalism but no one has caught them. There are a few of them around here, guys you wouldn’t trust any farther than you could throw them under ideal circumstances, but under WROL circumstances? They would turn in a hurry.
Out in rural America there are unfortunately a fair number of people who are addicted to opioids or meth. When they can’t get their high easily, it is unlikely they will just say “oh well” and turn to painting or something. They will be far more prone to start hitting house after house looking for medicine cabinets with opioids. When they have broken into your home and are already inside, it is getting pretty late to do something.
I think it is a pretty good post and it got lots of good comments.
Those who live in more urban settings have a whole different set of problems, like how to get out if everything goes tits up. If things go bad, they will go bad fast. Last night I was watching World War Z, not a great movie, and in the beginning of the zombie outbreak Brad Pitt and his family are stuck in traffic in a large city (Philadelphia?) and somehow commandeer a shitty old RV and next thing you know they are in the country. Magic!
In the real world, unless you really know your way around the city, the vehicle you are in might quickly become your coffin. People get super angry in mild traffic but if the wheels are coming off, angry people will get desperate and violent in a hurry, especially in vibrant diverse neighborhoods. You need to know how to get out of town, taking back alleys and less common roads, before things go bad. Or better yet, follow my advice from 2019 and Bug Out Now. Having the coolest bug-out bag and an awesome every-day-carry set-up won’t mean shit if some gangbanger shoots you in the back while you are trying to escape an urban hellhole.
There is more, a lot more, to being prepared than having the most tacticool AR-15 and pallets of ammo. Knowing how to get around your area of operations is near the top of that list and having maps that don’t rely on electricity and satellites is a must-have.