Southern Africa Road Atlas - have your say





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  1. #1
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    Default Southern Africa Road Atlas - have your say

    Hi Everyone,

    We have decided to create our own road atlas for Southern Africa. We had a look at the existing ones and feel we can improve on the quality of mapping and other information contained in these.

    We are about to start the design phase and I am sure this will not be a trivial undertaking, but we would like to give you a chance to tell us what you like and do not like in a road atlas.

    To start off the discussion we have put together a few points:

    • Size of Atlas - A4 or A3? What is practical in the car? I am told the new trend is A4, but I like the additional size of the A3.
    • Countries covered: South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Angola, Zambia, Malawi
    • Country map scale - 1: 1000 000
    • National Parks, Game Reserves and other areas of tourist interest to be covered in an appropriate scale to show more detail
    • City Maps - are they being used?
    • Country information, regional information, top tourist destinations - what would be useful?
    • time and distance indicators on country maps (similar to our existing country maps)
    • Time and distance tables for each country
    • Border crossing information
    • Do you need suggested routes? E.g. best route from Cape Town to Lusaka, or are we taking the fun out of it?
    • More expensive than the competition, but it should be well worth it. Let us know what you would see as a fair price.


    Please let us know what you think and also let us know if you like a 1:4000 000 scale fold out map of the area. Something that could go up on the wall.
    Johann Groenewald
    Tracks4Africa

    www.tracks4africa.co.za
    For friendly support staff, call +27 (0)21 880 8660

  2. #2
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    What I would like to see is a library of maps all done to the same spec that you can buy and build up your library. A folder to house them and then the specs to remain the same if you get what I mean. then you could buy them as and when you need for that country and also replace them when old and torn
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  3. #3
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    Fantastic idea. Put me down for a copy. Places to stay, border requirements, contact numbers hospitals, breakdown emergencies, currency and acceptance etc. Sure some of these things will change but they can be updated and create a new update market.
    Jeep, there is only one.

  4. #4
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    Default

    i use one like this,newer updated version would be nice.
    maps are not to bad,i do like it's smaller towns maps.plus it covers all bird and animal life is SA.simple phrases for communication on all SA languages.
    how do engine ,suspension,electrics in the car works
    how to fix small things in case of brake down...etc.
    it makes interesting reading in the bush.
    and i take it always with me.

    scale i do not know,but if has lots of dirt roads that i can explore i would buy it.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  5. #5
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    Size definitely A3
    If possible would like to have old and new names for towns, I know where Warmbaths is but Bella Bella sounds like a tickey box

  6. #6
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    That's going to be one thick book! I've always found city maps a waste of space in an atlas. How often do border crossing requirements change?

  7. #7
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    Default

    My vote is for A3.
    Kobus

    Nissan

  8. #8
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    A3 for me too. Bigger is better.

  9. #9
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    Agree on A3.

    I find a map in a book always land you in the situation where the place of interest is on the edge of the page and you have to look at two pages (Sometimes more if its in a corner) to get a "feel" for what's what. The only solution I can think of is to make the overlap (i.e. duplication of the handover strip) larger.

    Skip the town maps, waste of time.

    For us 4x4'ers, the map has to include the "unofficial" roads, i.e. the tracks for Africa type of trails. these unfortunately usually require in addition to just drawn on the map, a bit of a write-up about it (i.e. permissions, fuel availability, kind of terrain etc etc.)

    It goes without saying that some-how you need to cater for GPS co-ordinates. I suggest detailed scale in the margin so you can read off the co-ords by using a ruler and actually insert co-ords for the start of trails of difficult to find turn-offs.

    Agree with above suggestion that individual maps of areas with a folder will be great (then you do away with the edge of page problem).

    I'll buy.

    C
    If you ain't livin on the edge, you're taking up too much space!

  10. #10
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    Great idea. I find my Nat Geo Africa Adventure Atlas (where the southern Africa maps are 1:1 million) incredibly useful when overlanding, but it obviously has far less detail than a T4A atlas would have. And the A3 size is great, gives much better perspective than A4. I do use the Nat Geo city and town maps and find them useful. The regional information section is a waste of space - perhaps useful for European and other foreigners, but of little use to African overlanders.
    Personally, I would prefer it as a straight atlas, without lots of bumpff on border times, tourist info, suggested routes etc - that stuff changes all the time, and in any case, I always carry the latest Bradt or Rough guides, which has the info anyway.
    Put me on the waiting list!
    Last edited by Tony Weaver; 2013/08/21 at 03:01 PM.

  11. #11
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    A3 and laminated please.

    Then we can mark routes with a blackboard marker and wipe it off later.

    And no town maps or other touristy garbage.
    Last edited by jelo; 2013/08/21 at 03:05 PM.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stranger View Post
    What I would like to see is a library of maps all done to the same spec that you can buy and build up your library. A folder to house them and then the specs to remain the same if you get what I mean. then you could buy them as and when you need for that country and also replace them when old and torn
    Yes. Individual A3 laminated pages. Lovely idea.

    I even bought a T4A paper map, cut it up and laminated it with a home laminator............

    Sometimes a GPS doesn't work for me, I'm old school.
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    Percivamus

  13. #13
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    How about a T4A rendition of the old Topo maps? Obviously 1:50,000 is a little extreme, but you get my train of thought?
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  14. #14
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    • time and distance indicators on country maps (similar to our existing country maps)

    Yes, good quick indicator


    • Time and distance tables for each country

    No, I'm not a big fan. I'd use the GPS with T4A for estimated ETA.
    2012 Jeep Sahara Unlimited 3.6 V6
    Percivamus

  15. #15

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    This will be an information overload - one more map, when there are so many available, is a waste of time effort and cost, especially as many are now using GPS and T4Africa already have paper maps of neighbouring countries.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    This will be an information overload - one more map, when there are so many available, is a waste of time effort and cost, especially as many are now using GPS and T4Africa already have paper maps of neighbouring countries.
    I don't fully agree: the T4A paper map is cumbersome and despite the quality, does eventually tear.

    A T4A A3 Atlas would tick all my boxes.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    This will be an information overload - one more map, when there are so many available, is a waste of time effort and cost, especially as many are now using GPS and T4Africa already have paper maps of neighbouring countries.
    You can never have enough maps!

  18. #18
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    My take on this...

    Size of Atlas - A3. The idea of lamination sounds good, but may push costs up too high.
    Countries covered: South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Angola, Zambia, Malawi , Add Tanzania & Kenia. Separate sections, so you can expand, update as needed
    City Maps - Leave out. For these gps map works better.
    Country information, regional information, top tourist destinations - what would be useful? I would prefer this to be a map, not a tourist book. Leave all this as separate publications (if you want to get into this).
    time and distance indicators on country maps (similar to our existing country maps). Love this in the existing maps and would be nice to include.
    Border crossing information. Leave out or again as a separate publication. AA has good info on this in any case.
    Do you need suggested routes? E.g. best route from Cape Town to Lusaka, or are we taking the fun out of it? The Slingsby maps use little icons (smiley for scenic/nice routes). This may be a better approach.
    Pricing should be similar to existing T4A, but not more than gps maps. Discounts for gps map holders and vice versa would be a nice touch.
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  19. #19
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    Having thought that A3 would be great, I bought an A3 Map Studio atlas about 2 years ago. Then learnt it was a mistake - it didn't fit anywhere in the car/truck. Quickly went back to A4 and a decent pair of spectacles. From a commercial perspective, I don't think an A3 would be easily stocked by a bookshop. It would be a risky commercial exercise trying to launch an A3 while everyone else is A4 or smaller.

    I also vote against laminating because there is no decent way to write on it semi-permanently and erase at leisure. A pencil and "rubber" is still the most reliable - same as what real ships' navigators use.

    A good wire binding is needed to make it lie flat. Should have a plastic sleeve that can be pulled over when open at the right page.

    A good overlap amount on the edges of pages to reduce amount of paging needed.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by C Africa View Post
    Agree on A3.

    I find a map in a book always land you in the situation where the place of interest is on the edge of the page and you have to look at two pages (Sometimes more if its in a corner) to get a "feel" for what's what. The only solution I can think of is to make the overlap (i.e. duplication of the handover strip) larger.

    Skip the town maps, waste of time.

    For us 4x4'ers, the map has to include the "unofficial" roads, i.e. the tracks for Africa type of trails. these unfortunately usually require in addition to just drawn on the map, a bit of a write-up about it (i.e. permissions, fuel availability, kind of terrain etc etc.)

    It goes without saying that some-how you need to cater for GPS co-ordinates. I suggest detailed scale in the margin so you can read off the co-ords by using a ruler and actually insert co-ords for the start of trails of difficult to find turn-offs.

    Agree with above suggestion that individual maps of areas with a folder will be great (then you do away with the edge of page problem).

    I'll buy.

    C
    I agree with this - map books can be extremely frustrating trying to find the place of interest and going from page to page. I far prefer using a GPS and T4A maps which are excellent. Frankly I don't need more....

    ďAfrica changes you forever, like nowhere on earth. Once you have been there, you will never be the same." - Ernest Hemingway

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