Get A Free Topographical Map
It does not matter one bit whether you are embarking upon a weekend camping trip with the family or trying to navigate through the mess left following a natural disaster or apocalyptic man-made scenario, knowing what is waiting over the next hill is critical to surviving. More than one avid outdoors person has lost their life due to ignorance and apathy when it comes to knowing the terrain, and in most cases it can be avoided with a few added minutes of preparation. The three foot wide, six inch deep stream located 100 yards from your camp site that you never noticed winds through a high-walled canyon 15 miles away when a storm hits it. No rain where you are at 3 AM when the flash flood hits and guess what? You're camping on low ground - you just don't realize it.
The same difficulty will exist in a natural disaster or man-made emergency, and if you think you'll just hop on the interstate to get where you're going ask any of the thousands of Hurricane Katrina survivors that had to turn back to where they started from because of gridlock. Your nice, new backpack loaded with goodies is going to most likely get you injured or killed when you stumble upon a starving group of 20 people that are heavily armed if you end up walking. The best way to avoid this? Become as invisible as possible and you can't do it without a topographical map.
Okay...you get the point.
The main problem with topographic maps is that they swing wildly in what they cost and in the depth of the information they provide. Add to this that if you need maps that cover large areas odds are that it will either cost a small fortune or they will lack detail due to budgetary concerns. There is a great way to avoid all of these issues.....
You can get free printable versions of topographical maps, hybrid maps, and street maps at http://www.digital-topo-maps.com/topo-maps.php and these are a fantastic camping and survival resource. You just select the area of your choice, select the type of map desired and print it out for free. The detail on these are very good and you can make the designated area of interest as large or small as you like, and you sure can't beat the price - free!