Letter Re: Making Your Own Maps for the Field

Jim, I have several books, folded sheet, and other type maps. I wanted to purchase or acquire a good satellite image map with roads and terrain. After thinking, big mistake, I realized I already had the answer loaded on my computer. I have Google Earth. On Google Earth you can add lots of legend material, Miles/ Kilometer, parks, etc, I went to the area I was in and printed out several elevations. In some areas you can zoom down to 100 feet elevation. I then went to the nearby office place and had the sheets laminated, and spiral bound. Keep …




Letter Re: Some Travel and Bug Out Gear Recommendations

Sir, First, as promised earlier I wanted to follow up and describe the kit I take with me on my trips. As I have mentioned in the past my job takes me overseas all the time, so for the past decade I have spent 80-90% of my time in third and second world countries. As a result the type of kit I take with me becomes important – it has to be packable and lightweight (especially now that the airlines are limiting you to 50 lbs. per bag versus the old 75 lbs. per bag). I have built up a …




Letter Re: Bug Out Contingency Planning

[Introductory note from JWR: I normally send detailed letter replies only to their intended recipients, but in this case, I thought that this letter was a great example of terrain and obstacle analysis,a s well as “outside the box” planning, so I’m positing it for the entire SurvivalBlog readership to ponder. Do you have similar plans for off-road mobility, and contingency plans, folks?] Mr. Rawles, A note for Diane about her relative living on-post at Fort Riley, Kansas: First thing to obtain if you want to bug out of Ft. Riley is to get a Kansas Atlas & Gazetteer map …




Letter Re: GPS for Day-to-Day Use and Survival

Hi Jim, I enjoyed that excellent GPS article [by Mike S., “GPS for Day-to-Day Use and Survival”.] It squares well with my personal experience. GPS on-board mapping has many errors. Seems worse in the hinterlands. Also pretty bad where new construction is concerned. I was amused while driving in MA that for about a half mile my GPS unit thought I was driving down railroad tracks. While snowshoeing with friends, my buddy had to demonstrate the GPS on his iPhone. All it showed was a dot in the middle of a blank screen. We were beyond the reach of cell …




GPS for Day-to-Day Use and Survival, by Mike S.

Reading accounts of people who had evacuated the Gulf Coast during Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita was a sobering experience. Evacuees who took to the interstate highways effectively ended up in giant parking lots. In contrast, those who used the back roads fared much better and were able to evacuate in a timely manner. I live sufficiently inland that hurricanes do not pose a serious threat to me, nor do other foreseeable regional natural disasters such as earthquakes pose a serious risk. However, I live in the middle of a major metropolitan area where man-made disasters and localized natural disasters …




Letter Re: Escape From (Fill in Your City Here), 2009

Dear James Regarding Matt R.’s letter, I have been a survivalist and self-sufficient minded person most of my adult life. I live at my retreat in a prime western state. I have been reading your site for the last 18 months. I have learned some new useful information (never too late to teach old dog new tricks) from your site. I have also purchased quite a few supplies from your advertisers. For most scenarios my home/retreat is a perfect place to be if the SHTF and I can just stay home. However I do not like to have all my …




Letter Re: Dealing With Local Building Inspectors

Mr. Rawles, [To follow up on TANSTAAFL’s letter,] I have worked for several engineering firms as a GIS technician, then manager. Counties will advertise when they will be re-flying parts or all of the county. Most county engineers, auditor, or Property Valuation Administrator (PVA) offices will tell you what the schedule for mapping is out a couple of years (usually the department in charge of tax assessments). A give away that it is happening is when you see large X’s painted in intersections with a metal spike sunk in the middle of the X (these are control points), with survey …




Two Letters Re: Escape From (Fill in Your City Here), 2009

Dear Jim:, All this recent discussion by SurvivalBlog readers about hot-wiring airplanes, and cutting fences and locks is missing some basic, well, let’s just say “applied ethics”. Recall the Golden Rule “Do unto others as they have done unto you”. Flip the situation around and look at it from the property owner’s view: How would you feel if you saw someone stealing your airplane? (Your life savings in an aircraft.) How would you feel upon noticing someone cutting the fence or gate that keeps your cattle off the road? Granted, in a life-threatening emergency you may morally take liberties with …




Letter Re: Escape From (Fill in Your City Here), 2009

Mr. Rawles, Concerning the article: Escape From (Fill in Your City Here), 2009, by Bill in Chicagoland, I would like to add to these comments. My 20 years experience driving the county roads and the farmer ranch roads with the Soil Conservation Service have given me a perspective of the potential for choice this road system presents. I have a considerable amount of experience driving cross country. I have driven from the Northern Texas panhandle across the Oklahoma Panhandle into southeastern Colorado and north to the Colorado Springs area on mostly gravel and dirt roads. Several times I have driven …




Escape From (Fill in Your City Here), 2009, by Bill in Chicagoland

I think as a boy my favorite stories were always about epic journeys or quests. I always saw myself as the lone hero; bravely making his way through a barren landscape overcoming impossible obstacles and having fantastic adventures along the way. As preppers I think many of us still believe that WTSHTF our trip to “Get out of Dodge” will be an adventure such as those we read in books. I’m afraid however; the reality will be much grimmer than we can imagine. I fear that it will be more like The Road by Cormac McCarthy or the recent novel …




Letter Re: Free GPS Topographical Map Software and Adjuncts

JWR, I read the letter from Grant regarding free topographic maps and I have an even easier method [if you don’t need to download data into a GPS receiver.] You can go to the USGS web site and use the GoogleMap API to find the area that you want a map of. Once you find the area, just click the “MARK POINTS” Radio button and click on the map. The marker that shows up will have the option of ordering paper copies of the map for $6 or free download. You can download your standard 7.5 minute topographic map in …




Letter Re: Free GPS Topographical Map Software and Adjuncts

Jim, Maps are something I have a lot of fun with. I wrote up a blog post on free online mapping centered around topographical maps that if you haven’t already encountered these tools you might find it interesting. In a post at Gear Addicts, I cover how to acquire free topographical maps, as well as using the topo maps in conjuncture with programs like Google Earth, and NASA World Wind. Making a free and in some ways superior replacemnt for expensive software by National Geographic and Garmin. Regards, – Grant




Letter Re: Our Hurricane Rita Evac Proved a Point–Timing is Everything!

Dear Mr. Rawles, I was in Kingwood Texas, a suburb of Houston, and as keeping an eye on the Hurricane Rita projected tracks. When the “yellow cone of death” was centered squarely on Houston, I started to seriously access my situation. That Tuesday evening, everything still seemed sort of normal. The wife came home from work about 5 p.m. and we took the dog for a walk around 6 p.m. When we passed the local gas station that normally has 0-1 cars in it and there was a line 10 cars deep, I knew it was “time.” I told the …




Two Letters Re: Aids to Mapping Your G.O.O.D. Routes

Sir: We live at our retreat full time in a very rural county in Virginia. Without going into detail, I’ve had conversations with the locals and my sense is that the road signs will disappear if things where to go south. The locals don’t need them and don’t really care to have folks around that would need them. So if your plan is to go somewhere then you had better drive it before hand, in fact you should have several different ways. Make a notebook of your turns by intersection count and visible landmarks (that can not be moved). Or …




Aids to Mapping Your G.O.O.D. Routes

Mr. Rawles, I appreciate everything you do to keep everyone working toward preparing. To that end I would like to supplement your notes with a product I have been using for a few weeks now that have greatly improved my Get Out of Dodge (G.O.O.D.) plans. Along with US Geological maps I have used the excellent Delorme Atlas and Gazetteer to plan my back road escape routes. Recently I found that they now offer ($29.95 plus the cost of the software) an “all you can use” annual subscription to their entire map collection in digital format. Unfortunately you do need …