Disclosure: I received a free copy of this map for this review. I did not receive any payment and was not required to write a positive review.
When you start planning a trip around the USA, you need to re-calibrate your ideas of scale. That has a big impact on map choices. The USA is so vast that you need two types of map to navigate your way over large areas: regional maps for route planning and detailed local maps for navigating minor roads, especially in rural areas.
None of this is intended to be a criticism of the Marco Polo USA East map, which the kind people at Marco Polo provided for us to use on our trip this year. This fold-out map covers an area that must be close to the size of Western Europe — from the far north east of Maine, west across to Chicago, then down to Mobile Alabama and Florida. It’s about 1,500 miles up the east coast from Miami to Boston. That’s further than driving from Calais to Gibraltar: this map covers a lot of ground.
The scale of USA East is 1 inch to 32 miles. To put this in context, AA Road Map Britain, a fold-out map that covers the whole of the UK, has a scale of 1 inch to 10 miles.
Our experience was that USA East is spot on for long distance driving and route planning. We used it extensively to plan our trip around New England, and found it clear and well laid out. According to my co-pilot and chief navigator, it was a good map that she’d be happy to buy with her own cash. She also liked the ‘mark it’ post-it type sticks included with the map. Praise indeed.
However, if you’re like us and want to explore areas using more minor roads, just remember that you will also need a more detailed local map and/or a good sat nav. Otherwise you’ll find that many smaller roads and even whole towns are simply missing from your maps.
Title: USA East
Publisher: Marco Polo