Martin

Martin

Friday, 7 December 2012

A-Z Adventure Atlases

 A-Z White Peak Atlas

Maps from A-Z – see here - £5.45 including postage if you use discount code TRMB250

I was fortunate enough a few days ago to be approached by ‘A-Z’ to review a new product that they have launched.  Their ‘Adventure’ series of maps comes in the ‘A-Z’ booklet form that is familiar to many of us who over the years have used their Street Plans.

The ‘atlases’ are at 1:25,000 scale and utilise the latest Ordnance Survey mapping data.  They come in a 24cm (9½”) x 13½cm (5¼”) format which is effectively the same as the OS Outdoor Leisure maps that cover the same areas.  They weigh in at about 140gm, compared with around 200gm for an OS laminated map.

My Peak District Outdoor Leisure maps dating from the 1990s are decidedly tatty, so ‘A-Z’ kindly sent me their 80 page White Peak product and their 60 page Dark Peak atlas.  They are a revelation, and made me realise that my old maps were long overdue for replacement.  It’s remarkable how many changes have occurred in the past 15 years, and the mapping legend is now much clearer to read, with some of the tracks that I use (for example in Macclesfield Forest) now actually shown on the maps!

The replacement OS maps are double-sided laminated Outdoor Leisure editions costing £13.99 each (discounts of up to 30% are available).  Advantages of the OS maps are their waterproof quality and the ability to lay the whole map out when planning a route.  However, the A-Z booklets score highly in that:

  • they are very competitively priced at £7.95, subject to a £2.50 discount (see below);
  • they don’t require completely re-folding when moving from side to side of the area covered;
  • they are relatively light;
  • they have durable covers with fold out bookmarks on the front and rear frontispieces, on which all the public rights of way and public access legends are printed;
  • they include a key at 1:200,000 scale to the map pages that shows the principal roads and will be useful for planning and overview purposes;
  • at the back of each atlas there’s a comprehensive and very useful index that provides the page number and square for every map feature, as well as its OS Grid Reference;
  • there’s also a section on safety and security when walking or cycling, and a list of QR codes enabling those with the latest mobile devices to scan for such useful information as the latest weather forecast.

Whilst the A-Z product is not waterproof, it does fit into a map case just like its OS counterpart, albeit you can’t view both sides of the map in its booklet form. 

Paper versus Digital: whilst I use digital mapping at 1:50,000 for much of my route planning, I usually try to carry a paper map at 1:25,000 as back up to any digital print out of my planned route, and as my digital mapping is rather dated, having the latest OS mapping data for the Peak District will be useful.

    The current range of these 1:25,000 scale atlases covers Dartmoor, the Peaks (two booklets), the Lakes (two booklets), Snowdonia, the Broads, and the South West Coast Path (5 booklets).

    Here’s an example of a page from the White Peak booklet.

    Sample page from White Peak Atlas 
    Full details of this series of ‘atlases’ can be found at:

     A-Z Adventure Atlases

    Readers can use a discount code TRMB250 which will give you a £2.50 discount off any Atlas in the range. The discounted price of £5.45 includes free postage.

    This discount code is good for any Atlas in this series and should be valid until at least 31 December 2012. (It works – I’ve bought the Lake District booklets.)

    Conclusion

    At first sight this series of maps/atlases is an excellent innovation on the part of A-Z.  I’m delighted to have the Peak District atlases and I’ll certainly be updating I’ve now updated my Lake District maps, given that the entire Lake District at 1:25,000 costs just £10.90 including postage.

    My only significant reservations about these maps are that they don’t facilitate a detailed overview, they could be awkward to use in rain as you progress from page to page, and they won’t be as durable as the OS laminated maps.

    Great little Christmas presents!

    Later…. I used the atlas on our Christmas Lunch Walk on 9 December, and I’ve also noticed Tony Bennett’s comprehensive review here.  The bookmark flap tore slightly when I tried to keep the map in my trouser pocket, and I found having to remember the relevant page number a little tedious as I kept forgetting to use that bookmark flap.  I now agree with Tony that the atlas will be best used in an Ortlieb A5 map case, which is small enough to be kept in a jacket map pocket and will keep the map dry and in good condition.  Unfortunately the map case will cost about a tenner, plus postage.  Bob and Rose supply it as competitively as anyone.

    Finally, here’s A-Z’s take/specification on their ‘White Peak’ product:

    “The A-Z Adventure series features the accuracy and quality of OS Explorer mapping in a convenient book, complete with index.

    The A-Z Adventure series is an innovative concept that utilises Ordnance Survey Explorer mapping in a book, therefore eliminating the need to fold and re-fold a large sheet map to the desired area. OS Explorer is Ordnance Survey's most detailed mapping at a scale of 1:25 000, showing public rights of way, open access land, national parks, tourist information, car parks, public houses and camping and caravan sites.

    Unlike the original OS sheets, this A-Z Adventure Atlas includes a comprehensive index to towns, villages, hamlets and locations, natural features, nature reserves, car parks and youth hostels, making it easy to find the required location quickly. Each index entry has a page reference and a six figure National Grid Reference. At a book size of 240mm x 134mm it is the same size as a standard OS Explorer map when closed.

    This A-Z Adventure Atlas of the Peak District White Peak features 68 pages of continuous Ordnance Survey mapping covering:

    • Peak District National Park (southern part)
    • Hope Valley
    • Castleton
    • Bakewell
    • Buxton
    • Dove Dale
    • Monsal Dale
    • Lyme Park
    • Eyam

    This A-Z Adventure Atlas has the accuracy and quality of OS Explorer mapping indexed within a book, making it the perfect companion for walkers, off-road cyclists, horse riders and anyone wishing to explore the great outdoors.

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