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45 of 45 found the following review helpful:
Excellent resource within its limitationsAug 02, 2005
By Bruce L. Nelson
"'Alone Across Alaska' and '700 Miles Alone', My DVDs!"
This atlas appeared as a "recommended item" for me by Amazon.com. I noticed I had a dog-eared, rumpled copy next to my chair and thought I'd give it an honest review.
First of all, what it ISN'T. The topographic maps certainly don't contain "unbeatable detail." For example, right now I'm planning a trip in the Brooks Range in northern Alaska. In that area of the state, the map scale is 1:1,400,000, where 1 inch represents about 22 miles! Not much detail available on that scale.
The regions most people are traveling in, however, are on a much more detailed scale of 1:300,000, where 1 inch = 4.8 miles.
These maps cover the areas where most people live and hunt and fish and backpack and boat in Alaska. (For comparison, the most commonly used topographic maps obtained elsewhere are at a scale of 1:24:000 for most of the U.S. and 1:63,360 for Alaska.)
The Atlas IS an invaluable reference for planning and quick reference. I try to keep mine handy, and reference it very often. It is much, much faster and easier than trying to download or find individual topo maps.
There's a very handy map index on the back, showing each map's page and area. On the second page there's a two page fold-out relief map, in color, showing Alaska's mountain ranges, rivers, etc. There's a map legend inside the front cover, and a Table of Contents on page one, and the back. There are other interesting and useful features like the average temperatures and daylight hours from Nome to Anchorage to Juneau.
This Atlas is similar to a compact camera: it may not have quite as many features, but it's handiness often makes it even more useful.
23 of 23 found the following review helpful:
A Good Starting Point for PlanningApr 16, 2006
By HMS Warspite
The sheer size of Alaska tends to defeat what would otherwise be an unbeatable map collection for most states in the lower 48. A second challenge is the very thin transportation infrastructure in Alaska; huge areas of the state are not on the limited road network and can be reached in a timely manner only by air. Enormous swaths of wilderness have no transportation network at all.
The DeLorme "Alaska Atlas and Gazetteer" is an excellent resource for trip planning. Used in conjunction with the most recent "Milepost", the average travelor can reach any point in the state accessible by road and plan entry into many other areas. However, the scale of the maps is insufficient for detailed off-road route planning; deep country hikers, hunters, and fishermen are advised to seek more specialized map products.
This Atlas is highly recommended to the traveler in Alaska looking for a compact map resource. It is also a good starting point for planning trips in determining where more detailed map products will be needed.
10 of 10 found the following review helpful:
An Alaskan PerspectiveDec 11, 2008
By Bob Kaufman
Every Alaska household that's into the outdoors has at least one copy of this book. As someone who operates a popular Alaska travel website (Alaska.org) and helps people plan custom Alaska vacations, I often recommend this book to visitors taking a driving tour.
For $20, you get basically the entire set of USGS topographic maps for the state of Alaska, most at the 1:300,000 scale (1 inch = 4.8 miles). When the book first came out in the 1990's, it broke my heart, because I had just purchased the equivalent Alaska map set from the USGS, each on individual sheets, for $500!
I keep one in my car while driving Alaska's highways, so wherever I go, I'll know the names of the mountains, rivers, and main features. The maps are also detailed enough to use as a reference if you want to take a day hike or backpacking trip.
However, if you plan any kind of multi-day adventure into a specific area, you'll want to instead get at least the USGS quadrangle for that area (available at the Anchorage USGS office at Alaska Pacific University). At a 1:250,000 (1 inch = 3.9 miles) scale, the quads are somewhat more detailed and easy to fold up and carry. If you're not an Alaska backcountry expert, you might also consider picking up the even more detailed 1:25,000 scale (1 inch = .4 mile) maps for your intended route. Each map is $4.00-$6.00.
So, the value of this book is basically being able to research any part of Alaska. For example, if you're calling an air taxi to discuss pickup or dropoff locations, you can just flip to the right page in the Atlas and know what they're referring to. If you're planning a float or backpacking trip, the Atlas can help you gauge the difficulty of the terrain and estimated travel time. If you're planning a road trip, the Atlas is great for planning out where you'll see the most rugged topography and where streams and creeks cross the road (for water or car camping).
If you're planning an extended road trip in Alaska or the Yukon, you'll also want to get the Milepost. Unlike the Atlas, the Milepost does not contain detailed topographic maps but instead mostly text listings of what to see and do at each milepoint. If you're mainly traveling between Seward, Denali, and Fairbanks (the central part of Alaska known as "the Railbelt"), avoid the expense of the Milepost and instead pick up the free, 120-page Alaska Activities Guide available at hotels and car rental locations throughout Anchorage. It contains a couple dozen maps and excellent commentary. You can download some of those maps at Alaska.org/maps, as well as a fairly good State of Alaska Map.
The Atlas is easy to use. There's a large index map on the first page and a nice two-page foldout map of the entire state as well. It also contains some nice reference tables of freshwater and saltwater fishing locations, boat ramps, mountain ranges, wildlife refuges, and other information--though none of these tables are detailed enough to be a standalone trip planning resource.
My main criticism of the Atlas is that huge sections of northern (north of Livengood) and western Alaska (west of McGrath) are at the unfortunate 1:1,400,000 scale (1 inch = 22 miles). I understand that few people visit these regions, but they are at a scale so general as to be almost useless, and the labeling is sparse. If you're planning a trip to the Brooks Range, the rivers of Western Alaska, the Haul Road, or other more remote parts of the state, these 1:1,400,000 maps don't help much.
15 of 17 found the following review helpful:
For the Alaskan Road WarriorSep 16, 2005
By Mad Q. Dog
A MUST, and best combined with Mileposts. A huge State with few roads, there are around every turn unexpected, jaw-dropping sights. Move the front seat passenger to the back and keep this volume open on the passenger's seat for easy reference... pulling off the highway before you do so.
4 of 4 found the following review helpful:
Useful for the average travelerJul 18, 2007
By Travel reader
We were on a driving trip in Alaska and wanted a map with details about the terrain as well as roads. This altas fits the bill. Our only complaint is that almost everyone in Alaska uses "milepost" numbers on the main highways as landmarks and even their street address in some places, and those reference points are not included along the roads on the maps. Even so, it was a big help for our trip.
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