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Thread: Paper Atlas: Delorme Vs. Benchmark

  1. #1
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    Default Paper Atlas: Delorme Vs. Benchmark

    Not sure what area to post this in so even though I'm not talking about software this seemed the most appropriate place to pose the question: Delorme or Benchmark Atlas'?

    So I've been trying to decide one or the other. I have several NatGeo maps and a couple books for certain areas I've gone to already or plan to visit. Problem is I'd like to have a good atlas in the truck for all those areas outside of the other maps/books. I've done some searching here but didn't find a dedicated thread on either.

    This evening I visited the local REI to compare them both. This was the second time I've checked them out in person. My observations:

    California Atlas & Gazetteer (Delorme Atlas & Gazetteer Series)-[ame="http://www.amazon.com/California-Atlas-Gazetteer-Delorme/dp/0899333834/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1284446494&sr=1-1"]http://www.amazon.com/California-Atlas-Gazetteer-Delorme/dp/0899333834/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1284446494&sr=1-1[/ame]
    Pros:
    Slightly larger scale
    Campground listing at the beginning of the book(incomplete-did not have campgrounds I recently visited)
    Better topography
    Metro areas in larger scale, not really necessary since I have a lot of maps from AAA in my truck

    Cons:
    Poor road description-i.e. 4x4 high clearance


    California Road & Recreation Atlas: Landscape Maps, Recreation Guides, Detailed Roads, GPS Grids (Benchmark Maps)-[ame="http://www.amazon.com/Benchmark-California-Road-Recreation-Atlas/dp/0929591496/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1284446526&sr=1-7"]http://www.amazon.com/Benchmark-California-Road-Recreation-Atlas/dp/0929591496/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1284446526&sr=1-7[/ame]
    Pros:
    Good road description
    Lots of information regarding the state of interest-counties, temperature variances, national park listing, recreation, etc.

    Cons:
    Smaller scale
    Topography less detailed


    Thats all I can think of right now since no notes were taken in store. I'm really after user opinions rather than weighing pros/cons. I was going back and forth from one to the other in the store for different areas. Some had pros in one area vs the other and vice versa.
    A camp proper is a nomads biding place. He may occupy it for a season or only for a single night, according as the site and its surroundings please or do not please the wanderers whim- Horace Kephart.
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  2. #2
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    I have plenty of DeLorme's for different states, but when one gets derelict enough to need replacement I go looking for the Benchmark's. I'm happy with either one, I just prefer the Benchmark's shading. I've also found that their roads shown do tend to actually exist, where that isn't always the case with the DeLorme's.

    IMO you won't know which you prefer until you've used them both.
    I used to swerve around my hallucinations, now I drive right through them.

  3. #3
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    I'd suspect it may vary from state to state but for the western states I prefer Benchmark hands down. UT, NV, ID, WY, CO, CA, etc all excel in the Benchmark version imo.
    Kurt Williams
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by ntsqd View Post
    .....I've also found that their roads shown do tend to actually exist, where that isn't always the case with the DeLorme's.

    .
    You say that like it's a bad thing.. I like the challenge with Delorme of figuring out what's real.
    Don

  5. #5
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    While I have more DeLorme volumes (some 20 years old), Benchmarks are easier to use. The obvious difference is contour lines v. shaded topography. Sometimes I have difficulty distinguishing roads from contour lines. Due to my colorblindness, the colors that DeLorme uses are too similar. Even minor roads standout on Benchmark's maps.

    I don't make much use of the text parts of either brand. The Canadian Backroads Mapbooks have better descriptions of parks, campgrounds and trails.

  6. #6
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    I have and use both for Nevada and Utah since each provides slightly different information. But if I were forced to chose it would be the Benchmark. All too often I have found the DeLorme road information out of date (such as having a road marked as primitive 4wd when in fact it was smooth and graded), and that's with the 2010 edition. What's even weirder is that I've been using a Delorme PN-40 GPS on my dirt bike for the last year and the road information in some cases is not identical between the GPS unit and the paper atlas, with the GPS information being more accurate. And it is a help to my ancient eyeballs to have the roads marked in a bright contrasty red color on the Benchmark compared to the black lines on the Delorme. (My old Delorme atlases did use red lines for the roads and trails but the new editions are different.)
    Worshipper of Wild Country

  7. #7
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    Well I decided to give the Benchmark California map a try.
    A camp proper is a nomads biding place. He may occupy it for a season or only for a single night, according as the site and its surroundings please or do not please the wanderers whim- Horace Kephart.
    ETAV8R's Build-The Gini
    Operation-Oxcart-AKA-Gini-s-Burden-A-Four-Wheel-Camper-story

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ETAV8R View Post
    Well I decided to give the Benchmark California map a try.
    Good move! I agree with all the above. The Benchmark maps have a nice home in my truck. The Delorme maps are gathering dust on the shelf in my closet.
    Benchmark is an Oregon company. I like that too.
    "Speed is just a matter of Money - How fast do YOU want to go?"-mechanic from Mad Max-
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    108
    Mine are all Benchmark's here... I never actually purchased or attempted to use the other brand, however looking at them side by side in the bookstore I liked the Benchmark ones better.

  10. #10
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    Are the Benchmark contour lines in meters like the DeLorme? I certainly hope not. I kinda wanna know where 10,000 feet is. And so forth.

    You will likely find in the end, that you need to mod your truck as much as the friends you go with, so choose them carefully.
    (AndrewP)


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