I’ve always said that having a few old-fashioned paper maps of the area I live in was a “must have”. After all, if the SHTF even in a small way we are likely to be left without power and knowing where you are and what’s around you is critical information.
I’d like to take this one step further and say that everyone should play around with Google’s satellite maps and print out a few different views of the location they are most likely to hole up in should a disaster event occur. I myself have a few printouts that show my entire town, as well as a few that show close up views of my immediate neighborhood. If you’re not already familiar with Google Earth you’ll be amazed to find an interactive tool with actual satellite photos down to amazing detail (zooming in on my house actually reveals my dog sleeping on the back lawn). Simply put, this is similar to a military style high-tech reconnaissance product that is available to anyone with a computer and an internet connection.
I think these close up pictures are extremely valuable as they not only show streets and highways but actual houses, fences, backyards, swimming pools, wooded areas, et cetera… Imagine how useful it could be to know where all the swimming pools (excellent sources of water) are in your vicinity. Or where there may be a small pond that doesn’t show up on a store bought map.
It could also be very useful to know what route is best to take should you have to bug-out in a hurry. By looking at a sat photo you may be able to find a route to Get Out Of Dodge that avoids most streets. With a good four-wheel drive vehicle you could make use of numerous trails and paths that don’t show up on a traditional road map but that Google reveals wonderfully. Likewise if you were on foot you would be able to find cover and places to shelter much more easily.
I would bet most folks have already played around with the tool at least once or twice but I would encourage you to get more familiar with it and to make those printouts while the power is still on rather than wishing you had them after the power is out.