Basic map reading is a skill that all walkers should be have and tool that make it easier for the novice are valuable.
Map romers are one such tool and one you should consider investing in especially if you are new to map and compass navigation.
A map romer is a device to help you increase the accuracy of identifying grid references on a map. They are normally produced from clear plastic and are marked up with the common scales and grid patterns used in mapping. In the UK these scales are commonly 1:50,000, 1:25,000 (both used by OS maps) and 1:40,000 (used by Harvey maps).
Using a romer is simple and really makes a difference to your accuracy when plotting way points however not all map romers are created equal. Some versions only allow you to create 6-figure references while others allow you to create more accurate 8-figure references so you have to be careful when opting for one to add to your personal navigation equipment.
I own two map romers that I use regularly when planning routes and they are ones that I often recommend to fellow walkers.
The Map Romer Scale Grid Reference Tool –
I have been using this romer for the past few years to help teach my kids how to map read.
The romer takes the form of a rounded clear plastic square card with a very sharp and accurate grid printed on to it in both 1:50,000 and 1:25,000 scales. The outer edges handily feature distance rules to allow you measure your route.
This romer allows you to create accurate 6-figure references on 1:50000 scale maps and 8-figure references on 1:25000 scale maps (OS Maps) and it has proofed to be a great tool in teaching people how to read maps making it ideal for the beginner.
Romer – Harvey Maps
Harvey Maps have been creating accurate mapping for walkers from their Doune HQ for nearly 40 years. Their waterproof and durable maps are a favourite for those walkers taking on the challenge of bagging the Munroes.
The romer that Harvey Maps supply is approximately credit card sized and is made from a clear and flexible plastic. The markings are clear and accurate and features the following scales 1:25,000, 1:30,000, 1:40,000, 1:50,000.
Unlike the previous romer this one utilises the corners of the card instead of providing a grid pattern. This layout allows the romer to feature four scales rather than two so it makes it more flexible however it can be confusing for the novice at first so is more suited to the more seasoned map user.