Excite Travel
Travel Home2TorialsFlightsCarsCruisesHotels
Learn2 Read a U.S. Road Map (continued)
Step 1: Use the grid

Before you go anywhere, you need to locate your destination and the point where you'll begin. To do this, use the map grid. The grid is indicated by a series of numbers (starting with "1") listed across the borders of two opposing sides of the map, and a series of letters (starting with "A") listed across the other two sides. Vertical and horizontal lines usually run between like numbers and letters across the map.

To use the grid, first consult the grid index, which is a list of streets (for local maps) or towns and cities (for state and national maps) with their corresponding grid position. For local maps, the index should be easy to find (check the map's back side if you don't see it). In a road atlas, a state index is usually printed in a box on the state's page, but if it's not, you should find a national index organized by state in the front or back of the atlas.

Once you've found the street, town, or city, note the grid location next to the name (for example, "Harrison Ave.--E-5" or, "Peterborough--S-12"). Find the corresponding letter and number on the map borders and trace the grid lines inward until they meet on the map. Within the square where they connect is the street, town, or city you're seeking.

Once you've found your location and destination, mark them on the map clearly so they'll be easy to spot later on. Now it's time to figure out how to get from here to there.

 Previous Step

 Go to Step 2 of 5

 Click here to email this page to a friend  

Step 1: Use the grid
Step 2: Consult the key
Step 3: Navigate the local roads
Step 4: Hit the highways
Step 5: Understand the symbols and colors


Eat Healthfully on an Airplane
Protect Photographic Film from Airport X-Ray Machines
Travel By Air With Your Pet
Become a Travel Agent
 More Learnlets...