Posted by: travelrat | July 11, 2012

Pop Up Maps

Although it was a long time ago, I still remember the words of Sergeant Haxby, one of our instructors in RAF Basic Training.

‘There are two ways of folding a map’ he would say ‘The Air Force way and the wrong way!’

There was a lot of wisdom in Sergeant Haxby’s method; in fact, I still use it today. It’s a bit too complicated to explain concisely here, but it ensures that you never have to unfold the map completely. You just need to unfold along a maximum of two creases, and you can be at the part of map you require. And, the folded map, with the title in full view, will fit neatly into the leg pocket of your combat trousers or flying suit.

Of course ‘Hacks’ may have been wrong to claim it was ‘the Air Force way’; over the years, I’ve seen it used by the Army, the Scouts and the Mountainwalking Leader Training Board, to name but a few.

But, there is now a third way of folding a map, and I wonder why nobody thought of it before. It’s called a ‘popout map’, which is really the best way to describe it. It comes in a little booklet, and, when you open it, it really does pop out, due to an ingenious method of folding it.

I was able to ‘test drive’ a copy on a recent visit to Bruges. The two maps were clear and uncluttered, and I was easily able to find my way to the boat station, and track the route of our canal cruise. The main advantage, of course, was that I didn’t have to stand on a draughty street corner trying in vain to fix my position on a completely unfolded map fluttering wildly in the breeze … anything which avoids that situation has my vote.

It’s a convenient size, too … larger than a playing card, but smaller than a postcard is the best way I can describe it.

You can find out more about these maps at; they’re distributed by Footprint Travel Guides (


  1. I love Bruges ever since I have seen the movie with Colin Farrel… one of the most beautiful cities in Europe!

  2. I love pop out maps! They’re discreet and absolutely amazing.

  3. What a great idea. I didn’t know such things existed. No excuses for getting lost now!

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