Jonathan and Kirti Walpole's 950 km canoe journey across Northwest Territories and Nunavut in July and August of 2014

Maps, maps, maps ...

A journey like this requires a lot of maps! We have a complete set of 1:50,000 scale topographic maps for the route. There are 39 of them in all. We also have a set of 1:250,000 scale topographic maps for an overview and to provide some redundancy in case we lose some of the other maps. There are 6 of these, and they will be stored separately from the detailed maps. So, 45 maps at $12 each, plus shipping, cost us well over $550. Then the hard work began, trimming whitespace boundaries and redundant key information, and transferring important navigational information from the trimmed areas to the maps themselves. That task alone took a few days! The magnetic declination and annual change data for these maps is just crazy. The problem is that we are very close to the magnetic north pole, so magnetic compasses behave erratically and the declination varies drastically from one side of the map to the other, and is changing by almost a degree per year in some places, based on a 35 year old survey! Better take a GPS along too!

On the water we will carry just the maps we need for the day in a waterproof chart case on the spray deck. The other maps will be stored all together (in two separate batches) in chart cases inside the canoe, inside our big dry bags. For added protection, each paper map is also treated, on both sides, with Mapseal waterproofing agent. Doing the waterproofing is another full day of work, and we ended up with a house full of drying maps.

Finally, with all the maps prepared and waterproofed its time to look at the whole route again in more detail. Unfortunately, our house is only big enough to lay out the maps for half the route at a time. Here is a picture of the maps for the second half of the trip. After carefully measuring the river miles, we've had to update the distance for the whole journey to 950 km. The mileage is split roughly 50%-50% between rivers and lakes, so this could take a while, especially if its windy (which I hear it is most of the time). I think we better pack an extra week of food!

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