Today, we’ll look at how to scope your map to start your Local Epic. Since this is a blog, and I assume you are looking at this online, I’m also going to assume that you can look at an online map.
If you are using a physical map, the process is still the same — you’ll just be making the measurements with a pencil and ruler.
For our example, I’m going to use the Geographic Center of the Contiguous United States. The traditional coordinates are: Lat 39.50N, Long 98.35W (approximately).
First, I would only use Bing Maps on a desktop computer. For the purpose of this planning, using Bing Maps on your phone is not feasible. (If you are using a mobile device, hold on and I’ll explain on Google Maps next).
So, if using a desktop computer (or any computer with a pointing device), hover the pointing device (e.g. mouse) over your central location. Next, use the right button and click once. It will bring up a menu.
Select “Measure distance” and begin to move your mouse 100 miles away. You’ll have to scale your map appropriately so that you can measure out to 100 miles. Once you are 100 miles away, click the left mouse button. This will give you a line on the map. This is an approximation — you don’t have to be completely accurate. Once you have this line, use a pen or pencil as a rough measuring device.
Now, move your mouse either left or right (we will be drawing a “circle” similar to the picture above. Move to a point (measure with your “ruler” [pen or pencil]) ~ 100 miles in another direction and click the left mouse button.
Your lines should look like this … make your way around the “circle” in whichever direction you like! Once you’ve completed your circle, you can “right click” again and “Save …” your map (or just capture a “Screen Image”). Either way, you’ve completed your first “Map Build.”
Here’s the example from Google Maps. On a desktop computer, the process is very similar to Bing Maps. Right Click (the right mouse button) with the pointer over your starting position. Choose “Measure Distance.” Next, left click anywhere on the map. You can then grab the “little white circle” that just appeared and move that line ~100 miles away from your starting point (any direction).
Now, the next part is a little trickier. Hover over the line, and using your left button, drag that point to a place ~100 miles from your starting point … use the same rough measurement method as mentioned above. For your next point, simply hover over the line from your starting point to your current point, grab the “white spot” and move it to your next place until you complete your circle (as in the above picture). And, taaa daaa! You have your map built! Congratulations!
If you are using a mobile device, you can measure distance in a similar way using the Google Maps app. First, open the google maps app and hold your finger on the location you want as your center point. Next, if you “swipe up” from the bottom, you will see a “Measure distance” option. It will give you a “target scope” on the map at your original location. Move the map (thus moving your target locator) to your first ~100 mile distance. Then simply click “Add point” at the bottom of the screen. Using your “rough measuring device,” simply move in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction around your central point, creating your Map Circle. The best thing to do in this scenario is then to capture the screen image.
I know this seems like a lot of information–and it is. But if you practice a couple of times, you’ll see that you can easily define an area of the map for use in the follow-on steps! Exciting! The next blog entry will be capturing “The Art of the Possible.”