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When I'm sightseeing I usually like to get a printed map of the city. It is often more useful than a digital map since I usually don't have an Internet connection abroad, besides occasional Wi-Fi, and you can write on it.

The problem is that if I fold the map in the usual way I have to unfold completely to see the area of interest and fold it again, which is not always easy if the map is big. This process is inefficient and time consuming (and sometimes a little bit annoying), just the opposite of what I would want while sightseeing.

I was wondering if there were a better way to fold and unfold maps (namely fast, easy and which doesn't destroy the map).

  • 1
    How big is the map? – fredley Jan 13 '16 at 15:08
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    What if you print your map sectioned? That way you'll only have to take out the sheet of the area you're in – Just Do It Jan 13 '16 at 15:16
  • I usually just take the printed maps from information offices, so the size depends on the city. I guess I could just cut the sections, but sometimes a city have several interesting areas and it could be uncomfortable if there is a lot of them. For smaller cities it would be a perfect solution, though. – Javier Jan 13 '16 at 17:06
  • You can visualize and tinker the Miura fold here. Click Examples > Tessellations > Miura-Ori or Examples > Simple Folds > Map Fold – user22124 Sep 13 '17 at 8:28
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I like to fold a map in half and then maybe in half again (in the same direction) until the general area I am interested in is available on the front and back side of that strip. Then I'll fold that strip in the other direction accordion-style so I can flip through the folded sections like a book.

Map accordion-folded
Photo by Bill Hanscom, licensed by Creative Commons

As I travel east or west, I simply turn the pages. If I travel north, I can simply flip the book over and continue on the other side of the book. If I travel to another section of the map entirely, it's simple enough to refold the original strip to the correct area and continue in the same manner. I can even stuff that pamphlet in my back pocket leaving it open to the right page for quick reference.

This works great for those theme park maps they give you at most area attractions.

  • Thank you! That's much better than the standard way in which maps come folded. I'll definitely try it. I've added another answer myself but I won't give me the accepted answer. I'll wait a little to see if there is more answers. Otherwise this answer will be accepted :) – Javier Jan 13 '16 at 17:01
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After some research, I have found another great way to fold a map, called the Miura fold.

The Miura fold comprises just two steps. In the first one, you fold the map in 5 parts, like a long accordion. Now you fold again in 7 parts like an accordion, but slightly turned. An image might help:

Miura fold Source of the image

Folding it in this way may seem strange, but now you can unfold it with just one movement, pulling from opposite corners. Furthermore, you can fold it again in the same way, just doing the opposite movement (an animation is shown in both links).

Extra: The Miura fold is named after a Japanese astrophysicist, who designed this fold to use in the folding of solar panels in satellites.

  • A video of this fold would be phenomenal. – Dan Henderson Feb 3 '16 at 17:54
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    @DanHenderson, you can visualize and tinker the Miura fold here. Click Examples > Tessellations > Miura-Ori or Examples > Simple Folds > Map Fold – user22124 Sep 13 '17 at 8:28
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    @uwnojpjm wow, that is an excellent animation, thanks for sharing that web. – Javier Sep 23 '17 at 12:05

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