Top positive review
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Comprehensize Coverage of the South-East & London in 'Yellow Pages-sized' book
on 29 August 2006
I live in Surrey and spend a lot of my time criss-crossing the south-east, so an 'all in one' map of this region down to street-level seemed like a godsend. I don't have GPS in my car and I liked the idea of a 'hardcopy' atlas.
First impressions - this book is big and heavy ! It's standard A4 in size, just under 2.2kg in weight and 4.3cm deep. Imagine a mid-sized Yellow Pages and you get the idea in terms of bulk.
I can just about squeeze it in my car door pocket but I don't fancy carrying it around for too many long walks !!!
On to the content. It covers an impressive area of the South East - including London, most of the home counties and goes as far out as Southampton (SW), Oxford (NW), Ipswich (NE) and of course all of Kent (SE).
At the start of the atlas there is a 2 page 'routeplanner' which doubles as a key to map pages. Actually the fact that this 'routeplanner' is only 2 pages is my major gripe about this atlas and hence giving it a 4 star-rating rather than 5 (more on this later).
After the routeplanner and key to map symbols there are 132 pages of 'enlarged map pages', mostly town and city centres at 6.3 inches to 1 mile. These are excellent and cover most of the major centres in the South East. The main section of the atlas is 775 pages at 2.5 inches to the mile - which is very readable. The maps themselves are very clear and well annotated, with useful information such as one-way streets, Parking, Places of interest and AA inspected hotels.
The mapping section is completed by a 1-page 'M25 orbital motorway' and 'London Transport connections' map, both of which are useful.
The index is very comprehensive and has separate listings for Towns & Villages, streets and featured places.
Back to my major gripe regarding this atlas - the routeplanner (a map showing the area covered by the atlas/mapping) is only 2 pages. This means there is a major gap between the 'big picture' routeplanner and the street-level maps. If only the AA supplemented the 2-page routeplanner map with say 8-12 pages of mid-scale mapping covering the SE region, listing more detail (and train lines for example which are not on the 2-pager). Without this 'mid-scale map' routeplanning is more difficult that it should be. For this reason in everyday practical terms I have to supplement this guide with my general UK Atlas for routeplanning in the South East, which is a real pity.
So all in all, a big and heavy atlas and excellent value considering the scope of the mapping. Put a more comprehensive 'routeplanner' in the next version (rather than the 2-pager) and you'll have a 5-star 'all in one' product.