Whenever I had the chance to print a map on A3-sized sheets (11.69 x 16.53 inches) I usually just needed two sheets of that size for my whole planned trip, and most of the time it was fine enough to keep them apart and to swap them according to where I am and where I am heading to.

By printing on smaller A4 size sheets though (that's half the above size) any single sheet is rarely enough to hold sufficient information to be useful. Four sheets are necessary to represent the same area printable on two A3-sized ones and keeping to swap between each other and holding them next each other when I need to really feels clumsy and impractical.

So. I'd really love to join those sheets togeter to get a decent map out of them.

What is the proper way to print such a map, as the first step? I guess I should leave some margins so to be able to overlap the sheets.

And, how to actually join those sheets in the best possible way, so that the result is strong and stable and - ideally - gives the feel of a single map rather than a crappy bunch of sheets held somewhat together?

  • 1
    A single larger sheet is not necessarily better in every way. I've bought a bunch of USGS maps that are in a large format, but when I fold them up they are bulky in my pocket, and it's awkward to pull them out and look at a particular area without having to open up the whole sheet.
    – user2169
    Dec 21 '14 at 5:10

Many printer drivers and other software allow you to "tile" a large document or a magnified one on multiple pages. You can usually specify the overlap between pages, which only needs to be enough for you to cut cleanly. 0.1 inch is usually good enough.

Acrobat reader may even have such a option. I know I've done this a few times with my printer, a Lexmark Pro905. That printer is a piece of crap, and I definitely NOT recommend getting one, but the procedure has worked. I don't rememer if the tiling capability was in the printer software or the app. Look around.

Once you have the tiles printed on separate piece of paper, you have to trim off the excess paper from one tile for each overlap. Line them up carefully, then put a small piece of tape at each end of the overlap. Continue until all tiles are taped together, even though loosly. Now put a piece of tape over each seam. First do this on top where you can see what you're doing and can be sure the alignment isn't getting messed up. Then flip the whole thing over and tape the seams on the back. At this point you don't have to be that careful anymore because all the alignments have already been fixed by the tape over the seams on the front side.

No, the whole thing isn't going to feel like a single piece of paper. You will definitely notice the seams being stiffer when you try to fold it. That's the way it is. If you can't live with that, go to your local office supply place with a print shop and have them print whatever you want on large size paper.

  • Thanks. I don't give a thing about folding, of course I can live with that. What I meant with "feel like having a single piece of paper" was "not having something that feels like it's coming apart with the following guts of wind".
    – Dakatine
    Dec 22 '14 at 12:58

Most applications will let you minimise your margins, which reduces waste, then all you do is cut the margin off one page, and then stick that page over the other one, which gives you a solid connection - adhesive tape front and back.


Why are you printing A4?

Join the sheets electronically on the computer then print A3 or even A2. If you do not have an A3 capable printer, its a few cents a page to print them at a commercial outlet or local library. Alternately print a large scale map onto A4 - often you do not need the full detail and use what you see on the larger scale with the detail of the smaller scale maps available if needed.

Printing a second set of maps so the 4 corner overlap of the first set is in the middle of the second set can help, but you still get areas where you have to use two sheets. In this case if you are following a planned route print maps so you have overlapping sheets an no point on the route is overlapped.

Years ago the only way to get maps was to buy paper ones, and invariably the trip you were doing would span the corner of 4 maps. In this case we either lived with handling 4 maps in the field, or used to tape the maps together putting wide tape on the back of the maps. and photocopied the corner section (usually onto A3).

  • I can seldom print A3 and I don't have any A3 printer handy anymore, paid or not. Also, what I actually need is the original detail. I'd rather go with sparse sheets if there isn't a way to hold them together decently, than with an higher scale map but thanks anyways.
    – Dakatine
    Dec 20 '14 at 22:23

A 1/25000 map gives you roughly 5 km by 7,5.

With 4cm overlap between maps, you have 1km overlap, that should be enough.

What I did last time was to scan all the maps for the whole trip, join them in one big image, then cut 1-page-sized images from the map, with clear overlap from one to the next.

Knowing exactly what path I would follow allowed me to adjust the pages to get the overlap in better places.

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