I usually print out a bunch of letter size paper maps on my home printer and stuff them in a ziplock bag. However, for longer trips I really like having the commercial larger format maps when they are available.
Anyone ever tried printing a larger map at Kinko's or another printer around? Seems like they should be able to handle it and I'm sure that's what the person who answers the phone will tell me, but I'd like to know if this is really worthwhile and what I can expect. I don't need this to be a huge project, but I'm willing to spend some money on it. Basically I want to take a file on a USB to the print shop and end up with a large format map on good paper.
I've done it at the UPS Store. I got 11x17, but I think they could do larger. They had a couple of paper options, one of which was sturdier and somewhat water resistant. It worked fine, but 11x17 is only modestly less hassle than 8.5x11, so next time I think I'd either try for something larger or stick with home-printed 8.5x11s.
But at a job I worked at few years ago we bought a plotter. Probably a Cannon brand. We could feed it 3' roll of paper or individual 11" x 17" sheets. I had lots of annotated maps saved as PDF files and printed them easily. Results seemed much more pleasant than home printing. I'm sure nicer paper would make even better results.
Based on this experience I'd imagine you could easily purchase similar results at Kinko's, UPS or your favorite local print shop.
I have used FedEx/Kinkos to print color maps numerous times. I've even had they print on water proof paper. Being able to print on Tablet sized (11x17) paper is great. I uploaded my map PDF to the FedEx Office website and choose the desired print options and the local office closest to my house for pick up
I find that FedEx/Kinkos to be the least hassle way for me to print in color. My color printing needs are light enough that every time I printed I was having to perform the ink jet nozzle cleaning ritual.
So I got rid of all my color ink jet printers and now just have a basic laser printer at home.
I've also given up on home color printers and just print them at FedEx/Kinko's from a flash drive. The quality is far better than I got printing at home.
If it's a place I anticipate going to more than once, I'll print them on waterproof paper that I supply. If not, I'll just print on plain paper. The print quality on plain paper turns out better than on waterproof, but of course the waterproof ones are far more durable and the quality is still good.
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