Confessions of a DeLorme geek

While DeLorme has been a technological company, even those of us who’ve never purchased any of their more modern, electronic products couldn’t imagine going out into the back of beyond without that handy book of maps tucked away next to the ice scraper, or stuck in the seatback pouch.

Chris Lander of Orrington checks out DeLorme's The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer during a break on a 2010 bird hunting trip. (John Holyoke photo)

Chris Lander of Orrington checks out DeLorme’s The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer during a break on a 2010 bird hunting trip. (John Holyoke photo)

How iconic is that book? Well, in my circle of friends, it’s up there with one-name superstars like Madonna, Kobe and LeBron. We don’t call the book by its full, tongue-twisting title. We don’t even call it The Atlas, or The Gazetteer.

When we want to check our location, or plan for the next day, we ask a simple question: “Where’s the DeLorme?”

Me? I’ve got one in my car. Always. And I’m pretty sure there are a couple lying around in the house … or the garage … or down in the cellar. Again, I often find myself saying, “Where’s the DeLorme?”

Another question to ponder: What kind of DeLorme do I need?

The answer: Every kind the company makes.

For years, I didn’t realize that I had many options. Then, a few years back, I chatted with DeLorme reps at an outdoors show and learned that they were selling map books with snazzy plastic covers.

As you might imagine, I had to have one. (Should have bought two).

Then, a few days ago, as everyone was sharing thoughts on the sale of the company, a pal of mine told me that he’d received a fully laminated Atlas and Gazetteer for Christmas.

Let me repeat: Fully. Laminated. Not just the cover. Every single page. Sign me up!

Again, I never knew DeLormes like that existed, though I had, on occasion, thought it would be pretty cool if they did. One time, I nearly sent a message to the company to share my great idea. Turns out someone beat me to it. (Darn! That could have been my ticket to free DeLormes for life!)

As responses to my first DeLorme blog poured in, I was pleased to find that I’m not the only Mainer who’s more than a bit of a DeLorme geek.

Me? A geek? Here’s the proof.

For years, I have daydreamed about carefully removing the staples and  taking The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer apart. Then I’d find the largest wall in my house and create a really cool man-cave map of Maine.

I almost started doing that once, but realized that I’d actually need to buy two DeLormes, because each page has another map on the other side. Since I was short on cash that week, I never followed through on the ambitious redecorating effort.

Last week, I began to rethink the project, and decided that before I started dismantling perfectly good map books that I’d turn into wallpaper, I ought to do a little math.

With apologies to Mr. Speilberg hre’s what I learned: “We’re going to need a bigger house.”

Each map in The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer  is 10 inches wide and 14 inches tall, you see. And according to my quick ciphering (Note: I’ve never been much of a cipher-er), my man-cave Map-O-Maine would be more than 9 feet wide and nearly 13 feet tall.


My wife will likely be happy to learn that I’ll have to give up on my home-decorating plan, and to be honest, I was a bit worried that I’d walk into my cave a week later and learn half of my maps on the floor.

In lieu of that grand project, I guess I’ll just have to keep hoarding DeLormes as long as the company keeps producing them.

Heck, if I’m lucky, I might even find one of those fully laminated models.

John Holyoke can be reached at or 990-8214. Follow him on Twitter: @JohnHolyoke

John Holyoke

About John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. Today, he's the Outdoors editor for the BDN, a job that allows him to meet up with Maine outdoors enthusiasts in their natural habitat. The stories he gathers provide fodder for his columns, and this blog.