Trucker’s Choice: Atlas or GPS?

Trucker’s Choice: Atlas or GPS?

Let’s face it, we can all use a little help finding our way sometimes. This is especially true for truck drivers, who spend countless hours on the roads of America delivering goods and freight every day. Maps come in all shapes and sizes. Fortunately, you have multiple options to choose how you make it to your destinations.

Veteran truckers like to stick with the trusty atlas as it allows them to plan out their routes just the way they want them. But more and more, people are switching to the use of GPS systems due to the convenience and ease of their use.

​GPS and atlas are used in different ways, but they have the same goal; to get you where you’re going.

GPS devices allow an into-the-future route prediction that an atlas map just cannot provide. Below you have pros to both systems, nevertheless, having both as a backup is never a bad idea!


GPS: Embrace the future

  1. You can mount a GPS device to a dashboard and keep both hands on the wheel. The devices, essentially, are hands-free. ” Use a GPS for rest stops, Walmart’s, truck stops, and traffic updates. Plus an up-to-date truck stop guide. And Google Earth is good for finding  the right entry gate or the 90 and highway access for staying out of residential, etc.”-Michael W., Ohio Trucker
  2. Real time updates on traffic, routes, construction zones, detours, and timing.​​ “GPS with Google earth verification.”-Richard Z., NYC Trucker
  3. Devices can be put on a speak or silent option, meaning, if you simply want to hear where to go instead of constantly fidgeting with the device, just listen. This makes driving for long periods of time easier when you’re tired, hungry, or in a rush.
  4. They work online and offline so there is no need to be afraid of driving into a dead zone and being stuck.
  5. There are different options for the map type: digital option gives a very basic map like view of route. A satellite view gives you a much more in depth view of your area and future drive. “Mobile Google GPS is updated, all I have to do is anticipate for a sign that is truck accessible because mobile GPS is design for a car but not for a semi; good thing about it has a real-time traffic info.” -Mark L., Alabama Trucker
  6. There are different types to suit all types of technology savvy individuals.  “I use the phone GPS especially the satellite view to scope out where I’ll be headed and how tight is it before i even take the load I also used it to get a rough estimate of time and then I compare that to the route from Garmin and see if it’s actually taking the same road etc., and then I also look on the atlas that is laminated as a backup” -William B., Colorado Trucker


Atlas: Chart your own path

  1. Can be reliable through tunnels, dead zones, and wherever else your truck route may take you. “Use atlas to get a real solid route ” -Michael W., Ohio Trucker
  2. They have larger pages to showcase the landscape which can be appealing when exhaustion kicks in. “Have a map  to get closer to receives.”-Eric B., Indiana Trucker
  3. The maps have specific and detailed truck routes ensuring a trucks way through safety. “Simply because a map allows for stops that can be made and plans figured about routes when in the dark without electronics.”-Ramar P., Illinois Trucker
  4. Will never malfunction. “Because GPS isn’t 100% correct.”-Wesley G., Maine Trucker


Truckers, safety is always the highest priority and then efficiency, so choose based on your needs and limitations on the road.