Is there such a thing as a little hand-held tool that rolls along a map to count miles?

A reader asked..

I think you set the number of per inch according to information on the and physically roll the counter from one point to a destination, and the will tell you the distance. Or did I dream it?

(Scroll down to read responses).

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    • Reapor-ted!
    • March 14, 2011

    it exists. usually found in auto stores like autozone or pep boys. I think Sharper Image also had it too. but yes they do exist. sorry I can’t point yo uin the right direction.

    • katydid
    • March 14, 2011

    Yes, but I call it a map thingy-ma-bob.

    • Trevor
    • March 14, 2011

    No you didn’t dream it – they do exist and I’ve owned a couple of them in the past, no idea what happened to them but they are pen-like so probably went to the same place as all the missing pens go.

    The cheap ones are plastic and have a rotating wheel that you trace along the route on the map this turns a mechanism inside the device and it gives you a reading like a thermometer – i.e. you read the top of indicator line against a fixed scale on the device.

    The better ones are metal and are circular (approx 2 inch diameter). Same principle in that you trace out the route but a hand rotates on the dial (just like a clock hand) and there are several scales on the dial.

    The best ones are digital – again, same principal by tracing the route but the distance is displayed digitally and can be set to whatever scale the map is.

    Buy them from outdoor shops.

    I don’t miss the two that I lost and wouldn’t buy another one. I find it’s much easier and more accurate to use the edge of a piece of paper. Place one corner of the paper at your start point and rotate the paper so that the edge follows the route you want to measure. Other advantages of using the paper method is that it gives you a permanent record, you can mark waypoints etc on the paper and it can be measured against the scale printed on the map.

    • marc k
    • March 14, 2011

    yes it is called an odometer. I prefer to use a piece of thread or a pice of paper along the desired route. You end up with a piece of thread the length of the route.

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