Poster Map Folio

I’ve acquired a large number of folded poster maps over time. Most of them I’ve earned through organized play events and others I’ve purchased from various sources. After a while my collection was getting quite haphazard – most of them being stored in a box with no particular means of organization.

Eventually, I decided to change that. I collected every map I could find and piled them into one stack and then tackled how to organize them. What I did worked out pretty great so I thought I’d share it.

What you need:

  • 3-Ring Binder
  • Plastic sheet protectors
  • Paper
  • Something to print/write/label with (I used my computer & printer)
  • Optional: Digital Camera (I used my tablet)

Using my camera I snapped my own quick pictures of each side of all my poster maps. You could also use Sly Flourish’ awesome Poster Map Visual Index. Using the pictures is entirely optional (especially if you have no means to print them with) so you can skip this – but I highly recommend it for the next part.

Uploading all the pictures to my computer, I dropped the pictures into a word document. I made one page per physical map – if the map was double-sided or had multiple sections I made sure all relevant snapshots were on the same single page. I typed in quick captions to the pictures like “Large Tavern w/ Stables” or “Gladiatorial Arena”. I call these the “cover sheets” for the poster map folio.

Printing those out, I matched up the pages to their maps. Sliding the cover sheet into a plastic sheet protector I added the matching map behind it. That went into the binder. Once I finished all the maps, I had a binder full of quick reference images I can flip through at any time and pick out whatever map I need at any given moment.

Skipping the Pictures?
Well, if you can’t or don’t want to use a printer then you can just slid your maps into the plastic sleeves. I recommend adding labels though, as a folded map hides a lot of detail that you think you’ll remember. Trust me, you won’t. You’ll forget about those opposite side maps after a while. I rediscovered the flip sides of a lot of maps I hadn’t looked at in a long while. Just write out a quick description of each side of the map and add it to the sleeve with each map. At the very least add keywords of the scene that will jog your memory when you’re flipping through your binder looking for something specific.

I added a nice title to the binder’s front cover. Here’s the finished product:

If you like the cover and are considering making your own binder, I shared a pdf of the cover if you want to use it: Poster Map Folio PDF

10 thoughts on “Poster Map Folio

  1. Sweet idea! I did something similar, but kept it on my computer. I took Sly’s images and took a bunch of my own (for all the organized play maps I own) and even ones for the tiles. I renamed each file so the file name matches the product. Then I place them in a folder on my computer and set it to show the largest thumbnails possible. Now I can see the maps easily and double-click to see the large version if necessary. I then go to the appropriate book or other source and pull that map. It also means I can keep my maps with their original source rather than needing a new place for all my maps. You can download my image galleries from here.

  2. This is fantastic. I only wish I had enough of these nice maps to build a collection like this. I’m working on acquiring a few more through certain D&D products (map packs, Monster Vaults, etc). My problem is that adventures tend to come with one or more very nice maps, but I don’t actually care about the adventure — just the map. I don’t want to buy the whole adventure but I can’t get the maps separately for a reasonable price. It’s maddening.

    • If there’s a store near you that does organized play events for WotC, you might be able to get maps by volunteering to run events like Encounters, Lair Assault, or Game Days. My FLGS reward the DMs by letting them keep the materials afterwards – which is where I got the majority of my poster maps.

      • It’s too bad WoTC won’t sell the encounters adventures or Lair Assault to regular folks that can’t make it Wednesday nights. Or sell the maps separately. These encounter maps are way better than laying out dungeon tiles. I’d like to see those printed and sold separately. I really like the dungeon tiles versatility, but they are a hassle to find & lay out for an encounter. I need to get a sheet of plexi to lay over mine.

  3. Great idea. I went ahead and did this straight away with one adjustment: 1 map printed in each sheet. Each map has its own sleeve and you put one printout on each side. They are much larger so less, if any, description is necessary. And you don’t need to muck about with word documents as most printing interfaces will size the prints for you.

    Excellent idea. Will be incredibly helpful when games go in unexpected directions.

    • I think you misunderstand me, I do only have *one* map per sleeve – the reason why there’s two pictures per printout is because I’m showing *both* sides of one map.
      Glad to here you like the idea and used it!

  4. Aha…I think you misunderstand me!! *laugh* I put one printout on each side of the clear sleeve. So each map has a full sized 8.5″x11″ printout…one on each side of the clear sleeve. As of right now, from the photo you posted, the back side of each sleeve is just a chunk of the map as revealed by however it is folded. I think I made more sense.

    One other adjustment I think I am going to add is to keep a computer folder of maps with names/codes on them. That way, if I am in a serious rush, I can scan through my computer folder, identify the map I want and then go straight to the sleeve/page in the folder. Just another option for searching.

  5. Wow–that’s a fantastic idea! I often just can’t be bothered to use the maps I own because I can’t remember which one had the little detail I wanted. A great remedy!

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