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Footpaths to Freeways: The Evolution of Michigan Road Maps

This exhibit traces how roads have been depicted on Michigan maps from the time it was a territory to the present. In addition to maps, it includes photographs, unique short-lived route guides and artifacts. Maps evolved in step with the road system and showed advances such as named roads which were in time replaced with numbered state and federal routes. Publishers include map giants Rand McNally and Gousha who also supplied oil companies with their ubiquitous freely distributed roadmaps.

Part 7: Today

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Michigan Official Highway Maps, published by the Michigan Department of Transportation

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Michigan Official Highway Maps, published by the Michigan Department of Transportation

Today, the Official Michigan Highway Map issued by the Michigan Department of Transportation is one of the last free maps of the state.

Triptiks from the American Automobile Association (AAA)

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Triptiks from the American Automobile Association (AAA)

Older forms of road maps continue, however, such as the strip maps offered by automobile associations, such as The American Automobile Association trip-tiks. Point-to-point directions are seen anew on Internet map sites such as maps.google.com, www.mapquest.com and the GPS navigation devices in the automobiles themselves.

Map Michigan. Michigan Center for Geographic Information.

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Map Michigan. Michigan Center for Geographic Information

Internet–based interactive maps can incorporate road updates as needed.

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