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Frankfurt City MapTitle: Lonely Planet Frankfurt City Map
Copyright: © 2002
Publisher: Lonely Planet
ISBN: 1-74059-016-3

Lonely Planet's Frankfurt City Map valuable pocket guide to the city

Relevance: Any reporter or correspondent will appreciate this laminated pocket folding map from Lonely Planet. The ten-panel, full-color map accordion folds neatly into a jacket pocket or a large purse. Besides the city's famous Schnellbahnplan (literally "fast rail map"), the map contains four road/terrain maps: a small Around Frankfurt (scale 1:163,000), a great Central Frankfurt (scale: 1:7,500); a very useful Greater Frankfurt (scale 1:31,000) and a map of the Frankfurt Messe (the city's huge meeting and conference center) with a scale of 1:17,000. The Frankfurt City Map also a useful map index and a small walking tour guide.

Review: Frankfurt is a leading airport hub of Europe and place where dozens of important trade shows are held every year. The super large Frankfurt Book Fair, held annually in October, is just one show of specific interest to reporters and writers. We put Lonely Planet's Frankfurt City Map to the test during the show.

The proof of every map, of course, is whether its owner can successfully navigate the particular geography covered -- and how efficiently can one get from one place to another using the map in question. In both aspects, the Frankfurt City Map meets these goals admirably. The full-color map shows key sites, one-way streets (for those brave enough to drive in Frankfurt's busy streets) and where to park.

The maps also show routes and exits for the city's extensive U-bahn (the subway system that mostly runs underground) and the even more extensive S-bahn (the commuter rail system that mostly runs above ground). All maps in the fold-out are correctly oriented with North represented at the top of the particular page.

Many important buildings and landmarks are clearly illustrated in the central Frankfurt, greater Frankfurt and the Frankfurt Messe (the city's huge fairground -- and the site of the famous Frankfurt Book Fair) maps. Nicely for reporters, police stations, post offices, and consulates are also shown on the maps. Helpfully, a small map index covering all the streets shown is also included. The map index is very useful for locating specific street addresses and generally, navigating one's way through this convoluted and organically-laid out city.

Not all streets are covered, though. And most heavy-duty travelers such as reporters lament the fact that so-called tourist maps leave out many smaller street, often making it difficult to navigate on the run. Although Lonely Planet's Frankfurt City Map does its best to minimize these omissions, the nature of map making dictates that some detail be left out. To its credit, however, the map does mark the "missing" streets, at least giving travelers an important clue about one's location and orientation.

The Frankfurt City Map also features a full-color Schnellbahnplan (literally "fast rail map"), vital to all travelers in this town. The advantage of color on the Schnellbahnplan is that it's much easier to track where each rail line starts, stops and ends. The Frankfurt metro system is quite complex and many of its lines runs through the central part of the town. Without the color-coded rail lines it would be much harder for the eye to track the course of the individual rail lines. The Schnellbahnplan also shows several regional rail lines in case your story takes you to the outskirts of the city.

The map also contains a tiny German-English travel glossary that translates such German words as Banhof (train station); Fussgängerzone (pedestrian zone), Krankenhaus (hospital); and Strassenbahn (a tram or trolley bus). Reporters and photographers will be disappointed to find words such as "electronics store", "film" or "batteries" left off the short list, but space is extremely limited on the ten map panels. There's always LP's German Phrasebook if a more extensive list of German words (and their English equivalents) is desired.

Essential information such as telephone numbers of the police, fire department/fire brigade and ambulance are included, as are the numbers for local, and international directory assistance and a taxi service. The Web site for the city's tourist bureau (www.frankfurt.de), its phone number and the local Infoline number (for event information) is also noted on the map.

Overall: We enjoyed the Frankfurt City Map and found it very useful. Although it could be smaller -- the map measures approximately 4" by 9.5" (10 cm by 24 cm) -- we found it easily slipped into an inside jacket pocket, although it's too tall for the back pocket of a pair of jeans. Color adds a huge amount of information to this map and we note that Lonely Planet has made the best use of color in this map.

We are very impressed by the quick accordion folds on the map as well as the lamination. Both features make it easy to pull out the map quickly, check your bearings and tuck it away in a few moments. Unlike other city maps we've seen, LP's Frankfurt City Map contains enough detail to be truly useful but not deluge its owner with too much data, which can be both confusing and dangerous in an emergency situation.

Ideal for street walking, the Frankfurt City Map can be supplemented by a full (read: larger and more traditional map) of the city if your stay in the city is likely to be longer than a few days -- or you plan to travel far off the beaten path in this interesting city. Highly recommended.

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