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Navigation Skills


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Boxing At 60 Degrees

Boxing An Object at 60º

 

This technique is based on the "Equilateral Triangle." That is a triangle in which all three sides are equal. All three internal angles are congruent to each other and are each sixty degrees. This also makes the length of each size the same, which can come in handy when pacing, and you need to box an object.


Boxing An Object

Boxing An Object

 

There will be times when you are navigating when you'll come to an obstacle that you either don't want to proceed through, such as a swamp or pond, or a physical feature you want to go around, such as a cliff.  But if you just walk around it, how do you stay on your designated course?


Pacing for Navigation

Pacing for Distance

 

When using a compass, it is often necessary to go a certain distance in a given direction, and you would like to have a general idea of how far you have travelled.  A way to measure distance is pace counting.  It takes two steps to make a pace. 


Baselines, Handrails, & Off-Shooting

Baselines, Handrails, & Off-Shooting

 

No matter how good you become with a compass, when you start navigating through swamps, thick woods, or up and down rough terrain, you are bound to lose accuracy.  Therefore, when studying a map, look for a long physical line that can easily be identified, such as a river, railroad tracks, power lines, a highway, trail, etc.


Staying Straight

Staying Straight - Avoiding Lateral Drift

 

When traveling, using a compass, I always recommend making short runs, from one known point to another, if at all possible.  When you site your compass on a known object, it is easier to accurately travel to that point.  It is more accurate than trying to travel in a straight line with a known bearing, with nothing to site on.


Pratice ExerciesPractice Exercises for Compass Accuracy


Using a compass to navigate seems pretty straight forward. However, being able to stay on a straight line, without lateral drift, takes practice. The more you practice the more accurate you will become.


The CompassThe Compass - Know Your Choices


A compass is the basic tool of navigation.  They come in all shapes and sizes and there are many types to choose from. So let's take a look at the various configurations so you can better select the one that is best for you.   I would recommend that the one you choose be a liquid filled compass, which slows the swinging of the needle, called damping, and makes the needle stop faster.


Orienting A Map With a ComapssOrienting a Map with a Compass


This is a short video that shows how to orient a map with a compass and briefly discusses magnetic declination.


Contour LinesUnderstanding Contour Lines

 

This is a short video explaining contour lines on a map. It is meant for those who have had a problem comprehending exactly what they show and how they actually depict the topography. Hopefully it does what it was meant to do.


Magnetic Declination Magnetic Declination Demystified

 

This video explains Magnetic Declination and how it relates to the use of a map and compass.


Folding A MapHow To Fold A Map

 

During our three day Map & Compass course, we always teach how to fold a map. However, when we give shortened classes, we don't always have time to show our students. We often receive emails or questions on facebook about providing a tutorial on How To Fold A Map.