Needing to learn map and compas

Discussion in 'Other Skills' started by MommaJ, Jan 14, 2018.

  1. Yknpdlr

    Yknpdlr Tracker

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    Don't let perceived age or physical ability deter you from joining a SAR team. At 67, I am a member of two of the 26 teams located in NY State, and believe me, there are plenty of older and younger guys (and gals) in lesser shape who have lots of valued jobs to do to support a SAR incident without ever having to go into the field on a wildlands terrain search. I've been teaching land nav to SAR and outdoor guides for more than 25 years and I now happen to teach a course in Land Navigation for NY Homeland Security. Most of the students are from law enforcement agencies and SAR teams. So if you join a SAR team you can take my course (doesn't have to be in NY - take a look at the teams in nysfedsar.org to find one near you. We have teams from NJ as well).
    If you are interested, the NY State 2-day Land Nav course is free (and so is the lunch). Look at the training calendar during the summer months at http://www.dhses.ny.gov/sptc/

    Take a read of this article:
    http://www.adkhighpeaksfoundation.org/adkhpf/navagation.php
    Many have told me it is a good one. Read it and go practice. Mastering land navigation requires practice, and getting temporarily "lost" a few times to help figure things out on your own.

    As for books, Kjellstrom's is an old classic that many people (including me) have learned from, but it is a bit dated. There are dozens of books out there, a confusing number to choose from and some of which with content that will confuse you more than help. I can highly recommend two that most closely follow the way I like to teach. Get one or both.
    The Essential Wilderness Navigator, second edition by David Seidman (Author),‎ Paul Cleveland (Author)
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EKYYM7E?tag=vglnkc6761-20

    and a British publication:
    Ultimate Navigation Manual by Lyle Brotherton (Author)
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/0007424604?tag=vglnkc6761-20
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2018
  2. Flint_2016

    Flint_2016 Guide

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    Good luck on it.I have a major learning curve when it comes to use of compasses with or without maps,orienteering,and basic navigation methods without the use of either.I watched Youtube videos and read up on it,and just got more confused.As learning curves go though the more you do it the better you get.I in general have a learning disability such as when I was learning a new job,mathematics(especially Algebra I & II),taking tests when I was in school(I freaked out when taking math tests i.e Algebra),and often flunked the tests so I had to get a tutor,all the way from high school through college.And I was all through my life,awkward and uncoordinated at things like sports so that's partly how and why I got into hunting,fishing,camping,and the outdoors.Seems anything where some bushcraft skills other than navigation,especially learning the friction fire method.The more I tried,the worse I got,so I gave up.(I did learn the flint and steel method however after a few tries.)But I'll never give up,I just need a guy(or gal) who can teach me the friction fire method.I need to remain open-minded and teachable(and humble LOL).Good luck on your endeavors.Rest assured,when I finally get that first coal and get a fire going,everyone here on the forum will hear about it.Just remember(I tell myself) everyone is good at some things where others will fail at what you're proficient at.When it comes to photography and photographic compositions,I could write an A grade essay,while others in my family never could.I won the underclassmen English award in high school and wrote great papers in college(but still got writer's block LOL).
     
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  3. Flood

    Flood Tracker

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    While I'm personally not a fan of the prepper scene, there's a great introduction to navigation on this site:

    https://theprepared.com/survival-skills/guides/learn-compass-map/

    Clear and concise, every step with an additional short (!) video. Read and watch this twice, then go out in a well-known area and practice with map and compass.

    The above site works with a compass without declination adjustment, but does a good job of explaining the problem. Here's another, longer video series based on an adjustable compass:



    I use the Suunto M3 recommended by the Wilderness Navigation guys..
     
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  4. Yknpdlr

    Yknpdlr Tracker

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    Method #1:The advantage of the first method shown above is there is no declination adjustment necessary on the compass or with +/- math. You have already taken care of declination when you aligned the map to the earth. The disadvantage is you have to align the compass to the earth, every time you make an azimuth/bearing measurement. It can be difficult to do unless you have a nice flat dry surface to completely unfold the map on. Also difficult to do when in a rocking canoe or other boat if it is yawing in heading.

    Method #2 Another method makes use of the UTM grid lines already drawn on most recently printed topo maps. In most cases those vertical grid lines will be within 3 degrees of true north. There are ten UTM zones across the lower 48 states. Only when you get near the edge of a zone is there a couple of degrees of difference between grid north and true north. In the center of a grid zone, the grid lines do exactly align with true north.
    So for most purposes you can use the orienting lines in the rotating dial to align them parallel to the grid lines to effectively read an azimuth relative to true north directly on the compass when placed on the map. No need to spread the map completely out on a flat surface or worry about being on a shifting boat. Keep the map in a plastic cse with your area of interest showing. You can even do this on a metal surface (such as car hood) because with this method the rule is "when compass touches map, ignore the magnetic needle". But now, when you lift the compass off the map to actually walk the compass heading (using the magnetic needle), now you must correctly apply the declination correction to the heading in the compass dial. This process is actually a lot easier than it sounds, once you do it a few times. It is critical to learn and know what the declination diagram is telling you and you won't go wrong. You need the same knowledge if you align the map to the earth in the first method. Understand the declination diagram and you will have no need for silly confusing word games telling you whether to add or subtract.

    Method #3: draw magnetic north lines directly on your topo map. Use a grade-school type protractor and a long straight edge to copy the declination diagram across teh entire map (or just the area of interest) Now, when you place the compass on the map with edge from Points A to B, align the orienting lines by turning the dial to become parallel to the magnetic lines you have drawn on the map (ignore the magnetic needle at this step just like in Method #2). Lift the compass from the map and now you have the exact magnetic azimuth and bearing on the compass without need for any further adjustment. Hold the compass properly, turn your body to box the needle in the shed, and begin walking on course. You never need to do any math if you have drawn the declination angle lines on the map.

    These methods may sound complex, but (especially with the third method) complex math errors are more difficult to make.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018 at 7:30 AM
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  5. MommaJ

    MommaJ Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    Great explanation video. I just watched video 1 and am going to continue the series.
     
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  6. Saddleburr

    Saddleburr Supporter Supporter

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    You all motivated me to gain proficiency in navigation. Cost of entry: Bjorn Kjellstrom book $8.99, Suunto A10 $18.06. Very cheap tuition! THANKS!
     
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  7. Yknpdlr

    Yknpdlr Tracker

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    The Suunto A10 is a fine quality compass and will get you to anyplace a more expensive compass will. However, the A10 does not have a declination adjustment, so you are stuck with +/- declination math and rotating the bezel to correct when you move the compass from map measurement to field measurement and vice versa. Not at all a big deal if you understand how the declination diagram works. One way around this problem is to draw the magnetic field declination lines on your map, as I described in Method #3 above. With this you make your azimuth/bearing angle measurements on the map relative to magnetic north and you can further disregard declination and true north. Method #1 above will work just as well too, with the disadvantage of always having to align the map to earth for every measurement.
     
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