Map, Compass & GPS

Map, Compass & GPS
Wild flowers along Fall Creek on the way to the Green Lakes - Oregon

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Walking A Line Of Bearing

A short discussion of plotting a line of bearing on a map, determining the direction to a destination and then walking a line of bearing.

Before technology entered the backcountry world of the outdoors, the primary and proven tools of navigation were a map and compass.  Compass navigation remains an important component of the “Ten Essentials” for wilderness travel.  Knowledge of how to use map and compass takes education and practice.  Further, such knowledge will enhance GPS navigation as many concepts are interchangeable.
This article will discuss one of the basic uses of a compass, how to adjust the compass to walk a specific direction to get to a destination; to get from point A to point B.
Let’s start with a review of the key features and parts of a compass; see Figure 1 below.  This figure is an example of a standard baseplate compass found in most outdoor stores.  I recommend the backcountry navigator use a declination adjustable compass such as the Brunton 8010G or the Silva Ranger 515CL.

Figure 1
  • The red magnetic needle rotates freely and points to magnetic north.  Remember that metal objects such as belt buckles, watchbands, rifle barrels and car bodies will deflect the needle.  Battery powered electronics will cause the needle to deflect too.
  • The “direction of travel arrow” points in the direction of intended travel.  Always point the direction of travel arrow away from you; perpendicular to your body.
To read the complete post go here.

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