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Map Reading Without a Compass
1 April 2014, 12:59,
#1
Map Reading Without a Compass
This should be simple enough, and if you were ever in the Scouts or did the Duke of Edinburgh, then you should be up with this skill. If not, I hope this helps you out.

Frequently people (BP for example) speak about the use of a map and the benefits they have. I'm not a huge map person, I quite enjoy getting lost then having to find my way back, but I still recognise their usefullness. Having maps and knowing how to use them can be a great benefit. Same as how to use a compass.

But what happens if your compass is broken, or you're on heavily magnetised (iron based) ground, or your compass has be stolen by carp, or something like that? If you're caught with just a map...what can you do?

Well, as it turns out, you can do a hell of a lot!

Providing you can see what's around you (stupid mist and fog could ruin that) or you know an approximate idea of where things are, you can orient the map towards those items. For example, if you are on a road, have a bridge behind you and a forest infront of you, then you can pretty simply look along the roads on the map to find a bridge on one side and a forest on the other. Once you have oriented the map so that if you were stood on the map, the forest would be infront and a bridge behind, you then know which way is north, south, east and west. But those directions are only really important if you have to travel somewhere.

The real benefit is that you are not lost and are able to navigate to where you need to be.

If there are multiple landmarks in the area, it would be simple enough to get a pencil and draw lined between the landmarks until you developed the skills to orient and find location.

So, I'll run a quick example, see if that helps. Might even make a youtube video if people really want to learn this stuff. Just PM and ask.

Stand still facing a landmark. Do this because you need to take some data-points. We'll run this example below, you have your map out:

1.You're stood in the middle of a forest.
2. Behind you is a road.
3. Directly to your right is a bridge over a stream.
4. Directly to your right and left, but outside the forest is a steep hill each side.
5. Infront of you and to the left is a small farm house.

Step one is to find every forest on your map with a steep hill either side of it. Then draw a line between those hills, straight through the forest. For this example we have 5 such forests.

If you can tell the size of the forest you're in, or the type of trees (e.g. connifer or deciduous) in it, you can use this data to cancel a forest or 2. So we now have 3 forests we could be in.

Now you want to estimat the distance the road is away from you and the forest.

Check the forests you've got your line on and work out how far away the roads are from them. This step allows you to cancel out certain forests to pinpoint your location even further. Now we have 2 forests, in our example.

Next up, you can check for a bridge on the map with the stream going through it. This allows you to then further find your location.

Orient the map so that if you were stood on the map, the farm house is facing away from you. The bridge on the map should be facing you in real life.

Providing you've not moved yourself, but have simply turned the map to orient the farm house forward and left of your real body, and you know which forest you're in...you now know where you are.

You can also tell from the map where North, South, East, and West are.

I hope that makes sense?
Dissent is the highest form of Patriotism - Thomas Jefferson
Those who sacrifice freedom for security deserve neither - Benjamin Franklin
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1 April 2014, 14:17, (This post was last modified: 1 April 2014, 14:34 by Midnitemo.)
#2
RE: Map Reading Without a Compass
yup orient the map and steer a course by features....doesn't work in close or very open country though...thats when you could really do with a compass so you can walk on a constant bearing/heading...failing that you walk on a heading based on the sun or the stars....failing that in close country look for a river and follow it downstream....thats my concise take on it

When i say close country i mean jungles(woods & forests in europe) and open country desserts&savannah(moorland&plains in Europe) orient the map by features or sun/stars...not at midday though lol top of the map is north....early part of the day sun to you're right you are facing north , latter part of the day sun to your left then you are again facing north.
Nothing is fool proof for a sufficiently talented fool!!!!
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1 April 2014, 15:09,
#3
RE: Map Reading Without a Compass
Fair point MNM, I probably should have mentioned use paramiters.

Thankfully there are not too many areas in the UK that would cause these issues. Well, outside of cities of course. But if you're in a city...stay clear of maps! People will know you're lost and thus you become a target!
Dissent is the highest form of Patriotism - Thomas Jefferson
Those who sacrifice freedom for security deserve neither - Benjamin Franklin
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1 April 2014, 15:10,
#4
RE: Map Reading Without a Compass
At night the Polestar(northstar)can be found equidistant between the trailing edge off cassieopia a sort of w shaped group of stars and the trailing edge of the plough
Nothing is fool proof for a sufficiently talented fool!!!!
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1 April 2014, 16:24,
#5
RE: Map Reading Without a Compass
don't think we need the southern cross lol
Nothing is fool proof for a sufficiently talented fool!!!!
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1 April 2014, 16:46,
#6
RE: Map Reading Without a Compass
You are in England,

Stop at the pub and ask directions.
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1 April 2014, 19:40,
#7
RE: Map Reading Without a Compass
many thanks to all .....useful stuff.....that's more like it !
The ability to laugh at yourself while you learn is a great attribute.
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2 April 2014, 04:57,
#8
RE: Map Reading Without a Compass
If you do happen to be in the southern cross, you basically extend the axis that forms the cross downwards 4 times and the result is south. (that description probbly doesn't make much sense to most though)
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2 April 2014, 08:48,
#9
RE: Map Reading Without a Compass
I spend a lot of time driving along back unclassified roads, so I know my way without the use of a map, the only time we need to use a map is on unfamiliar ground when going further afield, however we have 2 sets of maps, 1 set in the car and the other in the house(for route planning etc).
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8 April 2017, 11:12,
#10
RE: Map Reading Without a Compass
It's pretty easy to get rough bearings just from the sun and your watch, as long as it's not midday during summer. All it takes is a bit of experience - check out the sun's position at any time every time you're walking your dog or whatever. The sun will always be in the southern half of the sky (in the northern hemisphere), and its position relative to the top of the sky along with knowledge of the time of day, allows you to work out a rough bearing for south. For example, face the sun at 2 o'clock in the afternoon and south will be a little bit to the left.
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