Map & Compass

 

 

 

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Site Contents

When you know where north is from looking at the compass needle, you should have no difficulty in finding the principal points of the compass. When you face north, south is then directly behind you, west on your left, east on your right.

In the old days when a person went to sea to become a sailor, they had to learn the 32 points of the compass. This was known as the compass rose and got quite complicated. The diagram above only shows 8 of these points.

Fortunately for us, somebody finally suggested the use of the 360 degree circle instead of names.

Setting a Map

A map is set or "oriented" when it is made to correspond with the ground it represents. In North American, north is always the top part of the map.

There are three simple steps in using the compass and map together:


Step 1: 
Place the compass on the map and join together the "start" and "destination" with the long edge of the compass base-plate. Check that the direction of travel ("D.O.T.") arrow points the way you are to go.

 


Step 2: 
Turn the compass dial until the orienting lines on the compass housing are parallel to the meridian lines on the map. Check that north on the dial is towards map north. You now have your bearing. It is the number opposite the end of the direction of travel arrow.

 


Step 3:
  Take the compass off the map.  Without touching the housing, hold it flat and turn your whole body around until the north (usually red) end of the needle points to "north" on your dial. Your bearing is now the way that the direction of travel arrow points.  Look for the furthest two objects you can see along your bearing (like the rocks and tree in the illustration above), and keep them lined up as you walk toward them.  Pick a third distant object as you get closer to the first two. 

 Check Your Position Regularly 

Keep your map and compass handy and refer to them every half hour or so to locate your position (more often in low visibility). Keep track of your starting time, rest breaks, lunch stops, and general hiking pace. This will also give you an idea of how far you have traveled and whether you've planned your time accurately.

 Map Scales

The scale of a map compares its size with the size of the area it represents. One of the first things a Pathfinder must note, in order to understand a topographical map, is the scale to which the map is drawn. All maps indicate their scales in the margin or in a "legend." A scale of 1:250,000 (be it in inches, feet or meters) means 1 unit on the map is the equivalent of 250,000 units in the real world. So one inch measured on the map would be the equivalent of 250,000 inches in the real world. Most Canadian Topographical maps are either 1:250,000 or 1:50,000.

 Map References

If you flew over an area, you would see roads, buildings, mountains, forests, rivers, and lakes. On a map, many of these features from "real life" are represented by symbols such as those shown above.

See Also:

Maps

Finding Direction Without a Compass

Compass Bear Song

Compass Training Games

 The Traditional Handbook

 

 

   

 

 


Additional Information:

Peer- Level Topic Links:
Activities ] Archery ] Axe, Boy Scout ] Axe, Saw, Forestry ] Axe, Saw,  Knife ] Axe Use: Beard ] Axe Use: Seton ] Axe Use: Traditional ] Axe Throwing ] Beds, Woodcraft ] Bedding Materials ] Bicycle Maintenance ] Birch-Bark Torch ] Birds ] Bird Houses ] Blocks Tackles Purchase ] Blood Red Cross ] Broom: Camp or Witch's ] Buttons ] Campcraft ] Camp Hygiene ] Camp Planning ] Campfire Programs ] Catapult ] Chainsaws ] Checklists ] Chuck Box Riddance! ] City-Craft ] Compass Bear Song ] Compass, Home-Made ] Cooking ] Cotton Kills Bear Song ] Deduction in Tracking ] Deduction & Detective ] Drum ] Dyes ] Edible Plants ] Equipment, Leader ] Equipment, Personal ] Equipment Maintenance ] Equipment, Lightweight ] Equip, Pickle Bucket Camp ] Estimation ] Field Signals ] Fire-Building ] Fire Building ] Fire Laying ] Fire Lighting ] Fire Starters ] Fire: Rubbing-Stick ] Fire Types, Wood Types ] Fire Council Ring ] Fires: Woodcraft ] First Aid ] First Class Journey ] Flint & Steel ] Flowers ] Forest ] Gesture Signals ] Ground to Air Signals ] Handicraft Stunts ] High Adventure ] Hiking ] Hike Planning ] Indian Sundial Clock ] Insect Collecting ] Insect Preserve ] Indian Well ] Knife & Hatchet ] Knots, Bends, Hitches ] Knots: Diamond Hitch ] Knots: Lashings ] Knots: Rope Work ] Knots: Seton ] Knots: Traditional ] Knots & Whipping ] Lashings ] Lashing Practice Box ] Lace or Thong ] Learn by Doing ] Leave No Trace ] Leave No Trace ] Lights ] Local Knowledge ] Log Ladders, Notched ] Log-Rolling ] Logs: Cut Notch ] Logs Split with Axe ] Loom and Grass Mats ] Lost in the Woods ] Manners ] Maps ] [ Map & Compass ] Maps: Without Compass ] Measurement ] Measurement Estimation ] Menu Worksheet ] Menu (Adult IOLS) ] Mosquitoes ] Mushrooms ] Night Tracking ] Observation ] Old Trails ] Paints ] Pioneering, Basic ] Pioneering Models ] Plaster Casts ] Preparations ] Proverbs ] Rake ] Rope Care ] Rope Making ] Rope Spinning ] Scout Reports ] Signal & Sign ] Sign Language ] Silent Scout Signals ] Smoke Prints ] Snakes ] Spanish Windlass ] Spoons ] Staff/Stave Making ] Stalking Skills ] Stalking & Observation ] Stars ] Stools ] Story Telling ] Stoves & Lanterns ] Summoning Help ] Sun Dial: Scientific ] Survival Kit ] Tarp Poles ] Teepee (4 Pole) ] Tent Care ] Tent Pitching ] Tom-Tom ] Tomahawk Throwing ] Tomahawk Targets ] Totem Making ] Totem Animals ] Totem Poles ] Training in Tracking ] Tracks, Ground, Weather ] Tracking & Trailing ] Trail Following ] Trail Signs & Blazes ] Trail Signs of Direction ] Trail Signs: Traditional ] Trail Signs for Help ] Trees of the NE ] Wall Hangings ] Watch Compass ] Weather Wisdom ] Wild Things ]

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Last modified: October 15, 2016.