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Mirror Compass Vs. Base-Plate Compass for Accuracy - Video
This video explains why John feels a mirror compass is more accurate than a base-plate compass for precision navigation.
How To Fold A Map
During our short Map & Compass classes, we don't always have time to show our students how to fold a map. So this is a short tutorial on How To Fold A Map.
Practical 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. I have used the following two exercises when teaching navigation.
LURD – Determining Direction Using One Star
I have seen a lot of information on navigating by using stars. Many of these require that you have a clear view of the sky so that you can see various constellations such as the Big Dipper, Little Dipper, Cassiopeia, just to name a few. Unfortunately, you are not always in a position to see a large portion of the sky. This is especially true when you are in a heavy canopy and only have a small hole to look out through to see the stars. Sometimes you can only see a few. Therefore I will discuss a technique whereby you can determine direction by observing the motion of only one star.
Boxing An Object
There will 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 feather you want to go around, such as a cliff. But if you just walk around it, how do you stay on your designated course?
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.
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 traveled. A way to measure distance is pace counting. It takes two steps to make a pace. When walking, always start out with your left foot, and count every time your right foot hits the ground. That means that you have taken two steps and that is one pace.
Orienting A Map With A Compass - Video
This is a short video that shows how to orient a map with a compass and briefly discusses magnetic declination.
Baselines, Handrails, and 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. This can be used as Base Line for navigation.
Understanding Contour Lines - Video
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.
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.
Magnetic Declination Demystified - Video
This video explains Magnetic Declination and how it relates to the use of a map and compass.
The 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.
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