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#159870 - 01/07/12 09:49 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: balzaccom]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Balzacom,

Thanks for solving the teaser. Due to the automated waypoint generation, it labels the zero point as 1, so it's only .4 miles. But for .5 your time is good. Great joke.

Bill,

You brought us to what's critical. How to teach navigation. You point out some good firsts. There are a lot that can be first, but one has to start someplace.

There are good compasses on Amazon for less than $10. A watch compass is useless as is a GPS compass as it's too difficult to get bearings with them.

Bill, for a good time hack, just use the time on your GPS. smile
Cell phone would be good, too.

Jim,

It's true navigation can't be learned at a desk. The techniques can be, but until they are done in the field people won't retain them.

What the world needs is a good book. Guess I'll have to write one. smile
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#159873 - 01/07/12 10:45 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Gershon]
Gershon Offline
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Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Brain teaser:

Is this map oriented correctly? Heading is as close to 351.5 as my eyes would get it. Variation is in upper left of picture.

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#159882 - 01/08/12 07:31 AM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Gershon]
Gershon Offline
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Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Brain Teaser

This is one for those looking to teach scouts compass and map skills. I think it exercises every aspect of compass skills. The teacher would have to break things down into simple components to teach the skills. This is a final exam.

Using a compass, protractor, ruler, pad of graph paper, and a pencil and knowing your local declination:

1. Stand in one place and determine the following dimensions of a football field. (If you can't see the numbers on the yard markers, put a flag every 10 yards.)

a. Width of the field
b. Length of the end zone
c. Distance of the outside of the hashmarks from the side of the field
d. Width of the crossbar on the goal posts
e. Height of the top of the goal posts

f. Bearing and distance to the furthest corner
g. Bearing and distance from the furthest corner to the center of the field.
h. Bearing and distance from center of field to side of field at 10 yard line.
j. Draw a true north arrow on the picture.

k. Time or paces to walk to the furthest corner
l. Time or paces to walk from the furthest corner to the center of the field.
m. Time or paces to walk from the center of the field to the side of the field at any 10 yard line.

Each successive leg will be walked from where the person walked to on the previous leg. Errors are cumulative.

Using the compass to maintain a heading, test i, j, k.

The last part is a simple orienteering course.

The teacher's grade will be based on how well the students do.

Print graph paper from this site: http://www.printfreegraphpaper.com/gp/c-i-110.pdf




Edited by Gershon (01/08/12 08:06 AM)
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#159893 - 01/08/12 12:49 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Gershon]
Jimshaw Offline
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Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3967
Loc: Bend, Oregon
No the map is not oriented correctly. The magnetic offset was set counter clockwise instead of clockwise which would be correct for north america.

Now if I am wrong, then I stand as an example of someone who once was a qualified navigation person who has forgotten some basic elements. I am more than willing to admit that I have stodd on a mountaintop with a map, compass, protracter, ruler and pencil, and I knew where I was, but I could not prove it, nor could I get any really useful information as far as finding a bearing to my truck.

IT IS BECAUSE OF MY OWN FAILURE THAT i ISSUE A STERN WARNING TO NOT DEPEND ON MAPS AND COMPASS UNLESS YOU KNOW HOW TO USE THEM. I think everyone should learn navigational skills, but most won't and the GPS is a better alternative.

I too can create simple navigation problems than seem like only a hand full of readers can do. So why teach a dependence on a system that only works with a lot of training?
Jim smile
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#159894 - 01/08/12 01:01 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Jimshaw]
Gershon Offline
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Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Jim,

Living in Oregon where the variation is around 20 degrees, it's kind of important for those who depend on the GPS. Even an estimate of north can be way off.

I'm pretty sure it is set correctly. But I could be wrong, too.

This question was a roundabout way of getting an answer to something I wasn't sure of.



Edited by Gershon (01/08/12 01:09 PM)
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#159901 - 01/08/12 02:50 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Gershon]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
It is kinda confusing. The zero declination line sort of follows the Mississippi River

North America Declination Map

Magnetic north is not at the North Pole (as most of you know), but is in or near Northern Canada. Check the map out. So if you are in Oregon, your compass wants to point east of true north. If you are in Georgia, your compass wants to point west of true north. Some people call the east positive and the west negative. Given that Gershon gave a positive 8.5 degree dec., that would mean that true north is on the west side of magnetic north. Same as magnetic north being east of true north. So Gershon's compass IS oriented properly assuming all else is correct cause I can't read the numbers at all grin .

Now these declination lines are very generalized. As a obvious example, lets say a economically feasible iron ore deposit lies undiscovered and you are trying to set declination according to your map...well, this would be pointless if you are near or on top of the deposit. This is an extraordinary example of a local field variation which is measurable, mappable, and generally wreak havoc on your compass readings. As mentioned in another thread by Gershon, even terrane can have an effect on the local field lines.


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#159902 - 01/08/12 03:35 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: skcreidc]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Aside from the math, the method of orienting the map is really easy.

Put a side of the compass along a longitude line (vertical) and rotate the map until the top is facing magnetic north. Then rotate it more in the direction of the MH on the variation legend until you have the angle difference equal to the variation.

The actual method can vary depending on the compass.

A protracter makes things easier for planning, but isn't really needed. Just be careful not to plan on a table with any metal parts.


Edited by Gershon (01/08/12 03:36 PM)
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#159905 - 01/08/12 04:06 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Jimshaw]
oldranger Offline
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Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
"Do not depend upon a map and compass unless you know how to use them" - a good statement, and I don't think anyone would quarrel with the wisdom of such an utterance. Doesn't it apply across to board to most of the skills and gear (toys) that we drag into the wilderness? - Don't depend upon a rope and carabiners, don't depend upon a stove, or a tent, sleeping bag, etc. ad infinitum...

Gear is easy, skills are hard, to acquire. I long ago ago learned to look askance at the dude with all new bright shiny gear - nearly always the sign of an affluent, unskilled newby. The real ones have a spectrum of vital necessities (toys) that range from well used to shiny new.

I think a lot of the regular posters here have stated this principle numerous times in a variety of settings. They are absolutely right.

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#159910 - 01/08/12 04:33 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: oldranger]
OregonMouse Online   content
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Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6738
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
This site will calculate the declination for you.

The declination changes according to your location (both longitude and latitude). It also changes yearly, so what's printed on your map may be out of date, especially if it's an old map. It's a good idea to look up the declination where you are going and write it on your map.

Current declination at the west end of the Columbia River Gorge (where I live) is 16 degrees 3 minutes E, moving west at the rate of 9 minutes per year. If the map you're using is more than 7 years old, the declination marked on it is already a degree off.


Edited by OregonMouse (01/08/12 04:35 PM)
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#159911 - 01/08/12 04:34 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: oldranger]
balzaccom Offline
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Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 2026
Loc: Napa, CA
Yeah--but I have to say that the football field exercise is a perfect example of what I never liked about scouting.

Get me out in the woods, with a real problem, and that would be fun.

Going through those sort of silly exercises that don't connect with any reality made me crazy.

I always knew where I was on a football field, and I knew where the first down marker was, too!
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#159917 - 01/08/12 05:59 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: balzaccom]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
Right on! I agree with you completely. Real problems for real situations....

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#159918 - 01/08/12 06:22 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: oldranger]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
The basis of all navigation is dead reckoning which is most easily taught on a flat surface. Most of the skills can be taught in one day on a football field or other big flat area. They can be practiced enough so they are internalized.

I'm surprised at how much I've learned just thinking about how I'd go about measuring the football field. A smaller area can make things happen faster so they can be repeated more often. Even a parking lot with cones set up would work. (Don't use the compass close to the poles.)

Once a person gets lost, weak skills are no skills. Even GPS. Strong skills are built through repetition in a lower stress environment The weaker person will convince themselves everything isn't working the way it's supposed to and make stupid mistakes.

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#159921 - 01/08/12 07:19 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: balzaccom]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3917
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Quote:
Get me out in the woods, with a real problem, and that would be fun.


I agree. As far as what's important to hiking/backpacking, you don't need to know declination at all. Unless you truly are someplace as flat as OK and have no landmark to reference on a topo map, that won't make any difference.

What you need to know is how to visualize the topography on a topo map and recognize it on the land. If you can do that you can orient your map to what you see and that is what is important. I do this all the time, and because I can do that I can always find a bearing to my car.

As far as hiking/backpacking goes, the only map worth having is a topo map. Any other kind of map isn't going to be much help in figuring out where you are.

As far as learning the science of navigation, I would absolutely love to have a book that could teach me the basics of that. I understand the logic of it, but I have never learned the principals, so I've never been able to practice them, and I've always wanted to.

Like most skills that involve math formulas, it's easy to forget the formulas if you don't use them often, so I can see where that may not be of any real world value to most, but that doesn't mean it's not worth learning.




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#159923 - 01/08/12 07:23 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Gershon]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3917
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Quote:
Bill, for a good time hack, just use the time on your GPS.
Cell phone would be good, too.


Your watch and GPS are set to the time zone you're in so you'd still need to know the offset from GMT wouldn't you?

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#159924 - 01/08/12 07:39 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: billstephenson]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By billstephenson
Quote:
Bill, for a good time hack, just use the time on your GPS.
Cell phone would be good, too.


Your watch and GPS are set to the time zone you're in so you'd still need to know the offset from GMT wouldn't you?



Bill,

It's in the longitude. I'm at 105 west. The sun moves 15 degrees an hour, so I'm 7 hours from GMT. Right now, it's 1738, so it's 0038 in GMT.

More later. It's time for supper.
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#159929 - 01/08/12 09:23 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Gershon]
OregonMouse Online   content
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6738
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I also mostly use the topo map. I use the compass with it when in doubt. That would be on the extremely rare occasions that I get disoriented (the worst was coming out of the metro in Paris!) or if it's a stormy day with a lot of landmarks obscured. Frankly, I use map and compass sighting more to find the names of mountain peaks than anything else. It keeps my skills refreshed and I enjoy it. If you see me sitting on a hilltop with map and compass on my lap, I'm not lost; I'm identifying the mountain peaks!
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#159943 - 01/09/12 07:47 AM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: OregonMouse]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Jim,

Thanks for your strong opinion on GPS. It has led me to a new way to use it for me.

First a simple brainteaser:

At the trailhead, you marked a waypoint. After hiking for about half an hour, you find your GPS says your straight line distance to the trailhead is 1.0 miles. You are still on the trail. Where are you?



Edited by Gershon (01/09/12 07:54 AM)
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#159956 - 01/09/12 12:54 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: lori]
GrumpyGord Online   content
member

Registered: 01/05/02
Posts: 927
Loc: Michigan
[/quote]

there's already good books on navigation - I usually recommend Wilderness Navigation, by Bob and Mike Burns, it's quite good as it is easy to understand for the novice, very straightforward and laid out well with great illustrations.
[/quote]

Has anyone tried this book on a Kindle? I downloaded the sample but it mostly gives the into and preliminary information and the sample ends before it gets to the real book. It would be nice to have it on the Kindle for field use but if there are a lot of maps, illustrations etc those do not come through well on the Kindle. Lugging the book along in the back country would be harder. With the new small Kindle it has earned a place in my pack. How else could I take several hundred books with me?

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#159957 - 01/09/12 01:31 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: GrumpyGord]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Minesweeper:

This would be a fun orienteering game that can be played in a park. The gold coins are laid out in a pattern which changes each time the game is played. The contestents would be given true bearings to each coin from the start point. There will be numbers on the bottoms of the coins.

The task will be to find all the coins in the shortest time and the scorekeeper would log the number on the coins the contestent finds.

To make it interesting, two duplicate sets would be laid out. One if they forgot to correct variation. Another if they corrected the wrong way.

The winner will have gotten ALL the correct coins in the shortest time. (No credit if you "step on a mine.")
The contestant will have 30 minutes to prepare their plan of attack.

There will be a map and compass class and a GPS only class.




Edited by Gershon (01/09/12 01:33 PM)
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#159963 - 01/09/12 02:12 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Gershon]
Jimshaw Offline
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Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3967
Loc: Bend, Oregon
you would be right about at the top left edge of the map. Its impossible to actually read it. The gps also has a way to measure the actual path followed, but because of the loopback, you could be a mile and a half down the trail, and be a mile from the traihead in a straight line.

I will say thats a good idea not only to get a waypoint at the trailhead, but if you turn on the track back feature it makes a little line on the GPS showing your actual path followed. Its easy to follow the track back. As long as the new line being drawn on the screen is ontop of the coming in line, you;re going back the way you came.
Jim
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#159967 - 01/09/12 02:29 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Gershon]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3917
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Quote:
It's in the longitude.


I guess what I am saying is that you don't check the suns position when your watch strikes noon, you check the clocks time (set to GMT) at the sun's apex to fix your longitude, so knowing when noon is where you are doesn't really do much for you. Maybe that's so elementary that it's taken for granted here, but I'm not sure most newbies would understand that right off the bat.

I think it's also important to note that being off by just a handful of seconds in your noting the sun's apex can cause an error of miles in your calculations. As it pertains to backpacking, being off a minute could easily fix your location off your map.

I like your gold coin exercise. Finding the shortest route is a great exercise in logic. Check out Dijkstra's algorithm.
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#159981 - 01/09/12 09:11 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: billstephenson]
balzaccom Offline
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Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 2026
Loc: Napa, CA
True enough Bill.

When you are on the ocean, a few miles still means you can see the island.

In the forest, it's a whole different ball of wax!
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#159983 - 01/09/12 10:01 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: balzaccom]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Bill,

A minute is a nautical mile at the equator. At 30N, it's about 1/3 of a mile.

I think we can both agree finding true north using the north star is elementary. Lay a piece of 550 cord on the ground NS. Tie it so it's straight under tension.

Then hang another piece of 550 cord vertically at the South end of that line. When the shadow is aligned on the cord, that's local noon. It will only last for a few seconds. The longer the cord the better. No reason you can't use a 30 foot cord hung from a tree.

Now it's simply a matter of knowing offset from an assumed position. If I assume I'm at 90W and it arrives an hour later, I'm at 105W. Each degree is 4 minutes on the watch. It's quite hard to be off even a mile.

This can't be done without practice, and it's not necessary to know. It's just something I played with once.


Edited by Gershon (01/09/12 10:02 PM)
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#159985 - 01/09/12 10:42 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Gershon]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Bill,

The shortest route in the coin problem is what's called a traveling salesman problem. There are a bunch of fancy formulas, but it's most easily done by what's called "rubberbanding."

Put pins in the map and stretch a long rubberband around the pins. Then grab the inner ones. Whichever route gives the least tension is the shortest.

If I were to teach navigation, I'd start with dead reckoning in an area where bushwacking is easy. I'd lay out a series of points and ask the person to navigate from one to the next using just a compass and pacing. They wouldn't have a map, so topographical features would be useless.

The next step would be to start from a known point and map a trail using dead reckoning.

By this time they will be ready for a Topo map.

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#159987 - 01/09/12 11:04 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Gershon]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3917
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Originally Posted By Gershon
Bill,

A minute is a nautical mile at the equator. At 30N, it's about 1/3 of a mile.


Help me out here with the formula for that.

24 hours times 60 minutes is 1440 minutes per day.

1 degree equals 60 nautical miles.

360 degrees times 60 miles equals 21600 (length of equator in nautical miles)

Length divided by minutes per day.

21600/1440 = 15 (miles per minute at the equator)

Do I have than wrong?

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