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#159730 - 01/06/12 09:28 AM Brain Teaser - Navigation skills
Gershon Offline
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Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
This teaches a navigation skill which is of little use for the trail except in the desert or in the plains. But it's fun. It could help someone get oriented some day.

Situation: You are in Oklahoma in an area of section lines. In the distance you see a grain elevator in a known town. You are about 5 miles away. You have a map and a compass, but there are no landmarks but the grain elevator.

Problem: Describe how you would find your exact position.
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#159731 - 01/06/12 09:55 AM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Gershon]
Glenn Offline
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Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Am I on a known, mapped trail? If so, take a bearing on the elevator, transfer the bearing to a line on the map (allowing for declination), and you're where the trail and the bearing intersect. (Assumes that the trail does not double back on itself, so that there would not be more than one intersection.) This seems too easy a solution, since it's just a variant of triangulation, with the trail itself serving as a landmark, which violates the conditions of the problem.

If I'm not located on another map feature (road, trail, creek, etc.), I'll need to think a bit more.

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#159732 - 01/06/12 09:59 AM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Gershon]
Dryer Offline
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Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3591
Loc: Texas
Look at the GPS on your dash board! grin

Wander over to the nearest section line/road, assuming its on the map (are you talking about grid squares?). Plot a line to town. X marks the spot.


Wait...this is a trick question. Oklahoma doesn't have grain elevators? wink
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#159734 - 01/06/12 10:04 AM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Dryer]
oldranger Offline
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Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
Oklahoma doesn't have much of anything except flat open ground. (You can tell I am not an Oklahoma fan, and the area is probably better than I think it is).

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#159735 - 01/06/12 10:05 AM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Dryer]
Gershon Offline
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Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Dryer,

Your method was much better than mine.

Now take away the section lines.

(Yes, there are grain elevators in OK.)


Edited by Gershon (01/06/12 10:14 AM)
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#159736 - 01/06/12 10:09 AM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: oldranger]
Gershon Offline
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Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By oldranger
Oklahoma doesn't have much of anything except flat open ground. (You can tell I am not an Oklahoma fan, and the area is probably better than I think it is).


This is a building block approach to learning how to get oriented in the desert. It's a method of triangulating off one point. Be fun for a Boy Scout project.
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#159739 - 01/06/12 10:57 AM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Gershon]
hikerduane Offline
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Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2124
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
I don't carry enough aluminum to make a cap to help with receiving vibes to my brain. Wait a minute, you give us section lines and now you take them away?
Duane

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#159743 - 01/06/12 11:37 AM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Gershon]
billstephenson Offline
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Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3917
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Originally Posted By Gershon
Dryer,

Your method was much better than mine.

Now take away the section lines.

(Yes, there are grain elevators in OK.)


Well, since you can orient your map with your compass and plot a line to the elevator, you'd know your somewhere on that line. So I imagine you'd come pretty close by plotting another line using the sun at either sun up or sundown.
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#159744 - 01/06/12 11:44 AM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: billstephenson]
Gershon Offline
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Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By billstephenson
Originally Posted By Gershon
Dryer,

Your method was much better than mine.

Now take away the section lines.

(Yes, there are grain elevators in OK.)


Well, since you can orient your map with your compass and plot a line to the elevator, you'd know your somewhere on that line. So I imagine you'd come pretty close by plotting another line using the sun at either sun up or sundown.


Bill,

What you are describing is celestial navigation. That would be tough without the stars. I think it would take 2 days and a lot of knowledge. (You'd use the stars to find the declination of the sun. Then use that to determine where the sun would set. With the combination of the north star to find latitude and the rising and the setting of the sun to find two other lines, you'd have a 3 star fix.
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#159746 - 01/06/12 11:47 AM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Gershon]
Gershon Offline
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Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Ok, I drew a picture. Let's assume zero magnetic variation as that complicates matters.

Dryer had the simple solution. There is only one place where a bearing line would fit exactly between the bearin lines.

My idea was to take a bearing. Walk a mile and take another bearing. There is only one place a line a mile long in the direction you walked would fit between the two lines. Taking away the lines wouldn't make it any harder.



Edited by Gershon (01/06/12 11:50 AM)
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#159747 - 01/06/12 11:49 AM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Gershon]
Dryer Offline
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Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3591
Loc: Texas
No sections lines? So, now we are on a flat, featureless plain, with one landmark.

You don't have the equipment to give you 'minute of arc' EXACT location. A sextant would be nice. However, you said 'about 5 miles' so at least you have a clue there.

At night: Find Polaris if the sky is clear and orient your map...or use your compass. Take a bearing and plot a course to your town with the silo. If you are within 18 miles of any other town, you'll see the sky glow. Plot bearing to what you can see, find it on the map, plot it. X marks the spot.
If there is no sky glow, then you are somewhere on that line to your silo, and all you need to do is tighten up "latitude". Use your compass as an angle finder (turn it on its side like a protractor, piece of thread and a weight for a plumb-bob), and again, site Polaris. You'll then have a "loose" longitude to approximate on your map. Mark your town bearing at 5 miles...there your are! (about)
All that is trickier in the daytime because you are working with the sun to to find your latitude.
For hiking, finding a loose latitude can be pointless because you'll be off by miles....you can find degrees, but not minutes and seconds, with a pocket compass, anyway.

Your give away is the "about 5 miles" part. You really only need to plot a course on your map and mark it at 5 miles. grin




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#159750 - 01/06/12 12:25 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Dryer]
skcreidc Offline
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Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
To get an exact position given this scenario (as I understand it), you need 2 (two) intersecting lines theoretically. Due to error/accuracy it's better to get 3 bearings. Ok though, lets just settle on 2 bearings. This is why Dryer's solution works (in a way). Although he possibly had to move to attain the second bearing (the section road), that road bearing along with the bearing to the (plotted on the map) grain tower gives you the two intersecting lines. Unless you know the distance accurately, the easiest way is 2 intersecting lines. I am assuming that you really don't know how far the town is accurately, otherwise you would know where you were anyway.

sK

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#159754 - 01/06/12 01:26 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: skcreidc]
Gershon Offline
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Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
This one has no practical application that I know of. But it's kind of fun.

Using a stick, a pencil, a piece of paper, string and a small rock, find your latitude in less than 12 hours. Pick your own starting time.

Use any other material you could reasonably find in your pack or on the ground. GPS and compass excluded.

(Shortest time to completion wins.)

Bonus problem: Determine the date.


Edited by Gershon (01/06/12 01:32 PM)
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#159755 - 01/06/12 01:29 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Gershon]
billstephenson Offline
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Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3917
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Take your bearings at sunrise:



Edited by billstephenson (01/06/12 01:35 PM)
Edit Reason: added comment
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#159758 - 01/06/12 02:01 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: billstephenson]
Tye Offline
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Registered: 09/15/11
Posts: 76
Loc: Texas
crazy


Edited by Tye (01/06/12 02:11 PM)

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#159759 - 01/06/12 02:07 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Gershon]
Dryer Offline
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Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3591
Loc: Texas
Easy. (as a glance at my watch)


As a pilot, night dead reckoning is similar to my response to your first scenario and I use it. Towns glow and if you can shoot two points, you know your exact position. If you know your average airspeed, and when you started, or last crossed a mapped landmark, you can tell where you are with one point, but two or three are always better.
Working with stars or the sun takes practice, a general astronomy knowledge, and a good clock, but that's how ships navigated prior to GPS for 250 years.
Google "Harrison Clocks" for some adventure. John Harrison won the "Longitude Prize" after many years of trying to convince the Royal board on which Issac Newton sat.
Also, Captain William Bligh (the Bounty) was/is considered one of the best navigators in history. It's amazing what he could do with a small boat in 1789.
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#159762 - 01/06/12 02:53 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Dryer]
OregonMouse Online   content
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Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6738
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
You can also take bearings at noon (standard time, not daylight saving) to find south. It may be rough, depending on your position in your time zone, but it's close enough.

None of this celestial navigation stuff is worth much for 9-10 months of the year here in the Pacific NW west of the Cascades. You might have to wait a week for a clear day or night! However, with a thin twig you can usually get a shadow to fall on a reflective surface; if you do this at noon (see above) you can locate south. I've navigated in the Rockies without a compass, but I sure wouldn't want to do that out here!

Observing which side of a tree the moss grows to find north doesn't work here either--it grows on all sides of the tree!


Edited by OregonMouse (01/06/12 02:54 PM)
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#159765 - 01/06/12 04:02 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Gershon]
Glenn Offline
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Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Somebody got a "100 Best Navigation Problems" book for Christmas, didn't he? smile

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#159767 - 01/06/12 04:07 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Gershon]
finallyME Offline
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Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
IF you know the height of the grain elevator (or close to it), then you could use it to estimate how far you are from it. You would need a calculator, unless you can do trig in your head. smile
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#159768 - 01/06/12 04:09 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Glenn]
finallyME Offline
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Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Originally Posted By Glenn
Somebody got a "100 Best Navigation Problems" book for Christmas, didn't he? smile


I need to find similar problems to this one. I think I want to tackle the orienteering merit badge this year. The problem is, most of the boys are showing no interest. If I make it a game with prizes, I will at least trick a few into earning it.
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#159771 - 01/06/12 05:19 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: finallyME]
Dryer Offline
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Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3591
Loc: Texas
Quote:
I think I want to tackle the orienteering merit badge this year.


Do! When I was a scout (we're talking mid 60's here), my very cool scoutmaster set up orienteering courses every campout. Instead of control points he would have a task to complete to gain the next bearing...starting a fire with one match, flint and steel, using a magnifying glass to burn through a string holding the next clue in a tree, recite the scout motto, identify tracks, etc. Parents were at every control which was hidden from view. Losers got kitchen cleanup. Winners got a small prize. Make it a challenge and they'll do it.
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#159777 - 01/06/12 06:23 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Dryer]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By Dryer
Quote:
I think I want to tackle the orienteering merit badge this year.


Do! When I was a scout (we're talking mid 60's here), my very cool scoutmaster set up orienteering courses every campout. Instead of control points he would have a task to complete to gain the next bearing...starting a fire with one match, flint and steel, using a magnifying glass to burn through a string holding the next clue in a tree, recite the scout motto, identify tracks, etc. Parents were at every control which was hidden from view. Losers got kitchen cleanup. Winners got a small prize. Make it a challenge and they'll do it.


We used to do the same type of thing in the 60's. If you navigated to the correct card, you got to go to the next one. If you missed it and got an incorrect one, you got a task like you suggested. Build a fire, etc.

If you got too far off, you got latrine duty, kitchen duty, etc.

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#159785 - 01/06/12 09:28 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: OregonMouse]
Gershon Offline
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Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By OregonMouse
You can also take bearings at noon (standard time, not daylight saving) to find south. It may be rough, depending on your position in your time zone, but it's close enough.



If you want to find exactly south, then you can just put a stick level ground and trace the path of the end of the shadow in the dirt. At the point the shadow is the longest, it is pointing to true north. Note the minutes and seconds as close as possible.

Then assume a longitude on the map. It's easier to use one divisible by 15. Say 105 degrees which is where I am.

Convert minutes to seconds. Say the shadow is longest 5 minutes after the hour. So it's 300 seconds past the hour.

15*300/3600=1.25

So, I'm 1.25 degrees west of 105W or 106.25W. Now you have the longitude.

Finding the latitude can also be done if you know the date. I'll let someone else struggle through that math. smile



Edited by Gershon (01/06/12 09:32 PM)
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#159786 - 01/06/12 10:16 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: finallyME]
Gershon Offline
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Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By finallyME
Originally Posted By Glenn
Somebody got a "100 Best Navigation Problems" book for Christmas, didn't he? smile


I need to find similar problems to this one. I think I want to tackle the orienteering merit badge this year. The problem is, most of the boys are showing no interest. If I make it a game with prizes, I will at least trick a few into earning it.


I didn't get a book, but it would be fun to make one in increasing difficulty that would teach all navigation.

Orienteering is a tough subject, but can be learned with a series of simple exercises. Personally, I wouldn't train anyone who had no interest. I would jump at the chance to teach someone who was interested as I'd learn, too.

It can take tons of practice.

The first thing I think I'd do is have them learn the length of their pace. This can be done easily on a football field.

Then I'd have them see how close they can come to measuring a mile on a trail. I think a 5% error is something reasonable to shoot for.
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#159795 - 01/07/12 01:34 AM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Gershon]
Jimshaw Offline
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Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3967
Loc: Bend, Oregon
I think this demonstrates that a map and compass is about as useful for finding yourself when you're lost as a divining rod or a trained cricket - get a GPS.
Jim
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#159806 - 01/07/12 05:50 AM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Jimshaw]
DTape Offline
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Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 666
Loc: Upstate NY
I disagree Jim. A map and a compass does work, though it requires some knowledge and skill (the rod and cricket don't work at all).

That said, the primary purpose of navigational aids is to NOT get lost in the first place.
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#159807 - 01/07/12 05:55 AM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Jimshaw]
oldranger Offline
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Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
I certainly would not argue against a GPS, but I have always used a GPS, and map, although rarely a compass. Actually, a real good thing to have is a nice aerial photo of the terrain. I can usually spot the bush or rock I am standing next to.

GPS signals can be distorted; inaccurate readings, while not common, are certainly not unknown.

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#159810 - 01/07/12 06:55 AM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Jimshaw]
Gershon Offline
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Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By Jimshaw
I think this demonstrates that a map and compass is about as useful for finding yourself when you're lost as a divining rod or a trained cricket - get a GPS.
Jim


Expert navigation skills aren't easily learned. Maybe not even necessary for the casual hiker that stays on main trails. Personally, I never carry a compass or a GPS (except on day hikes to measure my speed.) Topographical features are enough to stay oriented.

With the emphasis on speed hiking and distance hiking, I feel a lot of other skills are being lost. It's just different. Not good or bad.

Getting reoriented when confused can be difficult. But in most areas people travel it's not impossible with a good knowledge of the skills which really aren't that difficult. Are these skills essential? Obviously not since many don't have them and go hiking.

For me, using a GPS would change the experience. It's all what the individual wants. Learning navigation can also rekindle the fun for a person who has gotten tired of just hiking from point to point.
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#159811 - 01/07/12 08:28 AM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: finallyME]
Gershon Offline
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Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By finallyME
Originally Posted By Glenn
Somebody got a "100 Best Navigation Problems" book for Christmas, didn't he? smile


I need to find similar problems to this one. I think I want to tackle the orienteering merit badge this year. The problem is, most of the boys are showing no interest. If I make it a game with prizes, I will at least trick a few into earning it.


I think I'd use extra hikes as motivation. Here is an exercise that can be fun. First a person needs to know their pace on trails. Mine is about 3.2 mph when moving. A stopwatch would be helpful to start and stop for any breaks.

Rather than putting tick marks on the trail with distance, time is easier. The number of tickmarks is the time to walk the trail in minutes plus one for the start. (Run the watch for a minute before starting or the times will be off.)

Then simply walk the trail and stop every 10 minutes, stop and use a GPS to save the position for later reference. This will teach that time can give a very good indication of position.

On the way back, use topographical features to refine the position.

After getting home, compare where you were based only on time with where you actually were.

The map is made with Topo Explorer. It saves a lot of busy work in making the tick marks.

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#159812 - 01/07/12 08:51 AM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: oldranger]
Dryer Offline
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Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3591
Loc: Texas
Quote:
I certainly would not argue against a GPS, but I have always used a GPS, and map, although rarely a compass.


I'm the opposite. I'll carry a GPS if I'm hiking under tree cover....Womble Trail in Arkansas or any of the Ozark trails is a good example. CCCC trail near Houston too...featureless. Everything looks the same there and a compass, doesn't do much. Mostly I carry a very small Silva compass/whistle combo around my neck, and topos I printed to 8.5x11 format. A good example is hiking the Outer Mountain Loop in Big Bend Ntl. Pk. So many land marks there that I can gauge my trail progress with one quick bearing to a mountain, intersecting the trail. GPS is pointless there and dead weight. I still sometimes carry an altimeter just to keep the skills sharp, if there is lots of elevation change. I'm a geek/nurd when it comes to this kind of thing. wink
I've always had a love for navigation and find the iPhone compass app and all the map apps a blast to use. Get lost in a big mall or office building and that compass becomes useful. The AroundMe app is fun, even in buildings since it triangulates on cell tower signals and not GPS sats.
So many amazing new ways to navigate but I still like the simplicity and lightweight-ness of map and compass.

The old skills is how we got to the new skills...best learn and practice the old ways, in the event you run out of batteries. grin
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#159813 - 01/07/12 09:22 AM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Dryer]
oldranger Offline
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Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
One reason I often carry a GPS is because of its great value in pinpointing the location of archaeological sites, something I did professionally for many years. For recreational hiking, and even SAR applications, using an accurate Topo map is really all you need, at least in western terrain, where I have had the majority of my experience. The exception is when you encounter reduced visibility. Then you are glad you brought along your SUC(seldom used compass).

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#159816 - 01/07/12 09:34 AM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Dryer]
skcreidc Offline
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Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
Dryer is dead on. I would add snow to that list. You bring what you need to fit the circumstance. Both map/compass and GPS take some proficiency to use. Over the past few years going out with people who are still getting used to their GPS, I can tell you there IS a learning curve on it. I still only use map/compass, but my background experience with this culiminated with being paid to accurately mapping geologic contacts with a Brunton compass (also known as a pocket transit) using eye height and pace as well. Obviously this is pre GPS. I am comfortable with that and have a slight distrust of things with batteries. However, travel in flat terrain and snow is very challenging using map and compass. But snow is the one in particular which makes me want to buy a GPS unit.


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#159817 - 01/07/12 09:54 AM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: skcreidc]
Dryer Offline
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Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3591
Loc: Texas
Quote:
Brunton compass (also known as a pocket transit)


Ooooooooooo..... a Brunton Pocket Transit! <drooling here> grin An amazing piece of equipment!

Absolutely agree about hiking in snow, even in places familiar. I got lost in my own nature preserve, of which I cut the trails, after a freak snow last year. The weight of the snow bent cedar trees into the trail, which was indiscernible because of snow cover. I had to bail out to a nearby road to get home, and I found it by noise of cars. This is like being lost in your own house. grin
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#159818 - 01/07/12 10:18 AM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Dryer]
Gershon Offline
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Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Another teaser.

How long would it take YOU to hike from waypoint 1 to waypoint 5. The waypoints are 1/10 mile apart.

Explain work.

Ideally, this would be followed up with actually hiking the trail and testing the theory.



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#159829 - 01/07/12 02:18 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Jimshaw]
Jimshaw Offline
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Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3967
Loc: Bend, Oregon
What I meant to say is "For the average hiker with little if any compass skill, if lost anyplace without clear landmarks, even with a map, that compass isn't going to do anything at all except tell you which way is sort of north." shocked

The warm feeling that novices get from having a compass is missplaced and dangerous. Even highly skilled members of this group cannot use a map and compass to get un-lost in a white out or where there is featureless terrain, AND even an expert with a map and compass is gonna have a tough time getting to an exact location, like an archaeological site, OR YOUR TRUCK.

GPSR's are not easy to learn to use, BUT anybody capable of logging on here and reading this can operate a GPS. just use evrything on default, set a waypoint at your truck before you leave, and then when you return - walk towards that waypoint. If it fails - if the Iranians jam your GPS signal, well then yer just gonna have to use some of those Daniel Boone skills aren't you. Spare batteries are nice - and lighter than a spare candy bar.

YES navigation problems are fun [as long as you do them from a nice warm dry place, not when lost in snow without food or water...] I just think they belong in OFF TOPIC, not in the begiiners forum - because they generate a false reliance on a unrealistic faith in compasses. Frankly I'd rather see people with no maps, no compasses and no GPSR's, when learning because if they learned to look around and navigate by the angle of the sun and by the terrain, they might be able to find their way out later IF that GPS or compass fails..
Jim


Edited by Jimshaw (01/07/12 02:28 PM)
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#159833 - 01/07/12 03:14 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Jimshaw]
Gershon Offline
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Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Jim,

It's in the Backcountry Topics, General Discussion. Not the Newbie section.

I would agree a lot of people don't know how to use a map and a compass to determine their location if lost. It's a lot easier when you know about where you are when you get lost. A key to not getting lost is the ability to take accurate fixes every so often. How often depends on the trail and the person.

I'm not against a person carrying a GPS. It's a hike your own hike thing.

But I'm not sure why you are so against someone learning navigational skills. The first questions got kind of out there, but the last is a very simple building block to navigation.
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#159840 - 01/07/12 04:10 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Jimshaw]
ringtail Offline
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Registered: 08/22/02
Posts: 2296
Loc: Colorado Rockies
I grew up on a farm that was about 5 miles from the nearest town and I could see the elevator from the roof of the barn. My first reaction to the puzzle was to walk to the town and buy a grape nehi and pour a packet of peanuts into it. I can think better when I am refreshed.

On a featureless pairie you do not need your exact location unless you are calling in an artillery strike. cry

The two primary methods of navigation are vector and relational. Vector is what you use on the ocean, e.g. travel X miles with a heading of XXX. Relational is what we use most days of our life, e.g. drive north on the road to the Sinclair station and turn west. You need to be able to combine both methods to be a good navigator.

World class orienteers have been interviewed to find out how they navigate. They primarily are map readers and use their compass only to verify location. When I am in the backcountry I probably look at my map hourly, but all of 2011 I used my compass once.

The ideal leg of an orienteering competition offers three route choices. The shortest is a vector route to a point of attack, then less than 100 meter vector to the control. The medium length route follows topographic features. The longest route follows handrails like roads or fences.

Mr. Shaw is correct that the GPS can do things that can be accomplished no other way, but do not ask me to abandon my topographic map.


Edited by ringtail (01/07/12 04:13 PM)
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#159841 - 01/07/12 04:14 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Gershon]
Dryer Offline
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Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3591
Loc: Texas
Quote:
But I'm not sure why you are so against someone learning navigational skills.


Jim also likes dull knives, but that's just Jim. grin

I believe his point to be..."don't pack or depend on that stuff unless you really know it's limitations in a real world situation. "

I agree. You can get yourself even "lost-er" by by not knowing what you are doing, and finding that out when you are already in deep peanut butter. Example...I once participated, as a requirement, in a SAR compass class. The "ex-army ranger" teacher laid out the entire course in error using reciprocal headings, meaning he read his compass backwards. He actually argued with three of us, all pilots, who protested that "north is the other way!!!". Once he figured it out, he reset the course while we all waited. He almost taught 25 people to read their compasses backwards and they would have assumed themselves 'trained and qualified'.

But, on the other hand Gershon, hopefully your post will prod a few folks to learn and hone their skills, so I appreciate it.
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#159844 - 01/07/12 04:51 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: ringtail]
oldranger Offline
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Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
Bear in mind that "map" is not a constant. Some maps are a whole lot better than others - planimetric vs.topographic, large scale vs small scale, recent vs old ( has it been updated in the last ten years? - may or may not be vital), and most importantly, when the map was in production, did anyone carry out a competent field check. While most USGS maps are quite good, I have seen some with mislabeled features and trails placed with the help of a cold brewski in a backcountry bar..

What is interesting is that for many of us, the compass is a rarely used item - well, the better ones do have a mirror that is nice for shaving and signalling.

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#159846 - 01/07/12 05:01 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: oldranger]
skcreidc Offline
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Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
Quote:
Bear in mind that "map" is not a constant. Some maps are a whole lot better than others


Such as the Mexican 60 meter contour maps. Not bad, But I found myself correcting a number of spots on the ones I used.

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#159848 - 01/07/12 05:06 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: skcreidc]
oldranger Offline
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Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
60 meter contour interval? Gadzooks! It must have been like navigating using an aeronautical chart. Fortunately, I have only done that once.....

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#159851 - 01/07/12 05:12 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: oldranger]
aimless Online   content
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OK. I admit I haven't read any of this thread except the first post, back when it was posted. But my solution to that problem would be to walk over to the grain silo and read the name of the town printed on it in big block letters facing the nearest highway. blush

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#159852 - 01/07/12 05:14 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: oldranger]
skcreidc Offline
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Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
oop!!! Did I say 60m? blush More like 60 ft...20 meter contours was the interval. 60 m would be horrific!

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#159853 - 01/07/12 05:31 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: oldranger]
Gershon Offline
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Loc: Colorado
Since Jim gave a resume, I guess I will, too. I learned very basic skills in the Boy Scouts in the mid-60's. As we didn't backpack much, I never got proficient.

I learned aircraft navigation in a course at the Air Force Academy. It was in the T-29 which dates me a little. (1973 I think.) This included celestial navigation and dead reckoning.

In survival school, I learned ground navigation. Our test was a 2 week trek bushwacking about 7 miles at night without a map. Except for one drawn in the dirt before leaving. All we knew was the straight line distance to where we were going each day. We also got some general landmarks for each day's destination.

As a pilot, I wasn't expected to know how to navigate in the KC-135, but a couple times I navigated across the Atlantic using dead reckoning and celestial navigation. (This was in the days before INS and GPS and we weren't allowed to use LORAN.)

As an instructor pilot in the T-37, one of the things I taught was low level visual navigation which primarily used dead reckoning and visual landmarks. I also taught the ground school on how to use the prayer wheel. (A fancy circular slide rule.)

What I can say is my skills are VERY rusty, so I'm likely to say something wrong along the way. I will also say it would be very difficult to learn navigating in the woods using a map, a compass and a stopwatch without practicing each skill until proficient.

Since I stay on trails, my needs are less, but a couple times this summer we got on the wrong trail and knowing how to read a topographical map kept us from going off too far in the wrong direction.

One thing that has disappointed me is I haven't found a single comprehensive website on learning basic navigation using a map and a compass. Sounds like a good book for me to write.

BTW, nobody answered the last brain teaser.
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#159858 - 01/07/12 07:05 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Gershon]
Dryer Offline
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Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3591
Loc: Texas
Quote:
BTW, nobody answered the last brain teaser.


We're tired. grin

Didn't know you were a pilot. One of my favorite things to do is cruise at about 1000ft agl and sight see using the sectional charts. If the compass will hold still, its actually useful, and you can do the whole trip using it and the attituded indicator. grin
IFR, although safer, is so mechanical.
Nav while hiking is so much different because of the pace and lack of visual cues.
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#159861 - 01/07/12 07:26 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Dryer]
Gershon Offline
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Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By Dryer
Quote:
BTW, nobody answered the last brain teaser.


We're tired. grin

Didn't know you were a pilot. One of my favorite things to do is cruise at about 1000ft agl and sight see using the sectional charts. If the compass will hold still, its actually useful, and you can do the whole trip using it and the attituded indicator. grin
IFR, although safer, is so mechanical.
Nav while hiking is so much different because of the pace and lack of visual cues.


One of my fun tricks when I was flying in the T-37 with another instructor was in the weather. I'd take a soap pad with suction cups on it and put it over the attitude indicator. It was fun watching people flail. With a lot of practice, it can be done using the turn and slip indicator, VVI altimeter and airspeed.
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#159862 - 01/07/12 07:32 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Gershon]
billstephenson Offline
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Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3917
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Originally Posted By Gershon
If you want to find exactly south, then you can just put a stick level ground and trace the path of the end of the shadow in the dirt.


I've considered this a bit more, and the solutions offered, and I think that as it pertains to the original exercise, you already know due South, so that's irrelevant. Knowing when noon is doesn't help without a current Nautical Almanac on hand, and you *also* need a pretty balls on accurate watch to know when noon is. Even 30 seconds off can cause an error of miles. And the watch has to be fixed to GMT, or you need to know the offset by heart. So even a regular old watch wouldn't help much.

Remember, you only have a map, a compass, and one fixed location. Even with grid ticks on your map you still need at least one more fixed location to reference. While standing still, the sun on the horizon is the only one available. The farther above the horizon the less accurate your fix will be.

The only other way that I can truly resolve this is, as has been pointed out, to know exactly how far you've walked in a specific direction to get a second fix on the grain tower.

--

I don't agree that having a map and compass and no skills gives one a false sense of security. That false sense comes from not having a clue. But if you have even a half a clue you might be able to figure out that if, for example, you keep walking north you will cross the road you came in on. In that case a map and compass can help get you there even in a white out.

I think what you need to teach beginners first about orienting is how to use a compass to orient themselves and their map.

Next would be how to draw a line on that map from a feature they can see on both the map and in the distance. Then how adding another line to another feature shows them where they are on the map.

Once they can do that, you can propose an exercise like the one you've offered here and it will get their brain gears grinding, but before they can do that you might as well ask them to build a time machine.

--

I know this is a drift, but personally, I think you need to teach "traveling" skills too. How to read the terrain, how to use landmarks, and as OM has often advised, how to stop and turn around and look back at where you've been every now and then. Once you've acquired traveling skills you don't need no stinkin map to get back.

It's worth considering that skills needed to use good maps are pretty new, but traveling is a pretty old skill. A lot older than maps. When the Scouts were created we didn't even have good maps. And not everyone is good at reading those things anyway. It's a brain thing. Some people get it at first glance, and others never do. I know hillbillies that can't read a Bazooka Joe comic but they can wander for days in the forest and always find their way home. I've even met a few Okies that can do that laugh
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#159863 - 01/07/12 07:53 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Gershon]
Dryer Offline
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Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3591
Loc: Texas
Quote:
It was fun watching people flail.


And spew. Blahhhh. crazy I've tried that....bored night flying. Center calls and asks "what the heck is going on?"
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#159864 - 01/07/12 08:11 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Dryer]
balzaccom Offline
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Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 2026
Loc: Napa, CA
I learned navigation two ways. One was hiking, and included everything from reading a map and compass to "dead reckoning" miles walked by estimating speed and keeping track of time.

I still do both of those when we are hiking.

I also learned celestial and coastal navigation as a sailor. And I am happy to say that I never ended up in Hawaii by mistake.

The answer to your second question? If the waypoints are .10 mile apart, and I DON'T have a backpack on, then I am estimating something like 25 minutes to hike that half mile. It's pretty steep and I don't know if there is a trail, or what kind of trail, or just rough terrain. That makes a huge difference.

And now for some navigation humor--this from my grandmother, who pass away some forty years ago. It was one of her favorite jokes.

THE HUNGARIAN MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS

It turns out the the four Hungarian mountain climbers had been very successful, and found themselves on top of a towering peak in the Alps. And yet, there was some disagreement about the name of the peak. Some believed that it was called one thing, and others insisted that it was really called something else.

After some heated discussion, the group decided to request their navigator settle the argument. He pulled out his map and compass, and carefully studied them both. He took a sighting of the sun, and checked his map again against the surrounding peaks.

At last he came to a decision.

He pointed to a tall peak on the horizon, soaring high into the sky. "Do you see Mt. Blanc over there?" he asked all of his companions. They all agreed that they could see it.

"Well," concluded the navigator with great certainty. "We are right on top of it!"


Ahhh. Czech humor!


Edited by balzaccom (01/07/12 08:14 PM)
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#159869 - 01/07/12 09:25 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Gershon]
lori Offline
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Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By Gershon



One thing that has disappointed me is I haven't found a single comprehensive website on learning basic navigation using a map and a compass. Sounds like a good book for me to write.



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.

And if people turn straight to the chapter on the GPS there is a big box that says "if you skipped all the other chapters and turned to this one first, thinking that using the global positioning system will make it unnecessary for you to learn map and compass, please go back to the beginning of the book and read at least chapters one through five before reading this chapter. Using GPS technology effectively requires a basic understanding of how to read maps and how to use a compass."

SAR teams everywhere should write these guys thank you letters.

For an online resource, I usually point people at http://www.princeton.edu/~oa/manual/mapcompass.shtml - it's not as thorough as the book but does okay for map and compass basics.
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#159870 - 01/07/12 09:49 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: balzaccom]
Gershon Offline
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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Registered: 01/05/02
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[/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
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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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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
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Registered: 02/07/07
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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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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
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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
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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
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Registered: 02/07/07
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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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#160000 - 01/09/12 11:33 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: billstephenson]
Gershon Offline
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Loc: Colorado
Jim,

You are showing me how rusty I am. 1 degree of latitude is 60 miles at the equator. But one degree of longitude only about 25 at my latitude.

The sun moves 360 degrees in 24 hours or 15 degrees an hour. That's one degree every 4 minutes.

But you bring back memories.

It's time to take it out of the theoretical and video an example of how the shadow lines up. That might take until the weekend.



Edited by Gershon (01/09/12 11:34 PM)
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#160004 - 01/10/12 12:50 AM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Gershon]
balzaccom Offline
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Registered: 04/06/09
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Loc: Napa, CA
By the time you boys figure out your miles and minutes, and check with Polaris and local noon...

The rest of us will be in the bar back at the trailhead, having a cold beer.

At that point in the trail, I think one beer equals about 15-20 minutes,.


Edited by balzaccom (01/10/12 12:51 AM)
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#160010 - 01/10/12 08:02 AM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: balzaccom]
Gershon Offline
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Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Lori mentioned there are methods to account for not taking a direct route to a destination. This brainteaser will help a person learn these methods. The first time it can be done on a piece of paper. Then in a big open area using vectors of your choice. A protractor would be real handy so you don't have to orient the map each time.

Your destination is 1,000 feet straight north of your current position.

Due to simulated obstacles, you have to walk the following distances and headings:

Heading dist (Feet)
30_____ 100
280____ 150
45_____ 200
360____ 75
290____ 100
90_____ 150
350____ 200

What is you bearing and distance to the destination?


Edited by Gershon (01/10/12 08:04 AM)
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#160011 - 01/10/12 09:04 AM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Gershon]
Gershon Offline
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Solution for previous teaser:

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#160013 - 01/10/12 09:07 AM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Gershon]
Glenn Offline
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That creates a way-too-scary flashback to 9th grade Geometry! smile

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#160016 - 01/10/12 09:25 AM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Gershon]
ringtail Offline
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Registered: 08/22/02
Posts: 2296
Loc: Colorado Rockies
Originally Posted By Gershon
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.



If you are talking air or sea navigation then maybe using the compass is a good starting point. Teaching map reading with a topo is the first skill I teach for LAND navigation.
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#160018 - 01/10/12 09:27 AM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Glenn]
Gershon Offline
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Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By Glenn
That creates a way-too-scary flashback to 9th grade Geometry! smile


That it does. In the next situation, I'll make it more realistic.
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#160020 - 01/10/12 09:56 AM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: ringtail]
Gershon Offline
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Loc: Colorado
Ringtail,

If I were teaching someone new to backpacking, I'd have to agree. Many won't go any further than that. Nor is it really necessary for a person who is going to stay on popular trails.

If the final goal advanced navigation, I'd still start with dead reckoning. One reason is it can be practiced simply in any big area. In the military, we started with dead reckoning and in survival school, we only used dead reckoning. We weren't given a map. Just a bearing and distance to the next checkpoint.
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#160023 - 01/10/12 11:21 AM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: balzaccom]
billstephenson Offline
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Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3917
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Quote:
At that point in the trail, I think one beer equals about 15-20 minutes,.


That's the kind of navigation a fellow *needs* to learn!! lol
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#160024 - 01/10/12 11:32 AM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Gershon]
Gershon Offline
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Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Fun activity:

You have discovered a new trail that is not on the map. You know the exact starting point.

You and a friend decide to map it accurately using a piece of 550 line and amd two compasses. So you get 105'7 in of 550 line which is 0.02 miles.

Since you are likely to do this on a marked trail, just have the learners plot the trail on a part of the map nearby where the trail isn't visible and compare shapes.(Like starting at the 'X' in the lower right corner.) With skillful use of Excel, it could be plotted very accurately.

Collect required data on the trail and plot the trail at home after.

Expect 4 errors. Failing to correct for variation. Correcting for variation the wrong way and the recipricol of those.

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#160025 - 01/10/12 11:42 AM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Gershon]
ringtail Offline
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Posts: 2296
Loc: Colorado Rockies
Been there, done that. I remember a night compass course at Fort Carson in the late 60's. The military did not do a good job of teaching LAND navigation then. I have no reason to believe they do a better job now.

I have taught orienteering to elementary school students and they can learn to read maps before they learn geometry. You are better able to get the participation of the adult leaders if you emphasize map reading and NOT compass.

At orienteering competitions we are encouraged to set up a string course. Kids without reading or math skills can still read a map.

The next step is a course that can be completed without using a compass, but using a compass will shorten several legs.

I completed, but was not competitive, a half dozen advanced orienteering course one year without a compass.

Vector navigation should be one of the tools in your navigation tool box, but it is not the most used technique.

I think the easiest and most effective training is to set up a memory navigation course. At each control there is a map with the next control marked. You can set a compass bearing and measure the distance, but you also need to visualize the terrain. You then need to travel to that control with only your memory. Make it a timed event and it gets interesting.



Edited by ringtail (01/10/12 11:44 AM)
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#160028 - 01/10/12 12:43 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: ringtail]
Glenn Offline
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Registered: 03/08/06
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(Self-deleted - intended to be humorous but, on second reading, was merely dumb.)


Edited by Glenn (01/10/12 12:44 PM)

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#160034 - 01/10/12 01:19 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Glenn]
Gershon Offline
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Loc: Colorado
Compass as Sundial:

One of the reasons I like doing a lot of seemingless useless exploration is sometimes I discover something useful. If I line up the compass just right on the sun, then I can use it easily as a sundial. The north arrow is the hour hand. Since my variation is 8.5 degrees, it's off by 2 minutes from local noon. I haven't figured it out yet, but it can also be used as a sextant.



Edited by Gershon (01/10/12 01:20 PM)
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#160035 - 01/10/12 01:39 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Gershon]
billstephenson Offline
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Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3917
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Quote:
You and a friend decide to map it accurately using a piece of 550 line and amd two compasses


Is 550 line like Mason's String Line?

I think that could be fun using those tools. But I think I'd have them plot the trail on the map while they went along. You could also give them a piece of paper to note their readings on and let them enter that into an excel SS when they get back. Then you could let them compare the map they made with what the program plotted using their notes, and a GPS route of the trail using waypoints set at the same interval as the line length.

I found this online demo that is interesting. It's too bad they don't give you better access to it, but what they do provide is well presented. I played with it for a few minutes and had fun with it. Might go back and play some more smile

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#160037 - 01/10/12 01:55 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Gershon]
billstephenson Offline
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Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3917
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Quote:
I haven't figured it out yet, but it can also be used as a sextant.


I never thought of that, but it should work.

I'd guess you turn it sideways, hold it level, point the line on the outer ring at the sun, count the number of degrees from O the line points to, and that's the angle of the sun.

I think The Old Farmer's Almanac has those numbers for sale for your location. They have an online app that will make them and send them to you for the entire year (for one location). It's handy for designing buildings to take advantage of solar gain.

I never thought of the sundial trick either, thanks for those cool tips!!
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#160042 - 01/10/12 02:54 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: billstephenson]
Gershon Offline
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Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Bill,

550 line is just parachute cord. It has a strength of 550 pounds.

The longitude idea doesn't work without tables. There is currentlya 7 minute correction in my area. Bummer.

I thought about having them plot the trail as they went. To do that, they'd need a clipboard and protractor. Otherwise it gets to be too much.

Nice thing is, Topo Explorer can determine the correct bearing and distance.

That website is great.
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#160053 - 01/10/12 05:12 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Gershon]
Gershon Offline
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Loc: Colorado
I went outside to practice mapping a trail using just dead reckoning. It's a lot tougher than it looks. Just getting a good bearing is difficult with the glare on the compass. It would be better to have a tape measure for those legs that are curved a lot. I used Excel to plot the vectors as it's just easier. With a lot of care and 40 minutes I came out dead on for 700 feet.

Then the compass was pointing 90 degrees off on the corner. Something is there. Aliens maybe? More likely some electrical field.




Edited by Gershon (01/10/12 05:13 PM)
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#160068 - 01/10/12 09:58 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Gershon]
Rayman1968 Offline
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Registered: 06/12/10
Posts: 30
Loc: Ventura, CA.
If you're serious about map/compass/land navigation using a lensatic compass, the first thing you need to do is ditch that cheap Cammenga replica and get a real one.

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#160072 - 01/10/12 10:17 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Rayman1968]
Gershon Offline
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It seems to be very accurate.
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#160097 - 01/11/12 11:38 AM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Rayman1968]
billstephenson Offline
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Registered: 02/07/07
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Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
I like my cheap lensatic compass too, and his looks a lot better than mine blush

What do you use, or consider a quality one, and why?
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#160100 - 01/11/12 12:00 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Gershon]
billstephenson Offline
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Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3917
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Quote:
The longitude idea doesn't work without tables. There is currentlya 7 minute correction in my area. Bummer.


That's what I thought. I found this online:

Nautical Almanac

They have links to online data, software, and books there. I think you can get the data for your location for a 24 hour period.

I still don't know all the steps to fix your lat/long using a sextant, watch, and those tables, but I would like to know and I'd like to try it out. It can't be that difficult, can it?
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#160102 - 01/11/12 12:29 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: billstephenson]
Gershon Offline
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Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By billstephenson
Quote:
The longitude idea doesn't work without tables. There is currentlya 7 minute correction in my area. Bummer.


That's what I thought. I found this online:

Nautical Almanac

They have links to online data, software, and books there. I think you can get the data for your location for a 24 hour period.

I still don't know all the steps to fix your lat/long using a sextant, watch, and those tables, but I would like to know and I'd like to try it out. It can't be that difficult, can it?


It is pretty difficult and takes a baby step learning process. In order to be prepared to take fixes, you would need the HO tables. I think they are made by the Naval Observatory.

There are corrections that need to be made for altitude and also times near sunset and sunrise. They used to be online, but I can't find them now.
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#160106 - 01/11/12 12:55 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Rayman1968]
skcreidc Offline
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Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
Quote:
If you're serious about map/compass/land navigation using a lensatic compass, the first thing you need to do is ditch that cheap Cammenga replica and get a real one.




I think Gerson's compass is probably just fine. He can check it out for accuracy is he wants. I spent years using THIS

and now I usually carry a $12 special that works fine for general navagation. I think Ringtail said it first, but usually I just use the map. If I am serious about navagating, I take the Brunton. And that is because I already have one anyway, so why not use it.

sK

Just a side note, a longer needle is more accurate. But you will notice that they don't make a compass as large as a dinner plate. At least I don't think so.


Edited by skcreidc (01/11/12 12:59 PM)

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#160120 - 01/11/12 02:48 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: skcreidc]
balzaccom Offline
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Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 2026
Loc: Napa, CA
Actually, I have a huge compass that I kept from one of my sailboats.

Not exactly ultralight, though!
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#160130 - 01/11/12 05:04 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: balzaccom]
Gershon Offline
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Registered: 07/08/11
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Without a protractor or a compass, measure an azimuth VERY accurately.

(Hint: use scale of miles as a guide.)
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#160138 - 01/11/12 06:27 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: billstephenson]
Rayman1968 Offline
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Registered: 06/12/10
Posts: 30
Loc: Ventura, CA.
Originally Posted By billstephenson
I like my cheap lensatic compass too, and his looks a lot better than mine blush

What do you use, or consider a quality one, and why?


Cammenga

They're the only company contracted by the Department of Defense to supply lensatic compasses to the US Military.

I have two of the tritium versions (model 3H) and they are rock solid.

That being said, I actually prefer to use a baseplate compass while on the trail. Just easier than a lensatic (no having to orient your map), much lighter/slimmer, and it gets the job done. I don't go out to call in artillery strikes or figure out how far 'that tree over there' is from 'that rock over there'.

When it comes to baseplate compasses I'm a huge Suunto fan. But when it comes to lensatic compasses, Cammenga is king.

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#160140 - 01/11/12 06:44 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Rayman1968]
Gershon Offline
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Loc: Colorado
Cammenga was founded in 1992. I got mine in the 70's.

It works fine.

Baseplate compasses only have an accuracy of 11 degrees. That means if you are taking a bearing on something a mile away, you can have a .2 mile error.
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#160149 - 01/11/12 09:02 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Gershon]
Rayman1968 Offline
member

Registered: 06/12/10
Posts: 30
Loc: Ventura, CA.
Originally Posted By Gershon
Baseplate compasses only have an accuracy of 11 degrees.

Painting with a broad brush there....what's your source for this bit of info?

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#160183 - 01/12/12 08:24 AM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Rayman1968]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By Rayman1968
Originally Posted By Gershon
Baseplate compasses only have an accuracy of 11 degrees.

Painting with a broad brush there....what's your source for this bit of info?


Army field training manual think. It might have been one of Sgt. Rock's sites.

Added: I'm glad you challenged this broadbrushed statement. The only way to really know is to test it. Site on something a couple hundred feet away. Record the siting.

Then using the GPS, mark the location you sited from as waypoint. Walk to the location and see what the bearing is to the waypoint. The reciprocal is what your compass reading should have been.

I'll add he results


Edited by Gershon (01/12/12 08:43 AM)
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#160184 - 01/12/12 08:52 AM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Gershon]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
Gerson, I am not going to even look that up and guess more like 2 to5 degrees at least. My Brunton has 0.5 degree accuracy. Look at the divisions; it should be in something like 1, 2, or 5 degree increments. This will give you some idea of the accuracy.

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#160188 - 01/12/12 09:05 AM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: skcreidc]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
It's not just the accuracy of the compass. It's the accuracy of the person reading it.

Anyway, I went out and tested it. I marked my start on the GPS as a waypoint. Then went out and walked to different locations and took a bearing back to the start. I was consistantly 1 degree left of the GPS.

Thank again for challenging me on the statement.


Edited by Gershon (01/12/12 09:06 AM)
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#160208 - 01/12/12 12:43 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Gershon]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3917
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Quote:
I marked my start on the GPS as a waypoint. Then went out and walked to different locations and took a bearing back to the start. I was consistantly 1 degree left of the GPS.


Wouldn't the accuracy of the GPS would affect this reading too?
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#160219 - 01/12/12 03:17 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: billstephenson]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
I would say that a variation of one degree would be trivial in nearly all real world situations.

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#160223 - 01/12/12 04:12 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: oldranger]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Yes, the accuracy of the GPS would affect things. An accuracy of one degree is plenty good for real world situations.
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#160225 - 01/12/12 04:24 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Gershon]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Light pole brainteaser. This one is real difficult, but IS doable.

You are in a parking lot with poles oriented something like this. It's a freehand drawing, so measurements are not accurate. You have 50 feet of parachute line plus enough to tie it to the pole.

Using a compass and the parachute line, draw the magneic azimuth lines and distances shown. Do not go more than 50 feet from the red pole.

Magnetic north is at the top of the page.

(This is a tough one.)

Time limit: 1 hour.

Accuracy:

No more than 8 feet error on any distance or 5 degree error on any bearing.

.


Edited by Gershon (01/12/12 04:40 PM)
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#161562 - 01/31/12 08:15 PM Re: Brain Teaser - Navigation skills [Re: Rayman1968]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By Rayman1968
If you're serious about map/compass/land navigation using a lensatic compass, the first thing you need to do is ditch that cheap Cammenga replica and get a real one.


Well, the old compass started acting up, so on your advice I got a Cammenga. What a difference! The numbers are much easier to read. It setles down to the bearing much quicker. It's not as sensitive to being level.

Thanks for the recommendation. Anything I said disagreeing with you was wrong.
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