Nav 102 -- Map-and-Compass
Wilderness Navigation

Using a map and compass

This 16-hour course covers map reading--USGS 7.5 quad topo maps--in detail. You'll learn about the map color code, its scale, map symbols, contour lines, and terrain features. You will measure distance on a map, including distance along a crooked trail. You'll also use the orienteering compass to determine direction and measure map angles.

Then, you'll practice walking a compass bearing, and navigating around obstacles. You'll learn the ins and outs of compass declination, and how to deal with it under all circumstances outside the Arctic and Antarctic regions. You will learn to orient a map to the terrain, and how to use triangulation to figure out where you are. We'll review dead reckoning (DR) and discuss the precision of an fix versus the fuzziness of a DR position. You'll learn about different map grids--latitude/longitude and Universal Transvers Mercator Grid--and how properly and accurately to specify a position using either grid.


To help participants put their skills to use, a Search-and-Rescue scenario is used. Class participants are assumed to be members of Big Pine Search and Rescue, an all-volunteer organization available for call-out at any time, day or night. The participants are divided into teams of three to search the area for a lost hiker. During the search, participants will, among other activities, navigate to specified coordinates. Periodically, each team will use an FRS radio to call their coordinates, stating them properly so as to be easily understood.


Course participants should have completed Nav 101, Low-Tech Wilderness Navigation.

Course schedule

No Map-and-Compass courses are currently scheduled.

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