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Survival Guide

How to Use a Map and Compass

The Map

Information found on the outer edges of the map are as follows

Relief of the Ground

This is shown by the use of contour lines. These are the brown lines shown on the map. Each line runs along areas with equal elevation, measured from mean sea level. As it says on the border of the map the contour interval is 20 meters. This simply means that the height difference between each line is 20 meters. Lines close together indicate a steep slope or rugged ground as lines further apart indicate relatively flat ground. By drawing a cross section the shape of the ground can be determined.
The more common features are:

Measuring Distances

Measuring straight line distances can be accomplished using a ruler or sheet of paper. Simply compare the distance with the scale on the map. If a road or route has to be measured this can be done using a piece of string or the lanyard off the compass. Start at point A feeding the string along the route until the destination has been reached. Measure against the string to get your distance.

The Grid Reference System

Grid references are used to determine your position on the ground, for navigating from one point to another, and for planning a route. This is accomplished by the use of eastings and northings. Eastings are the grid lines which run north to south and measure distance from east to west. Northings run from east to west and measure distance from north to south. As you see on the map these lines are numbered. Each square is 1,000 meters squared or 1 kilometer. To obtain a four figure grid, the easting is used first then the northing. To obtain a six figure grid reference the square is divided into 10 equal parts. This is done using a romer.Making sure to use the right scale for the map, place the hole of the romer, or the point were the two zeros meet over the object or place you require a grid for, read the numbers on the scale. This will give you a position with in 100 meters

The Compass

A compass is an instrument used to determine geographical direction. The needle on a compass will always point towards magnetic north unless interference is present in the form of metal objects such as vehicles, Metal structures, a weapon or metal tools, if held to close.

Parts of the Compass

Each compass will have the following parts:

Setting the Magnetic Declination

From the information on the map the difference between grid and magnetic north has to be calculated. Once this is set on the compass there is no need to use a romer to determine bearings and no need for conversions.

Finding a Bearing

This is done similar to the romer. Draw a line on the map between the two points. Lay the compass body along the line making sure to line the easting in the compass housing with the eastings on the map and 6,400 mils is at the top of the map. Rotate the dial on the compass until the magnetic needle is centered in the arrow in the housing. Once this has been done you have the bearing between the two points. Remove the compass from the map and read the bearing.

Walking on a Bearing

Once you have your bearing and distance between your position and your destination you are ready to navigate. Check the bearing to ensure it is correct. Raise the compass in front of your body, rotate both the compass and yourself as one and line up the needle within the arrow. Once in place this is the direction you want to travel. Take aim and pick out a feature in your line of travel and walk to it.Repeat this process until you reach your destination.