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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I think it would be pretty obvious to most, that if SHTF, your GPS and cell phone navigational devices will be useless. And depending on the situation, more of a danger and hinderance than a benefit.



With that, not knowing how to read maps for land navigation, where does one learn? Short of joining the military, I can't find any options. There are Orienteering groups, which I looked to in an attempt for find classes or at least where to take a class. But their info, at least for NEOC (New England Orienteering Group), says show up and we'll show you how to do it. Which is great if I wanted to go play in the woods with a bunch of Yuppie Warriors, but I want to how to read a map when I need to GTFO!



Any help would be much appreciated, I am in CT, so any information pertaining to this area would be greatly appreciated. Or perhaps a great book you know of?
 

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Our local Conservation Dept has one every once in a while at the local nature center. Check with a local outdoors type like parks and rec, maybe you could get a seminar if a group is interested.

I think the USGS website may have some map reading info. Find some Geocaching clubs or hiking clubs in the area that may help.
 

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Might even give your local Boy Scout's a call. Maybe even buy one of their "old" hand books. The (old ones) were packed with survival stuff INCLUDING map reading. Reading a TOPO map and using a compass NOT as hard as you think. Simple is better and the needle points North



I think anything you have electronic,...you are or soon will be eventually screwed. Batteries don't last forever, a micro-burst will wipe out electronics that aren't sheilded. How long till that hand crank breaks on the ol' radio ?



And just where do you plan to navigate too ??? There WILL be hords of nuts on the loose... ...best to hunker down and hold your ground with some good friends and neighbors.
 

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Youtube
 

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Google "land navigation."
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the responses. I was looking to find an actual class, reading things online is not my preferred method for learning. I did, however, find out that the Sig Academy has a land navigation course. I may look into this, as well as a bunch of the other classes they have.
 

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Thanks for the responses. I was looking to find an actual class, reading things online is not my preferred method for learning. I did, however, find out that the Sig Academy has a land navigation course. I may look into this, as well as a bunch of the other classes they have.


Join the Army. They'll teach you everything about it.
 

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I think it would be pretty obvious to most, that if SHTF, your GPS and cell phone navigational devices will be useless. And depending on the situation, more of a danger and hinderance than a benefit.



With that, not knowing how to read maps for land navigation, where does one learn? Short of joining the military, I can't find any options. There are Orienteering groups, which I looked to in an attempt for find classes or at least where to take a class. But their info, at least for NEOC (New England Orienteering Group), says show up and we'll show you how to do it. Which is great if I wanted to go play in the woods with a bunch of Yuppie Warriors, but I want to how to read a map when I need to GTFO!



Any help would be much appreciated, I am in CT, so any information pertaining to this area would be greatly appreciated. Or perhaps a great book you know of?


The NEOC will show you how to read a map and use a compass, it doesn't matter if your in the woods or urban setting, map reading and orienteering is a useful tool. The Conn. Search & Rescue group (They probably use the Nat. Grid System) can help you



Connecticut Task Force 1 (CT-TF1)

269 Maxim Rd.

Hartford, CT 06114 Telephone: (860) 706-5500



as well the Boy Scouts.

Alot of groups are going to the National Grid System (USNGS) which is more in line with what the military uses for ground ops. It is an accurate system. Good luck in your endeavor.
 

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http://www.uvm.edu/~goldbar/FM3_25.26.pdf



This is the main reference in learning land navigation, magnetic compass useage, grid-magnetic conversion, intersection(finding unknown location using azimuth from two known points), resection (finding YOUR location using two distant known points and reversing the angles to where you are), terrian features, map colors and uses, dead reckoning, star navigation and many other things as well. I am not furnishing anything that isn't available to John Q. Public via google...



This is what's used to train troops in virtually any branch of the military. The techniques are tried and true and definitely work. Ultimately, whether you join a "class" or print this book, the information is the same. Not everyone is good at land navigation, even those who train with it on a frequent basis. If you are not comfortable with your skill set, do NOT attempt to practice long distances in the middle of nowhere. Do NOT rely on electronic equipment to do the work for you in the event you get lost. It can fail and when it does, it'll be at the most inopportune time.



I also recommend having a partner with you...preferably one who has a sharp skill set in land navigation.



Basic tips:



Use the most current maps for where you plan on navigating



ALWAYS get the adjoining, most current maps for your direction of travel for extremely long distances...maps have edges because the whole earth is too big to detail on a single sheet of paper



When selecting map media, choose the waxy feeling water proof maps, they can also be used to wrap water sensitive items in the event of rain, also they can be used to collect water in a survival event, likewise they don't tear as easily



If you use paper maps, buy a map carrier (sealable plastic)



always remember to include declination...2 degrees off isn't much at 400 meters, but over a couple thousand meters...you're up **** creek wandering aimlessly



always get a pace count in the environment you'll travel in... hills, rocks, mountains, swamps, sand all can vary your stride and ruin a pace count obtained from a solid flat surface...also injuries may change pace count



NEVER panic if you become disoriented!!!



Bring a pencil and blank paper...you'll need it for determining calculations and distances



NEVER use a magnetic compass around power lines or large metal objects...throws the neddle off slightly. Agin short distance, no biggie...long haul, major issues



Alternate going around obstacles...go around tree #1 to the left....tree #2 to the right...tree #3 left...you get the pattern. It maintains a better pace count and keeps you walking a better azimuth



Trees all look similar after 2 hours...look for very distinct markings on trees when shooting azimuths and walk directly to that spot. Another thing, if you hapen to be navigating with 3 people,you'll be geared up for success. One man runs forward to establish the azimuth aim. 2 stay behind to shoot the azimuth and tell the forward guy to go left or right according to the azimuth from the compass. Both rear guys double check each other to ensure that the azimuth and aim point to the forward guy is correct. The second guy keeps pace count for distance. The last rear guy follows the second guy and double checks pace count distance and the process repeats until you arrive at the destination. It's nice because you can be very accurate and run from location to location without losing your course. Try it...you'll see 3 men traveling together is very fast paced.



SECURE the compass to your clothing or body...string is provided for a reason! A compass laying on the ground buried in the leaves won't help you much. Pockets don't work 100% of the time or you'll think you put it in a pocket and actually missed the opening.



Get a compass that has a straight edge. Great for intersection-resection lines. If not use the blank paper folded to make a good hard straight edge



If in a desert area, travel at night. It's much cooler and the heat of the day will tire you out via heat exhaustion or cause you to consume your supply of water/food too quickly or die...worst case, all three



Wear snug water resistant boots with your pants tucked in. Loose boots cause blisters as do wet socks. Pants tucked in keep out insects and thorns.



Gloves...You'll understand why they're important when you actually navigate



If firearms are in tow and there are more than just you travelling together, develop a signal for the event of an emergency...should you get separated. Gun shots can be heard for a pretty good distance and help to rejoin if separated



Following rivers and railroads in emergencies can often...not always lead to people or towns in the area



Streams lead to rivers usually...not always. Follow the direction of the water travel



Don't cross rivers without a life line(rope)...even then it can be high risk as you can't determine from the shore how fast the middle water is moving and at what force



Wildlife can be located near water...not good in bear country. Be alert. Useful in survival mode...animals are so tasty



Pay attention to contour lines on the map. Tight lines will be a ******* to travel. Tighter is steeper. It only looks faster on a map.



Learn terrain features. It makes map orientation so much easier and plenty quicker in the event that you THOUGHT your compass was in your pocket



AGAIN, DON'T panic should you become disoriented



Maps are read from the right and up when establishing coordinates. If using grid coordinates to send to someone to rescue you, try to use eight digits. Many maps are 1:50,000 scale. That trans lates to:

4 digit coordinate equals within 1000 meters

6 digit coordinate equals within 100 meters

Yeah...you guessed it...8 digit coordinate equals within 10 stinking meters. If someone can't find you then...you probably used the wrong freaking map!



If you are lost and want to know your location and have a map with you, look for two points in the distance that will be on the map (ie...2 hill tops preferably spread out a bit) shoot an azimuth to each one. then add or subtract 180 degrees. if the azimuth is over 180 degrees then subtract...if it's less then add. Next convert your magnetic azimuth to grid azimuth using the info at the bottom of the map using the dohickey called the declination diagram. If you hose up in your math skills or use the WRONG declination, you're screwed. It's easy to do with a protractor, but not available, you'll be able to use your pencil to draw a line corner to opposite diagonal corner and then do the opposite pairs of corners. Then on that same grid, draw a straigh line vertically centered and onve horizontally centered...Now you know where 360, 90, 180 and 270 degrees are for certain and the remaining lines should be 45, 135, 225 and 315 degrees. You can add more lines as needed EQUALLY placed, but you can do your own math. Now you don't need a protractor. It's done fairly accurate as well as it's going to be without a protractor. You do this in each grid that the hill tops are located and use your straight edge or folded paper and draw a line for each hill top's back azimuth that you calculated earlier. where the two lines intersect is YOUR location. While not 100% accurate, if you summon an eight digit coordinate for a resue, the rescuers will be close enough to still see or hear you.



Likewise if you have no protractor, and need to find coordinates, you can draw 8 evenly spaced tick marks along the bottom edge going from left to right...9, 8, 7 ,6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and again up the right edge of the grid from bottom to top 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. You just divided the grid into 10x10 smaller grids even though you don't actually see them. Now you can read right and up and send your coordinates. It's also very accurate...enough so that rescuers will see or hear you...be sure to include the grid square identifier when sending coordinates. It makes it easier for resuers if they use the same map that you are reading from...even though theirs may be newer, the identifer stays the same. For some odd reason the earth was already broken down into never changing quadrants that all maps use without change...I'm thinking aliens did this for us to make our life easier.



There's so much more and I am tired of typing...so read the info at that link. Any questions? Feel free to post or message me.



For anyone who's curious...YES I KNOW HOW TO NAVIGATE, READ MAPS AND TRAIN INDIVIDUALS TO DO THE SAME. I AM QUALIFIED TO ADVISE ON THIS TOPIC AS IT'S PART OF WHAT I DO. WOULD I BET MY LIFE ON MY SKILLS? HELL, YEAH...YOURS TOO.



Oh...water features may be seasonal and not actually be where they appear on maps
 

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I've been meaning to catch back up on my land nav, since its been ten years since infantry school. Now I don't have to. The above response brought it all back!
 

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You guys are very welcome for the information. Not sure if they have PM (personal messaging) on this forum...if so, feel free to hit me up with any questions. I'll do my best to respond quickly and give a no BS answer based on experience and training.
 

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I started land navigation on a limited basis in the Boy Scouts. The best lessons were when I was a Cav Scout Platoon Leader running aroung as a young recon guy. Cav guys must be pros at map reading or they shouldn't be in the profession. With anything, this takes practice and even more practice. A couple of ideas is probably atteding a land navigation or orienteering program somewhere.



This applied knowledge saved my bacon in Vietnam. An interesting start is to acquire a local topo map like with a state park or forest. Topo maps are generally available of almost the entire planet.



As everyone stated, getting a map case where a map can stay dry is always a necessity. Some folks tried lamination but it tends to harden up and not work well. Don't forget black and red grease pencils to mark map routes. There are numerous sources for these just about everywhere. Maps and water don't mix. The military canvas map case is handy and works well.



http://www.faculty.fairfield.edu/rdewitt/wcoc/Permanent Courses.html is a site in Connecticut.
 

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As to the original question, a good place to look would be a Boy Scout Orienteering Merit Badge counselor. You can google local merit badge counselors anywhere. I used to teach this along with Pioneering and Wilderness Survival. Or find an NCO in a near by National Guard unit that admits to understanding map reading, (I wouldn't assume all NCOs know their land nav).

I'd also read this thread again afterwards, some things might make more sense. Especially the huge amount of information ricksva posted!

Good luck in your endeavors.
 

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Thanks for the responses. I was looking to find an actual class, reading things online is not my preferred method for learning. I did, however, find out that the Sig Academy has a land navigation course. I may look into this, as well as a bunch of the other classes they have.
If you go to your local library, they probably have a book on the subject. Barnes and Nobles does. Orienteering, was like a 2 day class in the military. It's not hard, all you need is some kind of map, preferrably a good one, a compass and a watch. Nobody should be in the wilderness, where they might be in danger of getting hurt or lost, without a compass. But there's more.



SHTF, or not, relying ONLY on a GPS only, even in the best of times, can get you dead. Many things can affect a GPS, not only zombies knocking out our satellites. Really the whole GPS unit can take a crap on you.



Number one Rule: Military or Civilian. Before you enter into a situation, even just straying a few hundred yards out (yes people die less than a hundred yards from their cars, a house, or road or all) Make absolutely certain that you let at least one if not more people know where you're heading and how long you plan to be there. That way they can get a closer fix on where to find you, if you don't turn up.



Know how to survive in that kind of environment. (In the military, our particular unit was primarily geared for desert).. Many people don't know how easy it really is to survive in the desert for days, or weeks without assistance. What they do know is how to kill themselves in the desert, whether they realize it or not. Same for other environments.



My point, learn survival techniques first. Then learn the compass, very easy, a sixth grader can do it. Lastly a GPS, then, STILL make sure that people know that you're heading out into the wilderness and when they should expect you back.



Lastly, you don't need to spend $40 bucks on a good book that's 500 pages. A complete manual for compass orienteering shouldn't involve more than twenty five or thirty five pages.



And DON'T cheap on on your compass. That's why some at your sporting goods store cost 15 bucks and some cost $50 and up. Buy the best you can afford. There are big differences. You'll need proper maps, but I'm sure you know that. With all of that, use your GPS as a back-up, not as your primary.



'nuff said.

Have fun..it really is fun once you get the hang of it...



J.
 

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One quick & dirty help is that you can use your watch for a rough compass if need be. It is not NOT an acceptable replacement for a good compass, but in an emergency situation...

Point the hour hand at the sun, and halfway between the hour hand and the 12-oclock marker is south; give or take a few degrees, allowing for daylight-saving time, etc. That's all there is to it; assuming you're in the northern hemisphere.
 
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