Orientation with the help of a map and compass can be useful not only in a survival camp. It is worth learning the secrets of navigation – you never know when you will need to use these skills.
Map and compass – eternal companions of travel
It may seem that in the era of GPS devices, such traditional orientation devices as a map and compass are a relic that should be put to rest at the bottom of a cupboard for a well-deserved retirement. Nothing could be further from the truth – the ability to orientate with the help of these simple tools may even save your life. GPS devices, like all electronics, can be unreliable. If your phone’s battery dies, you’ll lose your sense of direction and you won’t know which way to go to reach your destination. But if you have a map and a compass with you and know how to use them, this is not a problem. When modern technology fails, you can reach for your old friends and find out where you are and which direction you need to go.
In what situations can a map and compass be useful?
There are more situations than you might think. And it’s not just a case when electronic devices decide to run out of power. Everyday we use the conveniences offered by smartphones more and more often. We can find in them applications that make our lives easier at every step – there are also maps, which in online mode allow us to orientate in the area with relative precision. But for them to work, there are at least three conditions that must be met. First, you need to be online, second, your battery needs to be charged, and third, you need to have cell reception at your location. The third point can sometimes be the most problematic, especially if you’re planning a trip to the mountains. In border areas (e.g. in the High Bieszczady Mountains) there are still places where it’s much easier to get a signal from a Ukrainian network than from a Polish one.
Nowadays everybody has access to electronic maps and GPS navigation, but what in case you need to use a traditional compass and map?
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How to use a map?
Knowing how to use a map efficiently can be extremely useful, especially in difficult terrain. On a map, you can read a picture of the Earth’s surface. It is not, of course, transferred on paper 1:1 – such a map, even of the nearest area, would be difficult to take with you on a trip. The image on the map is appropriately reduced – depending on the type of map a different scale is used. It is also not the case that you will find an exact representation of reality on paper. You will find a number of symbols on the map, and to understand them better, you need to read the map legend. With its help, you can easily find the nearest bus stop or a forest road that will lead you to buildings in a nearby village. If you wonder what kind of map you should buy, decide on a laminated one. It is slightly more expensive, but it can withstand even very unfavourable weather conditions. How to use a map? First of all, you have to orientate it to find out where you are. Surrounding landmarks will be helpful.
Compass – a reliable friend for every journey
Knowing how to read a map will be extremely helpful when hiking, especially on mountain trails. Long distance runners also use maps during competitions when the markings of running routes fail. Without the ability to read a map it is difficult to imagine taking part in an orienteering competition. And such events appear more and more densely in different regions of our country. A map is one thing, but a compass is another. Thanks to the compass you can find the direction without any mistakes. So what if you know where you are on the map, if you don’t know where north and south are and which way to go? A compass helps you orient the map – and it will help you find your way more quickly through difficult terrain, even terrain you’re in for the first time in your life. Want to make your trips safer and want to make sure you always reach your destination? Learn how to use a map and compass!
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