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How to use a compass

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The first thing you need to know about a compass is how to read the compass. All compasses have N,E,S,W on them, these abbreviations mean…

N = North
E = East
S = South
W = West

These 4 directions are used when navigating with a compass, for example, if you was facing north and got told to go south, you would turn 180 degrees and walk straight.

If you read a compass and it said NE that means you would be going in this direction…

You would be going at a 45 degree angle between north and east, so it would be a diagonal upwards line. NE stands for North East, this can be figured out by putting the N and the E together.

You also might read, ENE, SSE or a direction with three letters being used. That direction looks like this on a compass.

WSW is West South-West, that means you would be going at a 22.5 degrees angle between West and South-West position of the compass.

How to use a compass with a map?

1.)  Hold your map in a horizontal position so the face of the map is facing up then place your compass onto the map.

2.) Choose your starting position (Point A) and your end position (Point B). Mark these positions with a red pen. Place the edge of the ruler on your starting position (Point A) and measure to your end position (Point B). This will help you work out the distance between the starting point and ending point.

Note: If the compass is to small to reach from point A to point B, then mark the end of you ruler on the map, Slide the 0 end of the ruler to the point marked and make sure the end part hits point B. If it does not reach, once again repeat the steps above. Add the 2 measurements together, look at the map scale and do the conversion to determine the distance.

3.)  Then, make sure the orienting lines and arrow of the compass are parallel with the map’s north to south coordinate lines. The North to South coordinate lines are the perpendicular and parallel grid lines overlapping your map.

4.)  Keep the compass on your map, rotate the map and the compass at the same time, until the magnetic line points North.

5.)  Follow the travel arrow making sure that the orienting arrow is still in line with the compass housing.

Tip: Pick 2-3 landmarks in the distance that you will remember and make sure they are in the direction you are traveling. These will help you to stay on track through out you journey. Once you reach the landmarks, pick new ones to help you along the way.

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