Chris on September 7th, 2009

I use the words azimuth and bearing a lot.  I also hear people using them interchangeably quite often.  However, there is a difference. Azimuth When we use a compass to determine a direction, we are technically talking about an azimuth.  We use a reference of North as 0 and measure our direction using degrees clockwise […]

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Chris on August 26th, 2009

This week, I’ll finish talking about the important navigational items that I started discussing last week. 6. GPS Global positioning systems have become incredibly popular in recent years.  They are so popular that I have actually met people that do not carry a compass in the backcountry.  I consider this practice dangerous.  Just like a […]

Continue reading about Navigational Tools of the Trade Part 2

When traveling in areas that do not have clearly visible landmarks, it can be very difficult to travel by normal navigational means.  Clearly, the GPS is ideal for these situations.  However, you should always have a backup method in case your GPS fails.  You will need to use dead reckoning.  You know where you are […]

Continue reading about Navigating without landmarks – snow, fog, desert, plains, glaciers

Chris on August 20th, 2009

1. Compass When selecting a compass for navigating in the backcountry, there are a number of features that are necessary. Primarily, you absolutely must be able to accurately shoot an azimuth.  I prefer mirror compasses for this purpose.  If you look at the geologist’s transit, it has a mirror sighting mechanism.  I’ve found that I […]

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These are some websites that I find very useful.  The first site gives you sunrise and sunset data, which is essential information.  Navigating at night adds a whole new array of difficulty.  The second site allows you to find out the current magnetic declination for a location. US Navel Oceanography Portal Complete Sun and Moon […]

Continue reading about Navigation Links – useful information for backcountry / cross country travel

How A back azimuth is very easy to calculate in degrees.  First, shoot your azimuth.  Then, calculate according to the following rules: IF YOUR AZIMUTH IS Less than 180 degrees, then add 180 degrees to get your back azimuth Greater than 180 degrees, then subtract 180 degrees to get your back azimuth Exactly 180 degrees, […]

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Chris on July 29th, 2009

Why and how When navigating in difficult areas, particularly “cross-country” or “off-trail” you must be absolutely certain of your location.  GPS has made this easy, but if your GPS unit fails, you should have the skills to navigate using your map and compass. To start, you will be using “vectors”.  A vector is a mathematical […]

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