Kayak Lake Mead and Black Canyon
Map & Compass - Orienting Yourself to Map and Ground

Kayak Lake Mead's Map & Compass Orienting Yourself to Map and Ground

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ORIENT YOURSELF: Now orient yourself to map and ground: In this example you know your position but want  to correlate what you see on the map to your surrounding views... For example, when you  look at a bunch of hills  on your map (in orange  circle)...

and then at these hills to east of  where you are standing; which one is  which?

TO FIGURE THAT OUT YOU CAN EITHER: 

1. Pick a spot on the map , then measure a bearing on the map to the spot, and then sight along that bearing to an object on the ground…

OR

2. Sight an object on the ground , shoot a bearing to the object, and then plot that bearing on the map.

See also Taking and Plotting Bearings  (includes video).

First let’s pick a spot on the map…   MEASURE A BEARING ON THE MAP….THEN SIGHT ALONG THAT BEARING TO THE OBJECT: 1. In this case, pick any hill on the map (orange arrow), in other situations pick any landmark on the map that you are reasonably sure you can see. 2. Measure the bearing on the map. (ignore magnetic needle)  Place the base plate along the line.  Turn bezel ring until index lines are  parallel with grid lines and the N on the bezel ring is at the north of the map. 

3. Hold the compass at your belly button; rotate your entire body until the  magnetic needle is “boxed” between the green index lines.

4. Look up to where the compass is pointing; that hill with the orange arrow is the one you  marked on the map and measured a bearing to.  

Now clue in to other features:  Green arrow is the hill on the right; higher and further away.  Green circle denotes the hills on left, further away and east of the mapped road.

NOTICE:  You did not once need to read a number off the compass.  On the map you turned the bezel ring until the index lines were parallel to the grid lines…and with the compass in your hand you turned your body until the needle was “boxed”.

Now let’s sight an object on the ground… SHOOT A BEARING TO THE OBJECT….THEN PLOT THAT BEARING ON THE MAP:

Let’s take the same situation: 1. This time you “eyeball” that hill (with the green  arrow) and shoot a bearing to that hilltop…

2. Hold the compass centered on your body, point at the hilltop, and turn the bezel ring until the green index lines box the magnetic needle.

3. Place the compass on the map with one edge of the base plate on your position, rotate the compass until the index lines are parallel with the grid lines.

4. When the index and grid lines are parallel, the edge of the compass is pointing along the bearing line that you had measured when you pointed the compass at the "hill of the green arrow".

NOTICE:  You did not once need to read a number off the compass.  With the compass in your hand and pointing at the target you turned the bezel ring until the needle was “boxed”….and on the map you placed the compass with the base plate next to your position and rotated the entire compass until the index lines were parallel with the grid lines.

TO ORIENT YOURSELF and GET the BIG PICTURE FROM AFAR: You are mountain biking towards that mountain; you know you are going to park your bike somewhere  near the base and hike to the top via a pre-planned set of way points.  But where are you hiking exactly? When you are looking at this mountain. You are looking at these ridges and gullies...             ... (orange circle).

1. Stop and determine your position.

2. Measure the bearing from your position to somewhere on the mountain, let’s say WP 3.

Place the base plate along the line from your position to WP 3.  Turn the bezel ring until the index lines are parallel with the grid lines; in doing so, insure that the N on the bezel ring  is to the north end of the map.

3. Hold the compass at your belly button; rotate your entire body until the magnetic needle is “boxed” between the green index lines.

4. Now look up to where the compass is pointing (pink arrow).  That is the position of WP 3.

NOTE: This now allows you to “see” the entire mountain.  Correlate the pink and blue circles between the picture and the map.

NOTICE:  You did not once need to read a number off the compass.  On the map you turned the bezel ring until the index lines were parallel to the grid lines…and with the compass in your hand you turned your body until the needle was “boxed”.

Email us about Kayak Lake Mead's Map & Compass Course

Phone: 928-767-3061

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