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31

If you look at the current time, and imagine yourself in the center a big analog watch, just place your shadow on the location of the hour's hand. Then imagine the location of the 12 o'clock hand, and exactly in the middle of the angle between those two hands is the north. Be sure to ignore daylight saving time (As the time your hand watch is showing during ...


21

If there's a stick around and enough sunlight, I've found the stick method surprisingly accurate: Find a straight stick, around 2 feet long (length isn't that important) and plant it straight in the ground. Mark the end of the stick's shadow, perhaps with another short stick. Wait for about 15 minutes then repeat step 2. Draw a line between the two ends ...


19

There seems to be a fixation with North in navigation. Step back to the basic purpose, why do we navigate? We navigate to get to somewhere or to find our way back. Knowing north is just one method of doing such. So predicating navigation on knowing which way is north is unnecessary. North isn't the goal, it's a reference for finding what you really ...


18

With fog, the only thing you're losing is extended visibility. This shouldn't throw off your plan too much, unless you were navigating by watching far away landmarks. If you were on a trail, stay on it. There's no need to wander around. If you can't see anything and traveling is becoming dangerous or you're not sure where you're going, then stop and wait ...


18

You need to know if you are in Northern Hemisphere or in Southern Hemisphere or nearby the Equator. If you are in Northern Hemisphere: First locate the Polaris. Its the last star in The Ursa Minor. I've had trouble in locating it sometimes. Many people do. So, if you are in such a situation, try locating The Ursa Major. The Ursa Major is located just to ...


17

If you can no longer see any trail signs, the best thing to do is go back the way you came until you find one and start searching in a circle from there. Never continue to go further assuming there is going to be a sign just up ahead. You may be right, however the risk of getting lost and something unfortunate happening is too great. If you become separated ...


13

I'd give them whatever my device or map provided me, and let them convert to whatever their devices or maps use. Anyone used to receiving lat/lon coordinates regularly should be able to convert from various formats to whatever they use internally. You're the one in trouble with limited resources. You're out there with a broken leg, lost, in the cold or ...


12

Basic celestial navigation: In the northern hemisphere, the star Polaris indicates north. In the southern hemisphere, you can use the Southern Cross, see Finding the south celestial pole.


12

If you need to walk on a compass bearing in poor visibility, stand still, and send someone out in front of you on the correct bearing for a distance (probably as far as you can see). Have them stand still, then walk to them. Repeat. It's slow going, but you will be walking on the correct bearing, and more accurate than just holding the compass out in front ...


12

The simplest way (assuming you are in the Northern hemisphere) is to first find the Great Bear / Ursa Major / the Big Dipper / The Plough, and use the two end stars as a sight line. The star in Ursa Minor that they point to is Polaris, which is currently our Pole Star. This does change, but not noticeably in our lifetimes. (from ...


11

I recommend visiting Yellowstone National Park (and Grand Teton National Park - they border each other and for $20 USD, you get a 1 week pass to both parks!). Here's what I recommend: Take Interstate 90 across South Dakota (or go up through Wisconsin/North Dakota, then drop - much more scenic in Minnesota/Wisconsin, and easier driving in ND than SD) ...


11

Searching online I found lots of useful informations, like e.g. wiki says: The accuracy of step counters varies widely between devices. Typically, step counters are reasonably accurate at a walking pace on a flat surface if the device is placed in its optimal position (usually vertically on the belt clip). Although traditional step counters get affected ...


10

Adding this mainly because it's a different kind of approach. The other ones are usually more practical, but this is an alternative that does not require remembering any constellations. If you have a rough idea and a camera, you can take a long exposure (30s minimum, more is better) and check which star in photo is the only one that does not move / stays a ...


10

Yep! If you store your compass near objects that have strong magnets in them (such as your car speakers) it can demagnetize over extended periods of time. There are a few other issues your compass can run into that makes it less reliable as well. Air getting into the compass housing (in excess) Bubbles can form within the compass housing when doing big ...


9

A topographic map, as we see here, is made up of a number of lines.: Every point on a given line is at the same elevation. Where the lines get closer the slope is steeper, and vice versa. But that doesn't tell you directly which way the slope is going, so they put numbers on the lines - the slope goes up towards the higher numbers. These numbers indicate ...


9

On water, you can use the curvature of the earth to help you, and change your height instead of moving. According to the Boat Safe Kids web site, the formula for how far away the visible horizon is over water (in other words, how far you can see) is 1.17 * sqrt(eye height in feet) = (distance in miles) While wikihow says sqrt (1.5 * eye height in ...


7

Pacing and timing can be used to aid navigation in poor visibility. Both methods improve as you gain experience by practicing pacing and timing over different terrains. Pacing by counting steps (beads on your compass lanyard or a mechanical counter will help you avoid loosing count) to estimate distance travelled from a known location. Timing based on, for ...


7

The distribution of sun east / west should be pretty close to the same. In the northern hemisphere, the south side of areas gets more sun due to the sun being more to the south (perpendicular to the equator). This doesn't necessarily translate into there being more vegetation on the south side of ridges though, it depends on the environment. Southern ...


7

If it's early morning, you'll note that the sun rises in the east. It additionally sets in the West. Normally, more plant-life can be found on the east side of a ridge (I don't have a source for this, I'm sure someone else can be more helpful) as it more fully receives light. Personally, I navigate almost exclusively by features and carry a contour map with ...


7

In two weeks, there's no way you can drive the route you propose, and have any time to actually see the parks you'd drive through. :( In 2007, my wife and I did a 3-week trip to Yellowstone & Glacier (from Pittsburgh). In two weeks, your best bet is probably just Yellowstone (and Teton). It's the first and biggest (outside Alaska) for a reason! :) ...


7

Moss grows best in the shade (and damp, but most relevant here is shade). Because of the curvature of the Earth, in the northern hemisphere the north side of trees is shadier than the south side, so if moss grows on only one side of a tree, it is likely to be the north side. In the southern hemisphere, the whole thing is mirrored so the moss is on the south ...


7

I would recommend UTM coordinates; it avoids the formatting uncertainty of lat/long and is better suited for ground operations. (Easy to translate to paper maps, define search areas, and calculate distances.) If you use the WGS84 datum, the numerical portions are also identical with the military grid reference system (MGRS) and the national grid (USNG). ...


6

The magnetic declination at the south pole works the same way to that at the north, and for exactly the same reason. The magnetic field, while generated by the spin of the Earth's core is not tied to the physical spin axis for the earth so the exact magnetic north and south move. Before you travel near the poles (you don't even need to be that near for ...


6

GPS (wikipedia) is based on orbiting satellites and so is accurate worldwide. There are other similar systems in use or under development, run by other countries (Russia, China, India, and the EU), but the US GPS still works everywhere. This stick shadow method should work the same north and south of the equator. The constellation you should look for down ...


6

This depends of course on the tools you have and what your overall situation is. For example, if you know that you are on a certain path and you have a compass, and if you are on a slope, you can try to figure out the direction of the slope and compare that to the slopes along the path you are on using your topographic map.


6

A compass is "accurate" in both hemispheres in that it should still point to magnetic north. But the problem is that when you're in the southern hemisphere, the magnetic north pole is sort of 'under your feet' so the compass needs to be one that's specially 'balanced' for the Southern hemisphere to ensure the needle moves smoothly and responds fast. You ...


6

You have two questions there. I will try to answer both: 1) Triangulation - if you can reasonably accurately pace out a 100 metre baseline and can estimate angles to within a few degrees then a rough estimate of distance is possible. An example from eso.org - in reality it is much easier than this as you can use very rough estimations to make the ...


6

I don't believe such an easy method exists you can keep in your head and calculate. The position of the moon relative to you depends on accurate knowledge of the phase of the moon, time of day, and latitude and longitude of where you are, and those interact in a nonlinear manner. Your original claim isn't even true in all places. The moons rotation is ...


6

Yes, you can. I have managed to trek long upto a week with a set of satellite images. For that, I needed some skill in orientation, tracing down a trail and then setting the position in accordance with the satellite image. It does require skills in Navigation because, in most of the cases where people complain about Satellite Images not being good enough, ...


5

When I go off-trail into the woods, I bring a topographic map, compass and GPS with me; of the three, the one I use least is the compass and the one I use most is the map, because I have learned to read the terrain and match it to the map. Even if you know which way is north, that may be very little help in knowing where you are, how to get where you want ...



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