Questions tagged [navigation]

This tag is for all questions about outdoor navigation with maps, compasses or mobile devices equipped with sensors for satellite based positioning systems.

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30 views

How can I learn map reading for navigation? [migrated]

I don't know if anyone will relate but I can't read google maps to navigate. I have to ask 20 people to get to one location. Getting to a new location is always a hassle for me. Because of this reason,...
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1answer
45 views

Can you tell which way is uphill on the great plains?

The great plains are well-known for their flatness but they rise from about 200m at st Louis on the Mississippi river to almost 2000m at the "mile high city" of Denver next to the rocky ...
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3answers
169 views

Are there any affordable, dedicated (one-purpose) handheld GPS receivers with nice satellite maps?

I don't have a smartphone, or any phone, and specifically don't want to have one for many important reasons. However, I do wish that I had some sort of map where I get to see where I am currently, ...
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5answers
6k views

Can I record my route electronically when underground?

Portions of a hike I did recently involved me going through tunnels that had some twists and turns. How would these work with an app like AllTrails or another GPS tracker? As I understand it, assisted ...
4
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2answers
215 views

If you have figured out one compass direction, is that always/sometimes/never enough to tell all the other three as well?

For a long time, I've been wondering for myself: if I know for sure that a certain house has this wall facing West, and I'm standing facing the wall in front of me, and I have nothing else to go by, ...
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4answers
3k views

Should I buy a GPS to calculate elevation gain/loss?

I have minimal experience but i am considering getting certified by the ACMG (Association of Canadian Mountain Guides) in the far future. It says i need hikes with a minimum of 700 m elevation gain/...
3
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2answers
127 views

What is the local accuracy of the Garmin Oregon 750 barometric altimeter?

I want to manually create a topographical heightmap of a hillside property with the highest possible accuracy for the altitude. This will later serve as the basis for planning terraces and building ...
32
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5answers
7k views

What advantage does the what3words coordinate system have over other, traditional systems?

I recently came across the what3words coordinate system in an outdoor magazine. The system divides the world into squares of 3 m x 3 m. Each square is then named with a combination of three (as far as ...
4
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2answers
191 views

How to explain unexpected success following a bearing taken from an iPad

I live in northern British Columbia where the relevant declination values are currently Magnetic declination: 17° 45.30' East Grid declination (for Natural Resource Canada's NTS maps): 16° 17.04' ...
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22answers
16k views

As of 2019, why do mountaineering courses still teach how to use a paper map?

I've been looking into learning how to mountaineer and noticed that the local mountaineering society still requires a training in navigation as part of the prerequisites for most of their basic ...
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2answers
322 views

What signs can I use to navigate a cave if lost?

I'm working on a story where a character gets trapped in a cave but use his knowledge as a weatherman to navigate and escape! Are the any weather-related clues you could use to escape a cave ...
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1answer
1k views

What are the differences between prismatic, lensatic, mirrored, and optical sighting compasses?

Background I am looking at compasses for backpacking and camping, and have come across more compass varieties than I had ever thought possible. Three terms that often come up together are "prismatic",...
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5answers
400 views

Did any lighthouses provide directional navigation signals?

Rather than shining in all directions, lighthouses usually produce a directed beam of light that continuously sweeps in a circle. This allows: the light to be more concentrated and so appear brighter....
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4answers
704 views

Garmin inReach vs. overcast sky

Garmin says about inReach that to have a two-way satellite communication "you need to have a clear view of the sky". And what about cloud cover?.. Say it's winter and 100% overcast with angry ...
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3answers
157 views

Navigation device with offline maps and GPX support

I have a subscription service from komoot for maps. Is there any GPS device that supports offline maps and GPX, preferably with android OS integration. Example scenario would be: Use an android based ...
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1answer
103 views

Is there an app: remind me when I get back here

The basics of what I'm after is very, very simple: Push a button, it notes your location. When you reach that point again it tells you. I've looked around and I don't find anything that seems to ...
9
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2answers
200 views

How to follow bearings while running?

I'm am amateur orienteer that does a fair chunk of races. I'm reasonably decent at navigating - using attack points, bearings, contours, catching features etc. But I cannot follow a bearing ...
8
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1answer
210 views

What is a glass artificial horizon?

On Amundsen's polar expedition they had, Of instruments and apparatus for the sledge journeys we carried two sextants, three artificial horizons, of which two were glass horizons with dark glasses, ...
57
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3answers
13k views

How do you know you have reached North or South Pole without GPS?

Having read about the recent foot traverse of Antarctica by Colin O'Brady I was wondering which means the polar explorers of former, pre-GPS times used to determine that they had reached the North or ...
5
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1answer
202 views

How do simple compass needles remain level instead of see-sawing with magnetic dip? Are they flat even near the poles?

This instagram post by Colin O'Brady (just hiked across Antarctica) shows his compass needle looking fairly level, but I can't see enough else to know if he's holding it level. A significant fraction ...
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3answers
9k views

How is elevation gain and change measured for hiking trails?

If a trail is listed as 1500m of elevation change, what exactly does that mean? For example, if the trail goes up 500m, then down 200m, then up 100m, then down 300m, then up 400m, is that considered ...
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2answers
618 views

What does contouring mean in the context of navigation/orienteering?

One of the techniques while navigating in the outdoors is known as contouring, what does this mean and when would it be useful?
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0answers
210 views

How to find good hiking maps for the Laugavegur trail in Iceland? [duplicate]

I will be hiking the Laugavegur trail alone and have been looking for good hiking maps (1:50 000) online. My google searches yield no good results. Where do you even begin to look?
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2answers
423 views

How accurate is the method of finding north with a watch?

There is a method of finding north with a watch described here So you point the hour hand of your watch at the sun. Halfway between your hour hand and the noon mark is south. How accurate is this ...
8
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1answer
896 views

Getting lost and circling a trail in a loop?

What is the term for that phenomenon when someone in wilderness start experiencing a strange situation? When, They aren't certain that they have lost the route They may or may not be walking on a ...
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4answers
4k views

Are there any reliable plants to use for navigation?

I've always heard that moss grows on the north side of a tree. Presumably, this is because conditions on the north side, at least in the northern hemisphere, tend to get less sunlight and are damper. ...
2
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1answer
3k views

What is a back bearing when navigating with map and compass?

Sometimes when navigating with map and compass one will take a back bearing, i.e. a bearing taken directly opposite to the direction one is travelling? When and why would one want to do this?
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2answers
593 views

What is the risk of getting lost while canoeing in a cypress swamp?

Based on the answer here I would be exploring a cypress swamp in the Mississippi valey north of the 35th Parrell. If I canoe in a lake or on a river, I always have a pretty good idea where I am, and ...
3
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1answer
296 views

Does the two sticks and a star method of finding north work the same way in both hemispheres?

There is a method of finding north by aiming two sticks at a star and then tracking the star's movement to find which way is north. You can read the full description here. However, there is the a ...
4
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1answer
588 views

In orienteering/navigation, what is an attack point?

Some features in orienteering or navigation are called attack points. What exactly does this refer to?
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1answer
842 views

What is a catch feature in orienteering?

On of the terms used in orienteering is "catch feature". What exactly is a catch feature and how would a catch feature help one with navigating in the outdoors?
9
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1answer
196 views

In orienteering/navigation, what is a handrail feature?

One of the terms in orienteering/navigation is "handrail feature". What exactly does this term mean?
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1answer
182 views

What is the col between Mt Meru and Kilimanjaro?

When browsing Wikipedia's List of peaks by prominence, I was surprised to see that the parent peak of Mt Meru (in Tanzania) is Mount Kenya (350 km away) and not Kilimanjaro (50 km away). The col ...
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7answers
580 views

Would there be any practical uses of a geological map for a hiker/backpacker?

I just found that I can get free geological map overlays for Google Earth for all of the individual states in the United States from here. For instance, this is what a good deal of Yosemite National ...
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2answers
2k views

What is dead reckoning when navigating with a map and compass?

There is a technique for navigation known as dead reckoning, what is this technique exactly and when would it be useful?
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4answers
316 views

How would navigation be different while hiking at night?

If one were to hike during the night and sleep during the day, what differences in navigation would one have to take into account? In my experience you are more on instruments (such as a compass or ...
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6answers
1k views

Are there any general rules of thumb for route finding up a mountain without any trails?

Sometimes mountains won't have trails or recorded routes simply because they don't get enough traffic that a trail will be created. Not every mountain has recorded routes simply because people haven't ...
4
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2answers
177 views

Can you find your location using the angle between compass bearings?

Sometimes compasses are less accurate than we would like them to be. They can be thrown off by their surroundings, have their polarity reversed, become demagnetized, develop air bubbles or be taken ...
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2answers
415 views

What is the minimum knowledge to navigate with only a compass?

Assuming I have memorized the major Latitude and Longitudes as they relate to the world, as shown in the image below and that I know how to identify latitude & longitude with a compass. What else ...
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2answers
7k views

How to identify latitude & longitude with a compass?

I am not exactly sure where I am in the world. It could be that I am in a boat on the ocean, been in a plane crash, or suffered some other calamity. In any case I either have a compass with me or ...
8
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1answer
898 views

I have a compass but no watch, how can I tell when it will get dark?

I was reading all of the answers to Are there any situations while backpacking that would require a watch? and surprised at the number of answers that said you need a watch so you would know how long ...
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12answers
7k views

How to temporarily mark a trail?

If one needed to hike out and then come back to a certain spot, how could one temporarily mark their trail so that it is easy to follow back to that exact spot when the route back is not obvious? ...
12
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4answers
2k views

Are there types of compass other than the regular magnetic one and the gyrocompass?

Today I learned about the existence of the "gyrocompass". A gyrocompass is a type of non-magnetic compass which is based on a fast-spinning disc and rotation of the Earth (or another planetary body ...
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4answers
4k views

Compass compatibility: Can I use my US compass in Australia? [duplicate]

Background I bought my compass in the US last year. Next week I'm going to travel to Australia. Question Is my US-compass compatible with Australia? or do I need a special compass? Do I need an ...
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4answers
3k views

Can a compass be thrown off by its surroundings?

Would it be possible for a compass be affected by its surroundings, such as a large iron deposit or other rocks to the point where it is not working correctly? I am not talking about declination but ...
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1answer
2k views

Can a compass reverse polarity?

Can a compass have its polarity reversed so that the end marked "north" points south and vice versa? If so, what could one do to prevent and fix this problem?
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2answers
4k views

Is it normal for a compass to develop an air bubble at high altitude?

I live in Denver, Colorado. Going above 10,000 ft. (3,000 metre) always results in an air bubble large enough for me to want to tilt the compass to prevent the bubble from interfering with the needle....
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1answer
4k views

How to triangulate your position with a map and compass?

While navigating or orienteering with a map or compass one of the essential skills is the ability to find your position on the map with the aid of the compass. This can be important if you need to ...
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4answers
13k views

Why would one aim off when navigating with a map and compass?

Sometimes while navigating with map and compass, the advice is to aim off i.e. to aim either to the left or right of the intended destination, as opposed to straight for it. Why and when would one ...
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2answers
1k views

How do you correct Google Earth's incorrect slope percentage?

I often use Google earth to plan trips. One part of that is marking paths and seeing how steep they are. However Google Earth severely underestimated the steepness of slopes. For instance here is a ...