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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1
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0answers
80 views

What are the slope determination criteria in the elevation profile of Google Earth? Is it based on rise over run or rise over hypotenuse? [duplicate]

I occasionally use google earth and notice that the slope percentage is never cross 100%, if slope percentage is determined by rise over run method the 100 percent value is equal to a 45-degree slope ...
25
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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 ...
3
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3answers
276 views

Why is nautical navigation still exclusively taught with paper charts?

I have recently read some books and courses on nautical navigation. All of these start teaching how you use paper based navigation charts, and teach the usage of protractors and such. There is even ...
23
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8answers
9k views

What format should I use to report my location to emergency responders?

Suppose I am out in the wilderness and an emergency arises. I have an accurate fix on my location (from GPS, map and compass, astronomical observation, etc...). I manage to get in touch with ...
7
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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?
4
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2answers
180 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 ...
29
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10answers
5k views

How can you navigate / determine your location in thick fog?

Are there any good hints, tips and ways you can use to navigate around and find your location in thick fog (apart from a GPS)?
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 ...
3
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3answers
179 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, ...
12
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4answers
760 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 ...
18
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5answers
7k 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
221 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, ...
12
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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
134 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 ...
2
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3answers
163 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 ...
19
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2answers
4k views

How to estimate distances while at sea?

While kayaking or swimming out in the open waters, it is quite important to be able to judge distances accurately before attempting to get from one point to another, such as from island to island. ...
16
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4answers
4k views

How to estimate current speed and direction while swimming at sea?

In an episode in the tv series "I shouldn't be alive", crew members of a yacht racing team got caught in a violent storm and found themselves stranded in the Gulf of Mexico after their boat capsized. ...
8
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5answers
419 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....
7
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7answers
582 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 ...
18
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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
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' ...
49
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10answers
5k views

How can you navigate without a compass or GPS

What are the ways you can navigate when you don't have a compass or a GPS? For example how can you tell which way is north.
27
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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? ...
3
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2answers
339 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 ...
20
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4answers
1k views

Group protocol should the group become separated

A small group (2-10 people total) is travelling in a wilderness area. For whatever reason a person or a couple get separated. What is the best strategy for the lost ones? What is the best strategy to ...
6
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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",...
5
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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 ...
5
votes
1answer
211 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 ...
9
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2answers
203 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
214 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 ...
52
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6answers
9k views

I never adjust for true north. Is this bad practice?

This question (Calculate true north with a compass and map) got me thinking. I rarely bother adjusting compass bearings for magnetic north. Is this bad? I understand the theory but I just rarely ...
13
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1answer
198 views

Magnetic deviation at either pole

I know that the magnetic north is not exactly at the polar north, so when hiking very close to the Northern Pole, you have to take the difference into account. This got me thinking: Is this also a ...
13
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3answers
10k 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 ...
8
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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 ...
9
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2answers
632 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?
7
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3answers
262 views

What do unusual waymarks in France mean?

I recognize the official system for French waymarks of Grand Randonees and local paths like shown here: but I've also seen large white rectangles with a horizontal red line in the middle. They are ...
3
votes
0answers
211 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?
3
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2answers
425 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
897 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 ...
17
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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. ...
7
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2answers
597 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 ...
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?
11
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1answer
738 views

Can I use satellite images as hiking maps, how?

I tried to find topographic maps of my area in Brazil, but the best I could find is some 1:50000 map from 1983. My biggest need for a map (besides not getting lost) is avoiding private properties and ...
13
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8answers
7k views

Is a smartphone or dedicated gps receiver better for navigation in the desert?

For most backcountry navigation I use a topo map and compass when necessary. Generally I'm following known trails and combined with some basic awareness of cardinal direction and land features I don't ...
3
votes
1answer
308 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 ...
8
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2answers
286 views

Are the orienteering marches popular in Germany?

I'm engaged in orienteering marches, which differ from sport orienteering: there is the time limit, where finishing before time gives no advantage to the participant, and the center is put on the ...
13
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3answers
698 views

Navigational gear worldwide

Is there any difference in navigational equipment between the northern and southern hemisphere? We live in the northern hemisphere but will be emigrating to the southern in the next few weeks. We'll ...
15
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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....
3
votes
1answer
101 views

Orienteering skill organized trainings in Germany?

Are there any schoolings/trainings for orienteering skills in Germany? I hike during weekends, but mostly using GPS (geocaching) or using trails, so there's not much opportunity to fully train ...