Podcast #128: We chat with Kent C Dodds about why he loves React and discuss what life was like in the dark days before Git. Listen now.

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29

Well, if you've ever tried walking in countries like Spain or Italy, we should celebrate the fact that we are spoiled for choice. You can always get by with an OS, so why would you ever choose Harvey? First, you should understand that they offer two main series - the SuperWalker maps at 1:25k and mainly centered on popular mountains, and the newer BMC ...


25

Europe Austria: The Bundesamt für Eich- und Vermessungswesen (BEV, "Federal bureau for metrology and surveying") publishes the ÖK50 series in scale 1:50000, covering the whole country. Each map has a four-digit code, and for each (blue) ÖK50 map, there are two (green) ÖK25 maps in 1:25000 for the east and west half carrying the same number (XXXX-Ost and ...


18

Prerequisites: A Topographical Map for the area you are in. Ordnance Survey's Landranger series cover all of the UK. A compass suitable for the task. (I use the Silva Expedition 54) Knowledge of your current location on the map. Step 1: Taking Bearing. Point your compass at the distant peak. (This is done without a map, by physically looking at the ...


16

There are several ways to determine true north, especially when you have a map and compass: Competent maps, like most intended for backcountry hiking, will have the magnetic declination marked. This is usually in one of the corners. Take a look at any USGS topo map, for example. The compass will tell you the direction to magnetic north, and the map tells ...


16

A path indication on the map means that when the mapper mapped it there was physically a path on the ground. It gives no indication as to who is or is not allowed to use that path. The brown background indicates "access land". You can walk on this land subject to some restrictions. This applies regardless of whether there happens to be a path. "access land" ...


15

The USGS Fort Collins Science Center published the following map of the conterminous United States in 2005: It has been published as a factsheet with a PDF (that can be zoomed for more detail): Watts, R.D., R.W. Compton, J.H. McCammon, C.L. Rich, and S.M. Wright. 2005. Distance to the nearest road in the conterminous United States: U.S. Geological Survey ...


15

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 ...


15

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has topographical maps arranged in the typical 7.5 minute quadrangle format, available for free viewing & download online for all of the US. Links: USGS Topo Maps USGS Map Locator and Downloader


15

I thought about this for a while, but to be honest I can't see many immediate uses for backpackers that wouldn't be covered by other means and sources more effectively. For example, if the only source you have about a region is such a geological map it might allow you, to some limited degree, to guesstimate the terrain, and maybe even fauna/flora. This ...


14

According to the Ordnance Survey legend, those are BOUNDARIES Civil Parish (CP); England or Community (C); Wales See page 6 of the legend under boundaries. There are no other small black dots on the legend.


13

What you describe is exactly how it was done: Accurate measurement of distances and angles Obviously, measuring distances on flat ground is relatively straightforward: you use a known length measurement (perhaps a robe marked at known intervals); and to measure the distance to a distant point, use two points and a bit of geometry (Pythagoras is helpful ...


13

While Rory Alsop's answer points exactly to the method followed by cartographers and geologists before the invention of GPS and other modern techniques, I'd like to make a point that it was done with an assumption that they knew what altitude they are at and when you stand at planar location located from a mountain at a known distance and you can figure out ...


13

I've used OS 1:25k and 1:50k extensively in the UK. I also have a little experience of using 1:40k Harveys maps (Lake district, for mountain marathons). I have been impressed with the Harveys: in detail as well as scale they sit nicely in between the two OS scales. So you get very detailed contours (nearly as much as the OS 1:25k), but less of the clutter ...


12

The old style pocket compasses worked just like that. The problem: If you use a compass without using that arrow -- just using the degree marking on the dial, your error will about triple. If you hold a compass at waist level look down at it, and look up, you won't be looking the same direction. You can increase the accuracy by first pivoting your ...


11

Of course, there are many long-distance hiking trails without any available maps. As far as I'm aware, none of the European long-distance trails have dedicated end-to-end maps, unless you count Openstreetmap or a collection of several hundred topographic maps. In some places they're well-mapped, e.g. when passing through Switzerland, Germany, or France, ...


11

GPS is simply not a good way to measure trail distance. This is because the raw GPS fixes have a lot of noise on them. If you take them literally, then you get a much longer distance than you actually moved. If you low pass filter them too much, you cut off corners and get a shorter distance. The usual algorithm is to apply some low pass filtering, but ...


11

What is dead reckoning? Dead reckoning is the skill of moving along a specific bearing for a specific distance - eg, to walk 350 meters on a 25 degree bearing - without reference to any major feature in the landscape. When is dead reckoning required? The foundation of land navigation is the attack point, a term borrowed from orienteering. Basically, this ...


10

I am only familiar with US topos, but a point the other answers miss is that the US Geological Survey have mapping standards, and most non-USGS maps (at least in America) match the USGS standards. I'd suggest you start by learning the standard symbols in your area. Make up flash cards and you can easily quiz yourself as you have a few minutes (this is a ...


10

There are three different ways of describing elevation gain/change for hikes. The least useful – and sadly a very common – method is simply to subtract the starting elevation from the ending elevation. This should be called the net elevation gain and mathematically is identical to the sum of the gains, 1000m in your example, minus the sum of ...


9

In the UK your best bet is to use the Ordanance Survey website where you can purchase maps: Ordnance Survey. I've used the getamap feature which is great at creating your own maps! Which is useful if your hike goes over several map boundaries - often the case in the Lake District!! You can also use Bing maps which has OS map data down to 25000:1 for the UK!...


9

Google maps is free as in beer but doesn't usually show hiking trails. Open Street Maps is a free and open source site that works sort of like Wikipedia, and it often has good coverage of hiking trails, but the coverage may be somewhat hit-or-miss. For example, I've put in some trails for specific areas in California that are near my house or that I've ...


9

Yes, you can. I have managed to trek long up to 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, ...


9

The topics of navigation and cartography are two sides of the same coin, and there are entire books written about each. It is interesting to study the history of cartography because it very graphically shows the corresponding improvements in navigation over time. In order to make an accurate map, you need to know first where you are making your ...


9

On Ordnance Survey maps in England and Wales, the brown background shows access land: see this legend. On such access land, access on foot is permitted anywhere. You cannot cycle here. A path is a geographic feature. A public right of way is just that, a right. It may be on a road, a track, a path, or simply through a field. If you look carefully, you ...


8

That's actually a very difficult question to answer, since there's a lot of ambiguity about what's a "road," etc. Some geographers in Alaska tried to tackle a similar question here, in an Alaska Dispatch article.


8

With these maps it's all about elevation - just remember a few main points: Each line represents a constant elevation (height) - so if you walk along that line you'll be walking flat. The numbers represent the elevation, the higher the number the higher you are. Usually it's in something like metres or feet above sea level, check the key/legend (UK/US!) ...


8

I use My Topo to order waterproof topo maps to take camping with me. They also have a good interactive online tool which you can use to find a specific area.


8

I would consider using OSM as they are available for garmin devices.


8

Ignoring the difficulties of travel (in summer you may need a boat, in winter, skis), then the current weather will make more difference then the season. Given the correct time and standard navigation tables, you can get the latitude by measuring the angle from the horizon to the limb of the sun, the limb of the moon, or to a bright star. Winter might allow ...


8

There are two main things that can go wrong with gps accuracy. The first is the quality of the signal, which can be less than for a dedicated gps unit (less space for an antenna and other design compromises). Of course the question of how you carry it comes into play here (a low pocket isn't very good and this may be worse than with a dedicated unit ...


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