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

The reason is that you could miss your destination and hit a trail and know that you are almost there, but not know which way to turn. So if you were to go straight for the destination, and because ...
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
134 votes

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

In addition to the case described by Charlie (and to show that I also can make drawings in Paint), there is the case where you want a stopping line to know when you are going too far. This is mainly ...
Some wandering yeti's user avatar
101 votes
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As of 2019, why do mountaineering courses still teach how to use a paper map?

The Map is not the Terrain Doubtless you've heard this aphorism, and perhaps it seems out of place for your question but I think it's actually the key point. The aim of the navigation course is to ...
Jack Aidley's user avatar
97 votes

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

The reason is that it is irrelevant if the map is on an electronic device or on paper - if you misinterpret the information, it won't help you in any way, you will only be lost/stuck more accurately. ...
Dynat's user avatar
  • 911
52 votes

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

Maps and compasses are independent of any power source, so it is usually recommended to take them with you. GPS devices can fail, also because the GPS signal can be switched off or blocked. ...
Snijderfrey's user avatar
  • 1,552
51 votes

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

Amundsen's team used a meter on their sledges to get close (dead reckoning) and then sextants to confirm the position. Using Amundsen's diary, Roland Huntford (in The Amundsen Photographs) ...
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
51 votes
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How do you know you have reached North or South Pole without GPS?

I'll expand a bit on how one would use a sextant to locate the north or south pole. The basic arrangement needs a horizontal reflective plane, for which Amundsen used a pool of mercury. A precisely ...
jpa's user avatar
  • 836
46 votes

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

A massive advantage of paper maps over electronic is the combination of area and resolution. You can take a bearing to a mast on top of a hill several km away, when zooming out that far on a GPS ...
Chris H's user avatar
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41 votes
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Compass compatibility: Can I use my US compass in Australia?

I double checked a couple of websites (thanks a lot for the comments to the question) and I'm sure that my compass is not compatible with Australia. As a result of these magnetic variances, the ...
Christian Deckert's user avatar
41 votes
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What advantage does the what3words coordinate system have over other, traditional systems?

They don't really pitch it as a replacement for lat/long, but more postcodes and street addresses. A building number and postcode can (and has, IME) have an entrance on a different street, under a ...
Darren's user avatar
  • 2,433
37 votes
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Will a compass work underground or underwater?

Compasses are good equipment both spelunking and diving. Even the deepest cave you could go to is still near the earth's surface, geologically speaking. The earth's magnetic field is also essentially ...
Karen's user avatar
  • 4,244
34 votes

How to temporarily mark a trail?

Today GPS systems are relatively cheap and widely available. You don't even need a dedicated GPS receiver. For example, I often use a Android tablet with a built-in GPS, and software that can record ...
Olin Lathrop's user avatar
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23 votes

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

I'll answer both as a geomatician who makes maps (both paper and digital) and deals with GIS data for a living. I'm also a mountaineer, trail runner, backcountry skier, and outdoorsman with extensive ...
Gabriel's user avatar
  • 5,055
22 votes
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How can I find north from the stars without recognizable constellations?

What you will want to do is to find which way a star is moving. The way to do this, is to line up two objects pointing towards where the star is currently at, like so. Then wait 15-20 minutes for the ...
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
21 votes
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Are there any general rules of thumb for route finding up a mountain without any trails?

I'll try to give a fairly generic answer to this broad question... Avoid Dangers This is obvious really, but first and foremost you'll want to avoid any kind of routes which lead you close to ...
fgysin's user avatar
  • 13k
20 votes
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Can I record my route electronically when underground?

How would GPS trackers work when underground? Poorly I have no personal experience with Alltrails, but the GPS apps which I have used in the past mostly did not cope well with GPS reception being ...
fgysin's user avatar
  • 13k
20 votes

Are there any examples of orienteering (off-trail) route-finding software?

This is a hard problem. First you have to define "best". In open terrain, not too steep, it's easy - just a straight line, and handheld mapless GPSs have been able to do that for 20+ years. ...
Chris H's user avatar
  • 26.6k
19 votes

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

Having used my Europe compass in America as well as in Australia, I would say you do not need a new one. It will still point one end of the needle to the north and the other to the south, only the ...
Willeke's user avatar
  • 4,522
19 votes

How to temporarily mark a trail?

In the wooded forests near me a practice I've seen is to lean a small stick (maybe 1 or 2 feet long) against a live or standing tree. The stick is natural to the area so it blends in. It will ...
Kimball's user avatar
  • 557
19 votes

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

Vertical difference to summit: If you are just interested in reaching a minimum, it is often sufficient to compute the difference between the start and the summit, e.g. start at 1000m summit at 1800m ...
Manziel's user avatar
  • 7,445
17 votes
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I have a compass but no watch, how can I tell when it will get dark?

You don't need a compass, nor any mechanical tool at all. You just need your fingers. I've linked an article with illustrations at the end, but here is the basic idea: Stand facing the sun, extend ...
cobaltduck's user avatar
  • 5,178
16 votes

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

I was in the Army Infantry in the '90s when we still used maps and compasses to get through the woods. People have a tendency to veer off to the side of the hand holding the compass when they are ...
user12179's user avatar
  • 161
16 votes

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

The default expedition map in the UK is Ordnance Survey. The apparent most popular GPS map app for walking in the mountains is the Ordnance Survey app*. That's all very well and plausible, but the app ...
Separatrix's user avatar
  • 8,097
16 votes

Can I record my route electronically when underground?

Assisted GPS is different from inertial navigation. It uses ground stations to transmit GPS almanacs and ephemeris for faster GPS start-up. There are also wide-area augmentation services such as ...
Toby Speight's user avatar
  • 4,771
15 votes

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

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 ...
fgysin's user avatar
  • 13k
15 votes

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

The most important reasons have already been given in other highly upvoted answers. Planning, coverage, resolution, etc. I want to address the cost aspect. Given the low price and weight of ...
gerrit's user avatar
  • 27.3k
14 votes
Accepted

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

I wouldn't call it normal, but it does happen and if the bubble is large enough it will effect your accuracy. In that case you may want to purchase a new one or if possible send it back to the ...
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
14 votes

Are there any reliable plants to use for navigation?

I doubt there are specific plants, but in general, yes, plants can be indicators of direction. In the Northern Hemisphere, for example, snow will stay longer on the north facing slopes and pile up on ...
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar

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