149 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 ...
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133 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 ...
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18 votes
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Why am I seeing the sun slightly north instead of slightly south early in the morning in Malta?

During the summer, days are longer. We are now about 2 weeks away from the longest day. A day gets longer by the sun rising north-easterly and setting north-westerly. The degree of northerness will ...
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  • 6,335
15 votes

Why am I seeing the sun slightly north instead of slightly south early in the morning in Malta?

The short answer is because it's summer in the northern hemisphere. The sun is over the horizon for more than 1/2 of each 24 hour rotation of the earth, so it has to be visible north of east at ...
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15 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 ...
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  • 151
13 votes
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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 ...
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11 votes
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What are the measurements on this slope angle tool?

Source: John Baldwin: Slope Angles from Map Contours View this page for a refresher on how to do the maths to calculate slope on a topographic map.
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11 votes
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Can a compass be thrown off by its surroundings?

Yes, there are certainly areas where there magnetic anomalies. There is on in the Kursk area of Russia that is caused by a very large iron deposits. There is also one in Africa that they are not ...
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11 votes
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What is a catch feature in orienteering?

A catch feature is a feature that you will run into, if you have gone too far. As you can see above, if you are using the stream as a handrail feature to get to the bridge in order to cross, the ...
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11 votes
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In orienteering/navigation, what is a handrail feature?

A handrail feature is something that you can travel paralleled to in order to reach your destination. A good example of this would be a stream/river as while you wouldn't want to follow directly ...
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10 votes
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What does contouring mean in the context of navigation/orienteering?

Contouring means to follow the contours of the land to your destination, trying to stay at the same elevation as you work your way around the hill. In this example you would walk up the hill, and ...
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9 votes
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How to follow bearings while running?

The steps are rather simple for following a bearing without always looking at your compass, Pick a distant recognizable point (stump, rocks, tree) on your bearing. Travel to that point (not ...
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8 votes
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How to triangulate your position with a map and compass?

The basic idea behind triangulation is take multiple bearings with the compass to recognizable points and draw them on the map. Where they intersect is your location. You want the lines to be as ...
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6 votes
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Can a compass reverse polarity?

They certainly can and it is caused by, Please be aware that a reverse polarity is caused by exposing your compass to articles with iron content (something as simple as being placed next to a pair ...
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6 votes

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

I have observed the same thing with compasses as well as level gauges. I'd say that it's normal unless it is hampering the accuracy beyond an acceptable degree of error. That regular small bubble is ...
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  • 31.5k
6 votes

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

Navigation - be it either over land or sea - is governed by non-Euclidean geometry, which means dealing with a sphere instead of a plane. This also means that shortest path between two points on a ...
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  • 201
5 votes
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What is a back bearing when navigating with map and compass?

Sometimes landmarks that you are travelling from, are much easier to take bearings to than what you are travelling towards. For example, in southern Utah near Bryce Canyon, there is a cinder cone ...
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5 votes
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In orienteering/navigation, what is an attack point?

To put it really simply, an attack point is something that you can aim towards, that is far more obvious and easy to navigate to than your actual destination. For examples consider navigating to a ...
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4 votes

Can a compass be thrown off by its surroundings?

The OP provides an nicely detailed self answer, but I would like to add that when such areas exist, they are of particular concern to mariners1, and are therefore well-documented for nautical ...
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  • 5,158
3 votes

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

The answer is really dependent on language, I think. Being from a French-speaking part of the world, I can definitely say that even in orienteering/mountain traveling, the meaning of contouring would ...
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2 votes

How to follow bearings while running?

Another trick you can use if it's sunny and open enough for shadows: Take a bearing, and note the angle of the shadows to your bearing, or to the sun to your bearing. You still need to check this ...
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2 votes
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How to take a bearing when the geographic coordinate grid is not aligned with true north on a map?

You need to know whether the magnetic declination you have was measured from Grid North or from True North. If you have a Grid declination, then you align the north arrow of the compass with Grid ...
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  • 4,348
2 votes

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

The problem you describe is known in surveying as three point resection – essentially you need to observe angles, from an unknown point, between three points whose coordinates are known. Ideally, you ...
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  • 3,855
2 votes
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Can you find your location using the angle between compass bearings?

It is possible and to explain why consider the following question. Is the angle formed by the red or by the green lines larger? Trick question! The angles are identical. You see, if we have our ...
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1 vote

Can a compass be thrown off by its surroundings?

Split Rock Lighthouse was built in 1910 on the north shore of Lake Superior, near Two Harbors, Minnesota, because all the iron ore in the area (one of the largest deposits in North America) deflected ...
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  • 41
1 vote

Can a compass be thrown off by its surroundings?

Mineral deposits can do this. iron deposits are famed for it. Australia in areas. Is famed for this. Also the area at sea were your compass goes from pointing east to magnetic north to west. Off ...
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