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Thread: Books/resources on navigation and map reading?

  1. #1
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    Default Books/resources on navigation and map reading?

    Can anyone recommend a good idiot's guide on map reading and navigation?

    My ability to find where I am is severely limited when I can't get a good data signal on my phone.

  2. #2
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    http://maps.nationalgeographic.com/d...ls_Booklet.pdf

    https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/resources/map-reading/

    All free! I am sure you could find more stuff

    Actually, the second link gives you this free download which is very simple to follow

    https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/doc...ap-reading.pdf

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    See if there is a local orienteering course you could go on?
    "I'm not getting in a boat which is DESIGNED to go upside down."

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    There are loads of articles and videos on the web but make sure of a couple of things ...

    you understand "declination" and how to adjust for it using the gear you have.
    You get a map, compass and use it regularly. There is no substitute for practice when trying to match landscape to maps.
    Practice also things like "pace counting" if on foot so you can handle dead reckoning position.
    MarkL
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    Adrian's OS link is a really good start. Then, as Mark says, practice, practice, practice. And it goes hand in hand with compass work, so practice that too.

    Declination is important, but in the UK at the moment Grid North and Magnetic North are almost the same so I wouldn't concentrate too much on that until you've got the hang of the basics. If you're in Canada or other foreign parts its hugely important.

    Is this for on water use? Changes the thought process slightly as it can be harder to keep track of distance, but concentrate on things like the bearing the river is running in, features like steep slopes, wooded areas, buildings. Understanding contours (close together = steep, wide apart = not steep) is very useful and is sometimes off putting to the beginner. Spotting the difference between a valley and a ridge, for instance, can be crucial. Counting contours per kilometre can even give you an idea of the likely difficulty of the river. If it falls hundreds of metres, you're going to get waterfalls!!

    On lakes, it can be quite difficult to identify where you are, you need to be thinking about the angles/bearings of obvious distant objects like hill tops, church spires etc etc. One will help, but a bearing on two or more places will allow you to judge where the "sight lines" from those places cross. Really useful things to look for are things like streams entering/leaving lakes, rocky bluffs, and areas of woodland. Building too, if you're not in the wilds.

    I'd get out on foot, with a map and compass, and go to a hillside with good visibility. Get the map out in front of you, and compare what you are seeing on the ground with that in print - go over lots of detail, follow roads, railways, rivers etc, looking at the features along them. Work both ways - from map to reality and vice versa. E.g. first look for a village or hill or something, then try and find it on the map - see how it lies within the land, are there slopes nearby that you can recognise on the map. Later, do it the other way round - find an object on the map, then look for it. Apart from anything else, I find it fascinating!

    Also, get your local Ordnance Survey map and simply study it. As you presumably know the area a bit from driving around, it will help familiarise yourself with how it looks on the map. Note how hill you drive up look in terms of contours, steep ones and shallow ones, how valleys look etc, etc.

    Most importantly, have fun. YOu'll soon see that maps give you so much information that you can plan your route AND learn more about the country around you. I love 'em.
    Covering as many malmiles as possible before being distracted by the pub!

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    Map reading is as time absorbing as any good novel. I can spend hours just pouring over maps, planning trips etc. Your off to a good start asking questions on here, you will find a lot of kindred spirits.
    Big Al.

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    and the last river been poisoned
    and the last fish been caught
    will we realise we cannot eat money.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Al. View Post
    Map reading is as time absorbing as any good novel. I can spend hours just pouring over maps, planning trips etc. Your off to a good start asking questions on here, you will find a lot of kindred spirits.
    Indeed. I'm amazingly excited about the fact I've just ordered some paper maps a new part of Scandinavia to me...and the fact it took ages to work out which ones I needed was actually enjoyable too.
    Covering as many malmiles as possible before being distracted by the pub!

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    Maps are now just another (nice) hobby.... Canīt remember the last time I didnīt get a precise gps/glonnas signal, even here in the 3rd world!!.....Maybe in 1987...... Have fun!!
    Tony BR
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    Past 20 years teaching Biology!
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    The only thing I would add is develop a sense of scale.......get to know what half an hours walk looks like on a maps at different scales, saves you constantly stopping to look at the map, look for those visual waypoints with a good map in areas with plenty of features your compass will almost be redundant. Like everyone else says get out with a map.
    I would also add maps are brilliant and interesting and intellectually stimulating but from a purely practical point of view a mapping GPS (dedicated not Phone based) is a winner, especially with a map as back up.
    All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

  10. #10
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    Ultimate navigation manual by Lyle Brotherton - excellent handbook by someone who really does know his stuff, and can communicate that knowledge well too! It's what I recommend to aspirant mountain rescue team members if their navigation needs a bit of work before they join up.

    Some practical tips from observing others: always orientate the map to the compass, so you don't make the ground fit the map. Have a mental map of your journey and tick significant waypoints off as you pass them. That way you should have a rough idea of where you are on the map at any point. Don't worry about getting lost, learn to recognise when you're off route and have some methods of relocating yourself or escape strategies. And practice!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Per View Post
    Can anyone recommend a good idiot's guide on map reading and navigation?

    My ability to find where I am is severely limited when I can't get a good data signal on my phone.
    there are plenty of GPS/mapping apps where you can pre-load maps so you don't need a data signal, just a GPS signal - have a look at Orux Maps

    that said, maps & learning to read them is very rewarding in its own right

  12. #12
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    Cheers guys, lots of reading and playing with maps to do.

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    Sone great advice / links above. My only addition would be when looking for features outside, always look for those that don't change (e.g. mountain size / shape, rivers) as opposed to any transient features (buildings, roads, telephone box, etc).

    Like many, I really enjoy looking at maps both physical & electronic (Memory Map) and have 'planned' many walks that way, both those actually done and those imagined from an armchair!
    Death is natures way of telling you to slow down.

  14. #14
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    On the subject of maps and guides; Jewels666 had a really rather neat little guide book about the river wye. Does anyone know where one might find said book? Oh and Hi per, sorry for hijacking your thread.
    Don't hate the player just hate the game!

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    Quote Originally Posted by PUD' View Post
    On the subject of maps and guides; Jewels666 had a really rather neat little guide book about the river wye. Does anyone know where one might find said book? Oh and Hi per, sorry for hijacking your thread.
    the EA one?:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/upload...11bujd-e-e.pdf

  16. #16
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    That's the one aannddyyhh. Without wishing to sound overly daft - do you know where one might order a copy?
    Don't hate the player just hate the game!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by PUD' View Post
    That's the one aannddyyhh. Without wishing to sound overly daft - do you know where one might order a copy?
    Amazon have it:

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wye-Canoe-C.../dp/1844329143

    or direct from the EA:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/public...-the-river-wye

  18. #18
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    I have a well thumbed book, Mountain Craft and Leadership book by Eric Langmuir, it has a section on navigation.

    Best really to start without a GPS just using a compass a map and what is between your ears.
    Cheers
    Tim


    Paddles a Prospector

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by PUD' View Post
    That's the one aannddyyhh. Without wishing to sound overly daft - do you know where one might order a copy?
    You could just print it from the .pdf link above.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian Cooper View Post
    You could just print it from the .pdf link above.
    I could but alas no computer or printer at home. So I'll order one from amazon. Cheers folks.
    Don't hate the player just hate the game!

  21. #21

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    Don't read about it - get out and do it!

    I'd recommend something along the lines of a NNAS course or the Hill Skills sessions from MLT or look up any local BEL/Lowland Leader in your area - you might have a local walking group or similar. They are normally open to taking you out for some quality tuition without breaking the bank (they might even do it for the cost of a pub lunch - I know I've done it before! )

    Then use the books etc as a back up and reminder. Lyle Brotherton's Ultimate Navigation Manual is a pretty strong one as a starter for 10.

    I've recently been experimenting with a few groups using "Natural Navigation" methods to increase their situational awareness and hone their observation skills - it makes the transition to map & compass work a bit easier as they are more attuned to taking in their surroundings etc - check it out - http://www.naturalnavigator.com/

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