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While planning our next foray into Northwest Ontario next Spring, my Son and I discussed getting an updated map of the area and maybe a back up compass. We both have GPS's, but batteries can die or overcast skies can make a GPS fail to acquire. I have my old GI Lensatic compass and my Son has a state of the art one, I don't remember the manufacturer. Our map's are good, but an upgrade is cheap. I guess my point is I can't imagine not knowing how to use a map and compass and heading anywhere that is not known, especially on foot. I think if you make a practice of going into the woods not knowing how to use a map or compass your not smart enough to be allowed to vote. Think you can't get lost? Happen's to people every day. Get on a large Canadian lake loaded with islands, suddenly everywhere you look the terrain looks the same. Map reading and compass skill's are a MUST for outdoor activities such as hunting, wilderness fishing, backpacking or just kicking around in the woods.
 

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I agree. I use a GPS for a back up and for elevation measurements only. I rely on my lensatic compass for everything else.

Mike
 

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Skills everyone should have - map reading and compass use.

I get a kick out of the idiots that beleive using a compass and a map forces you to only travel in straight lines :headbang:

Being able to determine where you are is crucial.

:devil:
 

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The first tool that I learned to use when I came to be with my Dad was the map and compass. They are my best friends.

RIKA :)
 

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Terry G said:
Think you can't get lost? Happen's to people every day. Get on a large Canadian lake loaded with islands, suddenly everywhere you look the terrain looks the same. Map reading and compass skill's are a MUST for outdoor activities such as hunting, wilderness fishing, backpacking or just kicking around in the woods.
Hell some people really got screwed! They had it all planned out, their retirement from their life of crime, just like in the movies. Nice cabin in the Sierras. . .and they would up in the damn Rockies! DOH!

More kids should get into scouts, then people might see the use for maps and compasses (and know how to use them).
 

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Magnum88C said:
More kids should get into scouts, then people might see the use for maps and compasses (and know how to use them).

I certainly agree.There is one problem though.For an increasing number of kids(& big kids too!) access to wide open spaces,woods,heck-even a farm is limited by both time & distance to being a once or twice a year option.

The closest state land to me,the closest"woods" is almost 30 miles!There are a few farms closer.The only other big open spaces belong to either the railroad & the power companies ie.No Tresspassing!

It's easy to say"Go West young man!".The only problem w/that is hat it's only a practical solution for some people.It isn't something that'll help the bulk of society.I feel that more inner city kids need to be exposed to the outdoors.

A funny/grim/telling story?I live forty mile from the east coast of Lake Michigan.Has been that way for basically all of my life.I have had friends however who had never even seen the big lake.Off & on,I've tried to make it every few months.Why did I mention Lake Michigan?What does it have to do w/compasses & being outdoors?Well,if someone isn't willing,ever,to drive an hour to go swimming in a beautiful lake w/a gorgeous beach they certainly aren't going to be interested in visiting a dark,gloomy,bug infested woods w/all the wierd noises & smells.

Just my take.YMMV.
 

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I look at GPS the same a laser range finders. I do the map and compass and then verify with the GPS. If I am off, they I try to find out where I screwed up. Same goes for range finders. I do a SWAG range estimation and then check it out with the range finder. After a while you really start to understand how to judge range.
 

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Probably one of the most disorienting places I have ever been to is the New Jersey Pine Barrens. None of the miles of sandy roads go the same direction for more then 100 feet, none are labelled, and you can travel all day and not see another single soul. All within easy reach of New York and Philadelphia. One thing you learned before going in there was to have two things: (1) a compass, and (2) a full tank of gas.

I can remember one time that I SWORE that my compass had to be wrong!! There was no way I was heading in the direction it said I was..... ;)

I'm not sure doing it on foot would have been any better, but at least you wouldn't be limited to following a road. But I suspect the multitude of bogs, swamps, and swarms of mosquitoes and deer flies would make such a venture less then a pleasant outing. Not to mention hordes of ticks no bigger then the head of a pin and in an area where Lyme Disease was known to be very prevalent.

But heck it was worth it to me to find the *treasures* I was looking for. :)
 

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It is amazing how often people refuse to accept the information presented to them by instrumentation.

There was an incident involving an large jet (747? L1011?), where the flight crew was arguing over what one of the panels were telling them. In all the discussions and arguing, nobody noticed that the yoke had been bumped, so the autopilot disengaged and the alititude hold was turned off.

Because the plane gradually entered a dive, no one realized it until it was well established. They were able to pull out, but in the process of doing so, changed the wing configuration from a dihedral to an anhedral. (from the wingtips being higher than the base of the wing, to the wingtips being lower than the base of the wing)

Big oops!

Plus, the instruments had been correct.

Moral of the story:

The compass is more likely to be correct than you are...

:devil:
 

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Yeah, I'm sure you are correct. But if you have ever been to the New Jersey Pine Barrens, it is easy to conclude that there are spots in there where normal laws of physics don't apply. :)

Plus there is a perfectly reasonable explanation of why a magnetic compass might not work in some areas. The bogs of the Pine Barrens were renown for the extraction of iron, and that area is also a known source of magnetite, which I am pretty sure would screw up a compass if you were near a large amount of it.
 

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yes, things can affect compasses...

I have been guilty of not beleiving my compass, and learned a very valuable lesson. It's far more reliable than I am. :)

:devil:
 

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on my day pack is my mil compass and a watch that has a button that you push and it tells you witch way the little red arrow is pointing in directon and degrees
 

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Maps and compasses really dont help in flat open terrain such as deserts. If it wasnt for a GPS I would still be pounding sand. That said I took a GPS course for Peace Officers and Woodland ops, We carried a compass as a backup to the GPS. I carried the compass and was almost as accurate as some of the fellas with GPS's. I wasnt stumbling on top of the stakes but I was within ten meters each time or less
 

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Aries, I live on the bald ass prairie. Come on up and I'll show you how to use a map and a compass out here. You will be amazed, that I can guarantee.
 

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You'd be surprised what you can do with a compass, even in the wide open spaces (true, your margin of error can be bigger, but they are still useful) I tend to use the GPS as a backup to my compass...

:devil:
 
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