Kayak Lake Mead's Map & Compass Course
Navigation is defined as keeping track of your position as you move away from a known point. There are two ways to do that, (1) move your thumb along the map as you move and interpret terrain which is not always practical and or (2) know distance traveled, time elapsed, and your estimated speed.
Tools: map, compass, watch, altimeter, something to write with, something to keep your maps dry
Table of Contents: Indicates video. Update info in ( ).
Learn to interpret the contour lines and therefore the terrain of a topographic map.
Learn to estimate distance and time over rough terrain, on bike roads, across the desert, and in the mountains.
Learn to use distance, time, and pace to determine your position.
Learn some uses of an altimeter for navigation in the mountains and in
Learn the use of a declination adjustable compass, the difference between compass bearing and your course, and how to orient the map to the ground. (updated 13 October 2011)
Convert bearing measurements from map to terrain and from terrain to map. (updated 13 October 2011)
Learn to orient yourself, the map, and the ground with your compass. (updated 13 October 2011)
Learn to use your compass to find your position using bearings to two or more known points, using one point and a linear feature, and by the bearing of the linear feature you're on. Also, learn to use a handrail. (updated 13 October 2011)
On open water learn to use LOP's (line of positions) and ranges and in a canyon learn to use the bearing of the river itself.
Learn to break up your course into manageable legs, use handrails on the water, use a point on the horizon, and use ranges in line with the horizon.
At night you must have a more detailed plan. Use shorter legs, use the horizon, and use handrails.
Learn to read and plot Universal Transverse Mercator coordinates. (updated 13 October 2011)
Design you own topo maps, i.e. define the center and margins. These maps are waterproof and tear resistant, and delivered to your door via UPS. (updated 13 October 2011)
GPS units are wonderful and sometimes very needed devices. But, they can't always be there for you. Learn to navigate by map and compass. The navigational articles in this website provide practical applications of using maps with compass, watch, and altimeter - application of kayak navigation, mountain bike navigation, navigation while on foot.
Principles discussed in the course:
Estimating Time and Distance
Using Distance, Time, and Pace
Practical Applications for Using Altimeters
Taking and Plotting Bearings
Orienting Yourself to Map and Ground
Finding your Position Using a Compass
Navigation on Lakes and Rivers
Night Navigation on Land
Night Navigation on Water
Working with UTM Grid Coordinates