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COMPASSES
Big Game Hunting topics that dont fit other categories
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watchmaker
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2007 8:45 am    Post subject: Re: COMPASSES Reply with quote

I have been twice engolfed in FOG so thick that was like pea soup and could not see the trees 12 feet in front of me.

If were not for the compass I will not have known in which direction to walk out.

Watchmaker
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watchmaker
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2007 8:46 am    Post subject: Re: COMPASSES Reply with quote

MAP COMPASS AND GPS
USING THE UTM GRID

A GPS is a great navigation tool. Among others things it can tell where you are on hearth which was the main concern for earlier navigators of the Spanish and Portuguese navies, until reliable navigation tools such as the sextant were invented.

Land navigation and exploration was also the province of the sextant; it was used in the jungles with an artificial horizon (a separate glass case containing mercury), and the star to drop down was the sun, as the readings were taken during the day as tree canopy made night reading almost impossible.

Today a small gadget called GPS can do the same for us in only a few minutes. The tool can give us our position on a map using Latitude and Longitude, UTM, military grid, or user grid.

It can do this during the day or night, with clouds or storm, best of all the GPS can fit even in a small pocket, the new units are more accurate than ever and can pin point your position with an accuracy of a few feet.
This position can be plot in a topographic map if you have a latitude/longitude ruler or even eyeballed, if the map is provided with a UTM grid or military grid.

Most new topographic maps now are provided with an UTM grid (Universal transverse Mercator) which is based on the metric system. In this system the latitude is measured in meters north or south of the Equator, and the longitude from meters from the center of a zone, of course the names change and the longitude is called Eastings and the latitude Northings.





In our map you can see an X named start and another X named finish. The place marked finish is where we left the quads on the side of the trail to climb up to Blenheim Hill early that morning. The purpose was to check the creek for trout and scout the area adjacent to the top of the hill.

The reading on the GPS for the place where we left the quads, was 4.700.200 meters North (you use the margin of the map scale) and 541,100 meters East from zone 18 (you use the scale in the top of the map). The first two numbers are the Zone and do not count as meters.
As we had spent two days using the GPS on others locations the gadget was getting very low on battery juice, so we decided to navigate by compass and save the batteries to take readings of the position of interesting places only.

By the end of the day and very tired we found ourselves near the unimproved road that lead to the road next to the cemetery. A reading of our position with the GPS using the UTM system indicated that we were 4,700.000 meters north of the Equator and 539,400 meters east of the zone 18, (see how easy is to count meters in the 1,000 squares with the tick’s marks in the margin of the map counting for 100 meters each).
Tracing a line from start to finish and measuring the degrees with the compass (used as a protractor and disregarding the magnetic needle) gave us a direction to go 80 degrees and 1700 meters for distance, (but the GPS already told us that).
The trek was on okay -terrain slopping downhill and we had to be careful with our footing only in the last 350 meters downhill to the quads.

The other option was to take the road going to the one near the cemetery (1300 meters) walk on that road passing by the ruins of the School until the next trail left (1900 meters) and walk uphill about 1,000 meter to the quads, a total of 4,200 meters.

In a heavy forest with no landmarks and not elevation to take triangulations readings with a compass, it is impossible to know where you are, the GPS can give you your exact position day or night and you can plot that position in the map using the Universal Transverse Mercator grid.

You can do that also with the Longitude and Latitude, but you have to prepare your map (with a different grid) and have a latitude and longitude ruler to measure your position. As GPS’s are easily adjusted for the UTM grid, it is the most convenient and easiest to use of all the grids.

In this explanation we have used the three tools to complement each other, the map, GPS and compass, and demonstrated that finding a road at the end of the day, it is not the shortest route for traveling to your destination; it also demonstrated that you don’t have to be glued to your GPS (as I see many people in the woods doing) to get your money worth out of the gadget.
Best wishes
Watchmaker
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Deleted_User_2665
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2007 7:00 pm    Post subject: Re: COMPASSES Reply with quote

watchmaker wrote:
I have been twice engolfed in FOG so thick that was like pea soup and could not see the trees 12 feet in front of me.

If were not for the compass I will not have known in which direction to walk out.

Watchmaker

Yep....

Lottsa reasons to need a compass rather than "horse sense" or whatever it was called.....

Fog as you say, blinding snow storms, monsoonesque rainstorms....all impeed ones ability to navigate by landmarks and instinct.

If GPS doesn't work very well in a thickly timbered canopy...then I can't imagine it fairing better in crappy weather.

A map, compass and the ability to use them really is the smartest route to take......pun there.
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watchmaker
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2007 7:43 am    Post subject: Re: COMPASSES Reply with quote

AREA, LINE, AND POINT POSITION

In my previous post I marked my point position and the point position of the quads on the map with the help of the GPS and the UTM grid on the map.
That pin point of location is called point position, and should be the goal of every traveler in the wilderness to know about his point position; after all you could be lying down with a broken leg unable to move and in need of rescue.
Line position is when you know that you are on a feature on the map but cannot pin point your exact location, let’s say you know you are somewhere along the river, road, ridge, trail or compass bearing, but you don’t know exactly where.

Area position is when you know you are in a general area on the map; your goal should be to know at all times where you are on the map, and if you can tell your point position the better, you never know when you may need to summons help (over your cell phone or radio) and need to tell them exactly where you are.

Now we are going to try to mark our point position with the help of our compass and map alone, no GPS this time to help us out.
To accomplish this you need a map with an UTM grid. Since 1989 all new maps are printed with the UTM grid. If your map doesn’t have it you can trace it by the ticks’ marks on the edges of map using a yard stick and a pencil.
For compass and map work I recommend you spend a few dollars more and buy one with the adjustable declination scale, I use the Suunto M-5SK (smoke killer) but there are others in the market that have this convenient feature.
That way, when you are taking or plotting readings from the compass the values will be in geographic North and you will not have to be doing mathematics factoring the declination on your calculations.

Also forget about using lensatic or prismatic compasses, its readings are in magnetic and don’t have a base plate that can be used as a protractor like in the Silva system. To use lensatic and prismatic compasses with maps you will also need to carry a protractor to measure the angles and convert the magnetic readings to true North by adding or subtracting the declination, something that you don’t want to do when you are under pressure or confused by cold or stress.

The Silva system is a compass, protractor, measuring device, ruler, straight- edge and even (as in the case of the M-5SK and others) a magnifying glass.
If you rather use the compass that you already have, and it is a base plate compass or one with transparent base, you can mark your declination with a piece of white label like the one in this picture.



Just remember to place the compass magnetic needle in top of that mark to compensate for the declination.

It will be good if before entering the woods you can count with a base line; the base line could be the road where you left your car, a river, a power line or any other feature that is marked on the map and goes for a long way, that way you always have the option of trying to reach your base line if you are running out of daylight.

USE HANDRAILS IF YOU CAN

A handrail is a feature that is marked on the map. A trail, river, or other geographic feature that goes in the direction you want to go. When you are in a handrail, you are in a line of position. If you know you are on the trail or next to the creek, to find your point position you just need another feature that is on the map from where you can take a compass back bearing in the field.
Let’s say you see a hill in the distance that is also marked on the map. Take a back bearing with your compass to that hill, you know how to do that, you point the compass direction of travel arrow to the hill and rotate the capsule until the SOUTH END of the magnetic needle is “boxed” in the declination arrow.
Yes, for a back bearing use the SOUTH end of the magnetic needle, not the NORTH end.
Read the degrees at the junction of the bezel and line of travel arrow, and plot that in your map.

HOW TO PLOT

Let’s say that the back bearing you took to the hill is 80 degrees, don’t move the compass capsule to change that reading, place the long edge of the base plate of the compass on the hill that is on the map, and the direction of travel arrow toward your position (the river in this case), make sure the NORTH on the compass is toward the top of the map and then rotate the entire compass (not the capsule) until the North lines scribed in the base plate are parallel with the NORTH lines on the grid of the map.
For map work, always disregard the magnetic needle, you are using your compass as a protractor and measuring angles.
A line traced at the edge of the compass from the hill toward the river, will cross the river at the exact point where you are located, this is your point position. And now you can even read the coordinates of that position from the UTM grid, and tell any rescue party the UTM values of where you are.

TRIANGULATION
This you will have to do when you know only that you are in a general area of your map, your area position.
To get your point position you need two features that are shown in the map from where you can take back bearing in the field. Let’s say you are lucky and you see two hills that are also in the map and at more or less right angles. Take a back bearing on one and plot it in the map, now you are in a line of position, you are somewhere along that line. Take a back bearing on the other hill and plot it in the map, where the two lines cross, there is your point position.
Triangulation works even better when you use three features to take back bearings.

AREA POSITION

If you are in a featureless area with no hills, radio towers, power lines or other help for your triangulation, at least you should have been smart enough to look at your map often and noticed the changes in the topography.
You must know if you passed the hills that are in your map and how long ago, you must know if you are in a flat area and nearing an elevation change in the terrain or if the terrain starts to slope downhill. Based on these clues you will have an idea of what your area position is. With luck the chopper will look for you only in a reduced area of one kilometer based on the coordinates from the UTM grid that you will transmit over the phone or radio.


POINT POSITION AGAIN

Let’s give here one example of point position using a real map, and a figured scenario so you understand how important point position is even if you are not interested in marking your tree stand on the map.

Let’s say I am exploring the top of B-----g Ridge in the Adirondacks, this is a ridge that encompasses many miles and even knowing I was there, I didn’t know where I was exactly.
To the West I can see the peak of S--d Pont Mountain, one of the tallest in the area.



Presently, I spotted in the forest floor something flashing in the sunshine and in picking that up; I held in my hands a pair of prescription eye glasses.
In further looking around I discovered a human skeleton dressed in the remains of orange hunting clothes. A rusty rifle near by confirmed my assessment that the unfortunate bones belonged to a hunter.
Looking at the back of his jacket remains I found a license tag protected by a transparent license holder, as the tags are made of weather and tear resistant material they have survived quite well the estimate three or four years of exposure to the elements.



In my pack I had some orange surveyor tape and I marked the area with it, then I took out my compass and took a back bearing to the top of S--d Pond Mountain, the back bearing is taken with the SOUTH part of the needle because you want the bearing FROM the mountain to your position. You can also take a direct bearing but then when plotting it in the map the direction of travel arrow should be pointing to the MOUNTAIN instead of from the Mountain to your position.
I like to do the back bearing, because if I were using a regular protractor the numbers to my position will be the back bearing numbers.

The back bearing indicates a 95 degrees direction from the top of the mountain, so I placed the compass with one long edge on the peak of the Mountain, and the direction of travel arrow toward the B----g Ridge, making sure that the NORTH part of the compass points toward the NORTH part of the map.
I rotated the whole compass by the base plate (I don’t touch the capsule or change the setting in the bezel) until the lines inscribed in the base of the capsule are parallel to the North lines on the map.
Now the edge of the base-plate is passing over my exact position on the Ridge. I traced a pen line to connect the two points, and placed an X in the map to mark my discovery.

As I had to be back in New York City next morning for a court hearing, it is no way I was going to be bringing a party here to the top of the ridge, or getting further involved in this matter, so late that afternoon on my way back to New York I dropped an envelope in the police headquarters with a note of explanation, the marked map and the hunting tags of the corpse.
By the UTM grid they can get the exact location in Easterns and Northings and transfer that to a GPS equipped chopper and effectuate the recovery as well, or better, that if I were there to direct them.

All the best

Watchmaker
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ElyBoy
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2007 8:13 pm    Post subject: Re: COMPASSES Reply with quote

Don't take me wrong Watchmaker, but many of the old woodsmen that I knew and taught me how to navigate in the woods, used the same stuff as you do, without getting so complicated.
Most of those guys never got out of Middle School.
Like I say, keep it simple, and you will always get out of the woods.

Remember--- You can ALWAYS point the hour hand of your watch towards the sun. Halfway between the hour hand and twelve o'clock will be due south, UNLESS you live in Australia. Smile

Eric

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2007 8:27 pm    Post subject: Re: COMPASSES Reply with quote

I don't know a whole lot about UTM, but it sounds like a European solution to a non-existent problem.

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watchmaker
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2007 8:24 pm    Post subject: Re: COMPASSES Reply with quote

ElyBoy wrote:
Don't take me wrong Watchmaker, but many of the old woodsmen that I knew and taught me how to navigate in the woods, used the same stuff as you do, without getting so complicated.
Most of those guys never got out of Middle School.
Like I say, keep it simple, and you will always get out of the woods.

Remember--- You can ALWAYS point the hour hand of your watch towards the sun. Halfway between the hour hand and twelve o'clock will be due south, UNLESS you live in Australia. Smile

Eric

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 8:03 pm    Post subject: Re: COMPASSES Reply with quote

Great thread watchmaker: I've never even come close to getting lost in the woods (some people just have that compass built in). Last time I got lost was at Dallas Fortworth trying to get back to the terminal with the rental car and I even had a GPS aboard. It took me two and a half hours to get back to the terminal to pu the rest of the crew that came in on a later flight. I do better in the woods. So people can get lost in their back yard, so I keep up the great post. The GPS along with Google Earth is the greatest tool for scouting public lands and being able to locate the pinch points and natural pathways right from your desk at home. Two of the best spots I have found lately came from scanning the area in google earth then transfering the coordinates to my gps and walking directly to them. Keep up the good work.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 11:01 pm    Post subject: Re: COMPASSES Reply with quote

Maps are good for planing. Beyound that I don't trust them. I've followed a guy into the woods with a map and had to "hunt" my way out. As long as there is a sun or moon I'm good. I guess it's that natural compass things. My grandpa always said don't trust people with a compass.

My brother is one of those people who can't find their way home in a town he grew up in. Me on the other hand was dropped at Fallen Leaf Lake when I was about 10 and told to find the truck with my parents in toe. To get down to the lake we spent about an hour on various trails. To get back I decided about where we were and headed for it. I was off by about 50 feet.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 11:40 pm    Post subject: Re: COMPASSES Reply with quote

rdncktink wrote:
Maps are good for planing. Beyound that I don't trust them. I've followed a guy into the woods with a map and had to "hunt" my way out.

A professionally made Topographical map is good. When a cartographer is putting a map together he uses every resource available to him, satellite pics, aerial photos and the Mk 1 Eyeball, to ensure the accuracy of the map.....this includes walking areas that he feels necessary. The other thing about a topo map is that you have the date of production and other pertinent info in the border of the map that tells you pretty much everything you need to know....including the magnetic variation.

A map doesn't lie, and assuming that you have looked after your compass, it won't either. All you need to know is how to use them both....and practice it. Sounds like the guy you followed didn't know how to use either correctly.

Cheers, Vince



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 12:06 am    Post subject: Re: COMPASSES Reply with quote

The guy said he was good at it. I think that what the problem was, was that he didn't take into account that the lake was about 10 feet lower than normal and he was still following the lake like the map said.
Now I've been trained on how to follow a map and use a compass. And I'm okay at it, but I still trust myself more than compass. I do use a map and follow land marks more.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 12:11 am    Post subject: Re: COMPASSES Reply with quote

Nothing wrong with doing "Map to Ground" navigating, so long as you are totally certain where you are to start off with and you also know your map, its symbols, what you are doing and measure your distances walked accurately.

Like you I prefer Map to Ground, but I always carry a compass and check it regularly and I count paces where necessary. Also, my bounds are realistic in length and I do a nav check everytime I change direction.

Cheers, Vince

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 4:18 pm    Post subject: Re: COMPASSES Reply with quote

I know many people that claim can read a topo map and use a compass. Many of them can't even use a road map in my experience though. Laughing

I ordered 2 days ago along with a pack/frame and a few other camping/hunting items one of these for the heck of it:



Quote::
MAPTOOLS SUPER GTAâ„¢
MGRS/UTM COORDINATE GRID READER" & "PROTRACTOR
The SUPER GTA is an improved version of the military Graphic Training Aid 5-2-12 Coordinate Scale and Protractor used by United States and NATO military forces around the world. By using a slot on one side of the tool for access to the map, the tool can be more compact than the traditional GTA tool. The tool features several additional map scales, including 1:24,000, which is the most common topographic map scale found within the United States. The 1:100,000 scale now spans 5km grid lines, making it much more usable. Plus, the overall dimensions is the size of a CD, easially fitting into a pocket. The inner protractor is marked in degrees and the outer protractor is in mils.

Never used one before but saw them refered to in a few military manuals so I decided to pick one up. Smile

Dimitri

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 7:02 pm    Post subject: Re: COMPASSES Reply with quote

Is it me, or is everybody getting too complicated around here??? wtf wtf wtf
I should start a new post on what finger a guy should use to wipe his rear end.
I'll bet all of the rocket scientists will come out of the woodwork on THAT one. Pictures and all. Very Happy


Eric Confused Confused wtf wtf wtf Confused

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2007 12:49 am    Post subject: Re: COMPASSES Reply with quote

Great pictures 'Watchmaker', unfortunately to many words to read.
My GPS works best in the 'Vibrate' mode.
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