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The Bushwalker's Guide to the Galaxy Home Page
An Introduction to the Bushwalker's Guide to the Galaxy
Improvised Angle Measuring Techniques
Finding Reference Directions from your Surroundings
by Alan Sheehan B.E.
What do we need to know in order to navigate?
Firstly we need to know where we are. If we know that, we are fine. If we don’t, then we have to do some navigation in order to find out. That may mean doing some map reading to try to pinpoint our location on the map, or it may mean that we need to travel in a particular direction to either find a place we know, or a place we can navigate from.
Secondly, we need to know where we want to go. If we are truly lost, that is we really don’t know where we are (consider being the survivor of an aircraft crash in a remote area), we might initially travel to some place that will give us a better chance of being able navigate or a better chance of being found.
The third thing we need to know is a reference direction. The most common reference direction people are familiar with is “North”. Compass bearings are measured from “north”. But really, any known direction will do fine for a reference direction as long as we know what it is and can identify it.
The fourth thing we need to know is how to measure angles, so that we can convert our reference direction into a bearing that we can travel on, and also so we can choose new reference directions as required.
The last thing we need to know to be able to navigate, is to be able to measure or estimate distances. This is so we can estimate how far we have travelled on any given bearing.
This can be summed up as follows:
Death before Disorientation!