Navigation with Map and Compass


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Peak to Peak Trail and Wilderness Links
Peak to Peak Trail and Wilderness Links


This is a subject near and dear to my heart. You see, as a NCO in the Army, I have literally taught over a thousand people how to navigate using a map, protractor, compass, and the brain God gave them.  I personally have built or re-built two courses for the Army, and have taught these techniques for woods, desert, and steep mountain like terrain. I have worked with US Army soldiers, kids, and even FBI Agents to impart these skills. So I speak as what I would consider an expert on teaching these skills.

Teaching is a  process of interaction between the teacher ant the pupil, so the internet puts us at a disadvantage. If any of the information on this site is unclear to you, please contact me and ask. If it is unclear to you, it may also be so to someone else, so I'll want to do what I can to clear it up for others.

That said, I intend to break this down into separate lessons. I'll write them as I go, so if you see something missing, come back later. It will eventually get posted.


1. Equipment you will need.

2. Get to know your compass.

3. Read a map - Part 1 (map data).

4. Read a map - Part 2 (terrain).

5. Read a map - Part 3 (determine angle and distance).

6. Read a map - Part 4 (determine your location).

7. Pace and azimuth.

8. Land Navigation - Part 1 (simple navigation)

9. Land Navigation - Part 2 (complex navigation)

10. Land Navigation - Part 3 (Advanced land navigation)

11. Night Land Navigation.

Some text and the graphics in this section are borrowed from Army FM 21-26 Map Reading and Land Navigation. It is a great source of information if you care to dig through the whole thing.