Map & Compass (PE 2282)
Ron Watters, Professor of Outdoor Education
Sports Science and Physical Education
Idaho State University
PE 2282 - 1 Credit (Fall Semester)
PE 4491 - 1 Credit (Summer Workshop)
Brief Description: The use of map and compass is one of the most basic of outdoor skills. This class is designed to provide enough information and practical experience that students will feel comfortable with land navigation techniques. Topics covered include: map symbols, contour line identification, Universal Transverse Mercator Coordinate System, township and range surveying system, latitude and longitude, map scales, declination, resection and map and field bearings. During the class students go on three map and compass courses.
The Map & Compass Course will be held at the following times and places:
FRIDAY, October 7. 7:00 - 10:00 PM. Meet at the Outdoor Adventure Office, downstairs Student Union Building.
SATURDAY, October 8. 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM. Meet at the Outdoor Adventure Office, downstairs Student Union Building
SUNDAY, October 9. 8:00 AM - 8:00 PM. Meet at the Outdoor Adventure Office, downstairs Student Union Building. Note that the class goes until 8:00 PM on Sunday.
Maps, compasses and other classroom materials are supplied. You'll need a notebook, pen, small pack and water. Wear clothing appropriate for the weather. Weather can change quickly in the fall, and you should bring warm clothing and rain gear if it's needed.
The following is the entire lecture (arranged in step-by-step manner) on the use of map and compass:
Below are the specific topics which are covered in the above lecture:
Map Bearings (How to determine a bearing on a map)
Applying Map Bearings to the Field (How to take a map bearing and use it in the field)
Field Bearings (How to determine a compass bearing while in the field)
There are Three Ways to Apply a Field Bearing to the Map:
Identify Landmarks (You know where you are and you want to identify one or more distant landmarks)
Find Your Location Along a Stream or Trail (You do not know where you are, but you can identify one distant landmark. This technique will pinpoint your location along a stream, trail, or ridgeline.)
Find Your Location Anywhere (You do not know where you are but can identify two distant landmarks. This technique will pinpoint your location.)
Additional Lecture Information:
Teaching Map & Compass Courses. This not a required reading assignment for the course, but if you'd like some background on the class, it provides details on my philosophy of teaching map and compass, the teaching progression I use for the class, and reasons why I cover certain types of material.
I Have My Art. This is personal story about an incident in which a map, compass and art all played a role.
Pub History: This page was originally located at the following URL: http://www.isu.edu/~wattron/Maps.html
Information on Idaho State University Outdoor Education is found here: ISU Outdoor Education
Subsidary sites with information are found here: