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So, yesterday, I was steeped in discussion with a young associate of mine. He was prying me for information about what I, personally, would do should an apocalyptic SHTF scenario unfold (on a national level).

We started discussing the pros and cons of hunkering down at home versus bugging out. I told him I would be departing on foot were the situation truly bad. He then asked me how I would be navigating. I told him, "My maps and my compass". With a befuddled look on his face, he looked at me and responded, "How would that help you?".

Right away, I knew he was not experienced with map reading nor land navigation techniques (using a compass). I asked him if he had any maps. He replied, "No, not really". I asked him if he knew how to use compass. He replied, "No, I'm confused by it all". I downloaded and printed the U.S. Army FM on Land Navigation and handed to him stating, "Here's your start. Read it. Learn it. Know it".


I then directed him to the USGO Topo Maps website.

I cannot stress enough the importance of knowing land navigation let alone having the correct maps on hand (if for no other reason than in the event you may need them).
 

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You did the right thing. Long ago some people would admit "I have a poor sense of direction". Today, the poor sense of direction is partially overcome by the GPS and other navigational devices. The draw back is when the GPS breaks or some other failure.... these folks are totally lost. And, unfortunately, the day the SHTF, these are the people who will drive around in circles or simply stop and block roadways.

Having TOPO maps and a compass will only be of use to those who have them and can use them correctly.

A side note - Last month I bought up some used compasses. One just did not "feel" right. Eventually I sat 4 compasses on my desk to compare them. To my surprise.... one compass was 180 degrees out from the other 3. It was returned and the factory replaced it. In a bad situation a compass like that could prove to be fatal.

Hobo
 

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There are a few reasons why I'm glad I started my military career in the Infantry, one of them being the thoroughness of the land navigation training. We did so much of it that I can teach it from memory or go years without doing it and jump right into it without a hitch. If one is proficient enough with a map, compass, and protractor, it makes learning GPS and FBCB2 even easier. When I left the Infantry, no more land navigation training except for mobilizations. In the cavalry they all use BFT, in maintenance they use Google Earth.

So TABA, when are you going to run your associate through the actual course? I'm assuming there will be at least four legs, at least 400m each, with obstacles so he'll have to adjust his pace count, and a night course? DI5
 

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A year or so ago I went to a web company be the name of "MyTopo.com: You can make your own maps/aerial/satellite creations there. And you can select your own locales, map scales, final sizes and map material there. They then print and mail them to you.

In the case of the "Google type" satellite photos...well they seem to be more current than what you get just googling google maps.

I don't remember the cost now but I got one satellite image 36" x 48" and with a scale that covers an area about 3/4 x 1 mile around my semi rural area. Later I got some maps and satellite photos of a more remote nearby area and am very happy with them all!

Could be very useful in certain unforeseen circumstances!
 

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You did the right thing. Long ago some people would admit "I have a poor sense of direction". Today, the poor sense of direction is partially overcome by the GPS and other navigational devices. The draw back is when the GPS breaks or some other failure.... these folks are totally lost. And, unfortunately, the day the SHTF, these are the people who will drive around in circles or simply stop and block roadways.

Having TOPO maps and a compass will only be of use to those who have them and can use them correctly.

A side note - Last month I bought up some used compasses. One just did not "feel" right. Eventually I sat 4 compasses on my desk to compare them. To my surprise.... one compass was 180 degrees out from the other 3. It was returned and the factory replaced it. In a bad situation a compass like that could prove to be fatal.

Hobo

I had one semi-expensive compass reverse itself like that in the past- when I took it back to the outdoor store, I had some difficulty explaining to the girl on customer service what the problem was because, as she pointed out, the white end of the needle was now consistently pointing north. I never did figure out what could have caused the reversal- when I've talked to experts they've just shrugged and said 'it happens.' I've had other good quality compasses just lose all their polarity all together, totally demagnetized. I check the ones I have regularly.

Another issue is that when you find yourself totally lost in the big boonie, you can get in an argument with yourself about which end of the needle is intended to indicate north. That happened to me when I was a young kid and, also having heard of other cases, I make sure to scratch on something on the body of the compass like "red = north" if there's any possibility of confusion.
 

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Got curiouser and curiouser about the compass reversal thing and after a few denial sites ("it can't happen, the needle is sticking you fool"), finally found a reasonable explanation for it. And back at the time of my big quality compass's reversal, I do remember my partner and I wondering if the numerous strong magnetic fields we were passing through on a daily basis weren't having an effect on our watches and similar stuff (they had become totally unreliable) , a compass is obviously more susceptible than a quartz watch by its very nature:

http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=5385
 
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Learned about using a compass at about 5. Learned how useful it is when "lost."

The techono crowd will be hurting when SHTF

How is a GPS going to work after a EMP, the bats go dead, or you have no service due to terrain? AND your CELL PHONE has no service!!!!

WAAAAYYYY!!!!

P.S Can you find the North Star?
 
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Exactly Gents.

He kept telling me his electronics (battery operated and rechargeable) would be saved by his Faraday cage thus he could use his electronic devices (for navigational purposes) well after SHTF starts (up to 90 days or more he said).

I asked him where his SHTF electronics were at that very moment. He pointed to his bug out bag/backpack located in his vehicle's front seat. I asked, "I see no Faraday cage... I guess when your proverbial EMP hits unbeknownst to you... your electronics will be dead in the water and you'll be wishing you had a compass/land navigation equipment".

He simply looked at me... speechless.

LOL!
 

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I was in CAV and we lived with our maps. The worst place for me was on top of Manning Mountain (Fort Hood, TX) in the woods where one couldn't see terrain features. In a moving tank then, a compass was near useless with the armor.
 
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