Tag Archives: navigation

Finding Waypoints

Here is the map of the locations of the waypoints to find. At each point there is a yellow label with the name of a person or place from forest history that is prominent in theĀ America’s First Forest documentary.

Compass Tips

Finding directions with a compass takes a lot of practice. But once you get it, it’s something you never forget. Here are a few tips:

1. Hold the compass level so the needle can swing freely. This is true for any model of compass.
2. When you are sighting keep both eyes open. If you squint one eye, the other will close partially too.
3. Make sure you are familiar with the bezel scale. What is the smallest unit you can read? It’s really easy to make incorrect readings.
4. Think of the line going through the compass as your line of travel. Everything lines up on this.
5. Decide when you start work if you will be using true north or magnetic north and stick with it for the whole project.
6. If you are sighting from a marker or range pole, stand back from the pole and line yourself up with the next point. Think of the direction as an extended line.

Compass practice forest mapping

Can you think of other best practices?

Using the compass


The Silva compass is a versatile tool. No forester should go into the field without a good compass. Unlike a GPS receiver it will always work. Here are a few things to keep in mind when using a compass:

— Keep it level so the needle can rotate freely.
— Avoid big belt buckles and other sources of local attraction.
— Don’t squint when sighting with the mirror.
— Relax. you will get better readings with practice and confidence.

First entry

The first class is Wednesday. I think we will start with how to use a compass. We have been using Silva Ranger compasses for a long time. They are very sturdy in the field and work well with maps. Here is a link to the Silva site and some tutorial information they have posted. It’s concise, but covers the important points.