Geocaching @ Adventureland: Find Your True North


Find Your True North In Any Getaway Destination With a Compass

The compass, an old school navigational too quickly switched recently to GPS, or Global Positioning System. For anyone traveling to an unfamiliar destination to enjoy his vacation time, ivesting in a GPS device is actually worthwhile in order to help in new territories navigation. Also, a GPS unit will surely keep you from lots of headaches when you get suddenly lost during your outdoor activities like hiking, modern treasure hunt known as geocaching, outdoor camping…

It is still a good idea for hikers to learn how to use a compass as they are often far less expensive than a GPS device. GPS units do not work in every area so you may very well find yourself in need of an old-fashioned compass at some point.

Compasses date back to a few centuries ago when it was discovered that the Earth’s magnetic field was responsible for turning a piece of metal floating on a leaf in certain directions. That knowledge eventually brought us the modern compass available today, which can be quite sophisticated.

A quality compass will provide a detailed and accurate set of degree lines. The circular dial comprises a key element; the Magnetic Needle that is a two end pointing element. One end indicates North and the other end pointing South. The end that points North is most of the time red painted to totally distinguish it from the tip pointing South. However, the magnetic declination keeps most from indicating the true Geographic North due to considerable amount of ore under the the Earth. While quite a few compasses enable you to readjust the deviation, you will need to refer to a roadmap to figure out the scale to which it is best to correct your compass.

The deviation for almost all spots is minimal. Usually, you are mainly concerned with your general direction and not the exact direction. If you are traveling for a holiday trip, for instance, your goal is probably just to get to the landmark or general vicinity of the target destination.

A good way to learn how to use a compass is to become familiar with some basic knowledge in combination with what you will see on the dial. Since the sun rises in the East and sets in the West, you can easily determine the East-West directions. When you face the sunlight early in the day, you will be facing the East, or at least approximately. Likewise, if you face the sunlight later in the day, you will be facing west. Of course, your latitude can cause this to vary so keep in mind that this is not definitive.

This should go without saying, but obviously the East is to your back when you are facing west and vice versa. You should now draw an imaginary line in that direction and compare it to the compass. No reading can be absolute, the more information you have is always better. Whenever you are moving around along twisting routes, for instance, you can end up disoriented. Being always aware of the direction of your travel can often be of a fantastic help.

Now that you are more familiar with your compass, navigate your way to new, self-catering vacation spot and put it to use!