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During an era of GPS of navigation tourists often neglect the map and a compass. But it is important not to forget that the GPS receiver can't replace them, so their work doesn't require the accumulator and a signal of the satellite. The detailed topographic map and a compass still are paramount devices for navigation in the wilderness.

The compass helps to navigate with a map, to find objects and to define location. Of course, you can travel certain time and never once look at it, but if you rotate the wrong way or the storm will begin, then in this case the compass with the map suddenly will be one of the most important objects in your backpack.

Ability to navigate with a map and a compass is the major skill, especially if you travel far from roads. Let's consider further how it is correct to choose a compass.

Types of liquid compasses.

In liquid compasses as opposed to digital is used the magnetized arrow which is leveled rather magnetic field of the earth. Cases with an arrow are often filled with liquid which gives to an arrow stability, thereby allowing to define her indications precisely.

Types of compasses:

Basic models of compasses. It is the good inexpensive choice for the beginning adventurers, day travelers and tourists who generally adhere to routes. Such compasses have all major components, but have no additional details, such as: adjustment of deviations and mirror. An example is Moscompass Model 22 Tourist or Moscompass Model 11 Universal.

Multipurpose compasses. These are full-function models with a large number of the additional opportunities (for example, a mirror, magnifying glass) improving accuracy and facilitating navigation. They are rather expensive, but will right for you if you regularly make trips far from routes or somewhere in the remote place or you are amateur orienteering and adventure races. An example are the models: Moscompass Model 2. Fast, Moscompass Model 3 Stable, Moscompass Model 8 Rainbow, Moscompass Model 9 Super-Stable.

The additional opportunities to any compass can be the magnifying glass and exchangeable plate. The compass can be equipped with any frame on the selection: L - is worn on a finger of his left hand; XL - left; R - is worn on a finger of his right hand; XR - right; C - with tablet and a scale; B - Wrist . Moscompass frame can be easily change ( look video http://outdoor-equip.com/compasses/moscompass-frame ) Magnifying glass gives you improve accuracy. It fits for all Moscompass compasses with plate L,R,XL,XR and C. Moscompass Lens for plate L,R,XL,XR -Magnifying glass presents the map in double size, so that even senior citizens can go out with a map. Magnifying glass is fastened on an axis at 30 mm from the map surface and you can use your compass set with one hand grip for reading, magnifying and orienteering. Plastic lens can easily be turned away as it rotates horizontally on its axis.

Specialized compasses are the most expensive. They have the most high stability and fast arrows and recommended for the national team level orienteers. Moscompass Model 8* Rainbow and Moscompass Model 9* Super-Stable.

Compass-accessories. This type of compass is often found on key rings, clocks or in the form of small round compasses without a substrate. They accurately point to the magnetic north, but created more for fun and quick data retrieval than for serious navigation. You should not trust them in serious travels. An example you can find variously on Chinese market and in the sections of fancy accessories of big shops like Rei.

Components of basic models of compasses.

At navigation with a compass tourists usually use "substrate" or "orientation" of a compass. "Orientation" belongs to definition of your exact position; "navigation" is a process of definition of your destination and the direction of your movement to this object.

The most common details of the basic compass models include

  • Magnetic needle of a compass: It is usually rotary arrow with the red tip. This tip indicates the strongest magnetic field, as a rule, it is the North magnetic Pole. "The magnetic North" differs from "the real North" — the geographical North Pole where all lines of longitude meet. The magnetic North is one of two magnetic poles of the earth which is around a chain of islands in the Canadian part of the Arctic. The real North Pole and the magnetic North are divided more than into 1600 kilometers. Working with the map, you have to compensate a difference between the real and magnetic North. It can be done in various ways.
  • The capsule filled with liquid: The capsule or the dial in which there is an arrow and shock-absorbing liquid. This nonfreezing liquid slows down the movement of an arrow and stops her quicker, than in the case the filled air. At big height or at a low temperature liquid can contract and form bubbles. Bubbles don't influence accuracy. They disappear when the compass appears in normal conditions again.
  • The rotating rim (or an azimuthal ring): This ring with the degrees marked on it from 0 to 360 (2 degrees are desirable from steps). It surrounds an outer edge of the capsule of a compass. The it is less on a rim an interval between degrees, the it is easier to define an exact bearing. The bearing or "azimuth" is the direction in which you want to follow (it is expressed in degrees). It is a corner concerning the North.
  • Substrate and ruler: The substrate is a rectangular transparent basis on which the capsule is placed. The best compasses are supplied with rulers with the scale in centimeters engraved on substrate "smooth edges". They are useful at measurement of distances on the card. Try to choose a compass with a scale which you prefer to use. The usual scale of the topographic map is equal 1:24000 (it is used by the American geological service) and 1:250000. The long direct edge is useful to drawing the directions on the map.
  • The focusing arrow and parallel lines of meridians (the line the North - the South): Are located on the lower part of the capsule of a compass. Not magnetic directing top of an arrow, usually red, red as well lines a meridian which you level with lines of the North-South on topographic maps and which help to correlate a compass to the map.
  • Index line or line of the direction of the movement: It is located at the bottom of the compass capsule. It is a point on the compass dial concerning which you establish or you define your current indications.

Whether the compass can replace the GPS receiver?

The compass and the satellite receiver of global system of positioning are complementary tools. The compass has a function which isn't in the GPS device — it can show the directions of the magnetic North. More quality GPS receivers are almost always supplied with an electronic compass. However GPS receivers still are powered from the accumulator which at any time can be discharged. The compass which relies only upon magnetic forces of the earth is deprived of this shortcoming. Thus, even if as the basic navigation aids you have chosen the GPS device, you need all the same to get a compass.

GPS receivers it is magnificent devices. They are designed to estimate the direction of the movement by calculation of a difference between your current situation and a final point. They can also tell you your current location, without relying on visible reference points which are necessary for a compass. It is big advantage in snow or foggy days.

At the GPS receiver one more advantage in comparison with a compass is had. If you follow on a compass and for a round of obstacles deviate from a route, then you will need to monitor the movement carefully. It is necessary to define a way which you had to make at an obstacle round. Having passed an obstacle, you perhaps need to modify the direction on a compass, but key reference points can be not visible any more. With the GPS device you can easily get a necessary referral and anew you will adjust a compass in compliance with the changed line of a route.

In conclusion it is possible to tell that the GPS receiver and a compass both are the good devices informing you on your movement in the different ways. When you want to know to what part of the world you are turned by the face — the major role is played here by a compass.

Recommendations about the correct use of a compass.

  • Ferrous metals can distort compass reading so don't use it near your car, the camera or other metal objects. Magnetic hindrances can easily distort compass readings. So if you draw a chart at a table for a picnic, then be convinced that bolts or brackets don't exert impact on your compass. They can influence the accuracy of data. Electric fields (for example, the working car engine) can also worsen compass accuracy (it concerns both liquid, and digital compasses).
  • Be careful with the choice of the place of storage a compass. For example, don't put a compass on stereocolumns which are equipped with powerful magnets, or in places with strong current flow. You don't lay down a compass in a pocket near your mobile phone. Over time influence of the mobile phone can degauss an arrow. As the compass for search of the North reacts to magnetic fields near it, it is very important that there were no magnetic fields, except magnetic field of the earth.
  • Be aware about regional magnetic areas. It is necessary not only adjust the compass deviations level, but also to know the corresponding width. Generally, on the earth there are 5 various magnetic zones. These zones can become the reason of misoperation of an arrow of a compass, having influenced the accuracy of measurement of the direction. All territory of the United States of America is in limits of one magnetic zone.
  • Four main directions shown on a compass — the North, the South, the West, the East — are known as part of the world. The dial of a compass is sometimes mentioned how a compass rose.
  • The bearing (also known as an azimuth) is expressed in degrees and belongs to the direction of a way according to which you follow to point of your appointment.
  • In order to avoid confusion at communication with other people, it is useful to express all data on the North. For example: 30 degrees; 10 magnetic degrees.

Navigation with map and a compass.

The map and compass give the chance to carry out four main measurements:

  • to define the directions;
  • to follow the directions;
  • to measure the directions on the card;
  • to plan the directions on the map.

Eventually, there is no replacement to practice if your purpose is improvement of the navigation skills. There are some additional steps that can be taken for training in orienteering with a compass:

  • Attend seminars or courses on sports orientation in the wild area.
  • Study the textbook on navigation and apply his principles during day campaigns, short travel even if they pass on city streets.
  • Travel together with friends who have experience in navigation and remember everything that is possible.
  • Look, perhaps, it is no far from you there is a club on sports orientation.
  • The endurance racing, search of treasures, psychological puzzles, events on sports orientation are often held by regional clubs.

The compass remains important tools for a safe travel in the wild area. Learn to work better with the map and improve the skills of possession of a compass. It will make you surer traveler in the conditions of the wildlife.