Using a compass is one of the most crucial life-skill one should learn. Compass helps to know directions. Using a map and compass together ensures that you never get lost.

  1. Parts of the compass:
  • The base plate is a transparent plastic plate on which the compass is fixed. It helps to read the below it, for taking a bearing and reading it on your map.
  • A Ruler is fixed to find the distances.
  • Direction-of-travel arrow is an arrow marked on the base plate, point it to the direction you are following.
  • The rotating bezel is also called an “azimuth ring”.360-degree markings are embedded in the circle.
  • Index line is called as ‘read bearing here mark’. It is located above the bezel.
  • The magnetized needle always points in the directions of magnetic poles (i.e. North and south). This needle is fixed in the center of the compass and is called red or white.
  • Orienting arrow is a non-magnetized outline of the magnetized needle. It is used to orient the bezel.
  • Orienting lines are parallel lines to the orienting arrows. These lines rotate with the bezel, and these lines are aligned with north-south lines.
  1. Hold the compass correctly:

The right way to hold a compass is holding it flat on your palms and holding the palm near your chest.

  1. The orientation of the map:

This is a simple practice to locate yourself on the map and to know the direction of your destination.

Steps for map orientation:

  • Place your compass on the map in such a way that the travel arrow directly points towards the top of the map.
  • Without shifting the direction of the travel arrow, slide the base plate to align the straight edge to the right or left side of the map.
  • Hold the compass and map steady. Move your body until the magnetic needle outlines with the orienting arrow.

This is the correct way of orienting the map; now you can identify the places near you. Before heading to the destinations, always read the map carefully and know about the surrounding.

  1. Reading Bearings:

Bearings are a navigation way to reach a particular destination. Bearings are relative to a particular location.

How to use a compass properly:

  • Place your compass on the map such that the straight lines of the base plate are between your current location and your destination.
  • Set the compass such that the travel arrow direction points directly to your destination.
  • Hold the compass properly and rotate the bezel. The orienting lines must align with the north-south grid lines or to the right and left edge of the map. (The north maker on the bezel should point towards the North on the map)
  • Note the reading of the bearings on the index line.
  • Hold the compass with the travel arrow pointing in the opposite direction of you.
  • After outlining the orienting arrow, the travel arrow is facing towards the bearings you noted.
  • Follow the direction of the travel arrow to reach your destination.

You can use multiple bearings to read a map. There are different methods to find your location, but you must know the surrounding for identify your exact location.

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