Land Navigation

Land Navigation

Overland navigation really isn’t all that hard. I’m sure there are a lot of you out there who think that it involves indepth mathematics and compass calculations, but while some forms can get rather complex and involved, or require the use of specific equipment, there are a few simple ways of finding your way when in unfamiliar locations.

Often, I use the cardinal directions (North, South, East, West) and their relation to the position of the Sun to tell which direction I’m heading; even while driving somewhere, I’ll check on the Sun’s position from time to time just to see which way I’m going. I’ve never been lost when it comes to my heading, and the Land Navigation course we went through in the Marines seemed unnecessarily tedious at times; my own sense of direction led me to within 20 feet of every marker I had to find.

One of the most simple techniques is just to identify North based on the Sun/Moon’s travel and use easily identified landmarks as a guide. This isn’t an exact science, but will keep you moving in the general direction of your choice. It gets much easier when using a compass, and can even get quite detailed as far as degrees N/S/E/W, but doesn’t have to. A cheaper compass without all the bells and whistles would do just fine in an emergency situation, as long as you know the direction of your destination in relation to your starting point.

I’ll cover using a compass and get more indepth on this topic as time moves on, but for now I’ll leave you with these basic points: if you’re ever without a compass, determine North and use landmarks to identify and maintain a course of travel.