How to use a compass
with our maps
Using a GPS with our maps
to use a compass with our maps
Sadly many people view a compass with alarm and think it
should only used when they are lost. I have never understood this, it is
a valuable navigational tool that is easy to use and should prevent you
getting lost. Here's how to use it
with our routes. First, buy the Correct Type of Compass.
There are many manufacturers producing types similar to
that shown below, get one of these. Don't bother with fancy brass ones or
Set your Course:- On
the Route Information page, in the right hand column, there is a table
showing the compass bearing to the next Waypoint. Turn the compass
rotating ring until the bearing number in the table lines up with the yellow triangle
on the base plate of the compass, this sets the compass ready for use. Hold the compass
in front of you and turn yourself around until the red end of the compass
needle lines up with the red arrow beneath it, you are now facing the
direction to walk, it is as simple as that! The picture to the right shows
a compass set at 100 degrees. IMPORTANT
- Never line up the black end of the compass needle with the red arrow
underneath, this will send you in the opposite direction.
Estimate your ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival):-
This takes practise because:-
On the route map there is a scale showing distance in
miles, use this to estimate the distance to the next Waypoint, let's
assume it is half a mile. If the path is average you will probably
walk at 2 miles per hour, this equates to half a mile in 15 minutes. Note
the time you expect to arrive at the next Waypoint and start looking for
it 5 minutes beforehand. If you see a landmark 7 minutes after starting
check to see if you are halfway. With practice you will soon adopt your own estimates.
Try using 3 miles per hour (20 minutes per mile) on a road and 1.5 miles
per hour (40 minutes per mile) if it is hilly or you are stopping to
admire the views.
Using a GPS with our
I am often asked if it is worth buying a
GPS. Well, it's not an essential item and it cannot replace a compass or
map but it does make life much easier. It's main advantage is:- (1) always
knowing where you are and (2) knowing the distance and direction to the next waypoint.
You can use it in the car and it will find your car or hotel in a strange
city. Summing up; I wouldn't be without it but I wouldn't be without my
compass and map either.
Make sure you key in the correct
waypoint:- This is the most common mistake people make and it will
send you miles off course unless you prevent it. Here's how:- After the
waypoint is keyed into the GPS get into the habit of of checking each figure
again before you press the
ENTER button. As a secondary check compare the total GPS route
length with the total on our route page. If it is within 0.2 miles
everything is OK, if not, check those waypoints again. If you are setting your own waypoints from a map always key in the
reference numbers running across the top of the map
first. This is important because on some maps the
numbers across the top are the same as those down the side, getting them
in the wrong order will send you astray. If you want more information on
using map references read the descriptive paragraph on the border of any Ordnance Survey
map, Using the wrong letters in front of the map reference
numbers will also produce an error so it's important to get them right too, here's
why. The grid lines on an Ordnance Survey map relate to a square of land
100km (62 miles) wide and adjacent to this is another square that uses exactly
the same numbers. The two letters in front of the map reference
designate one square from another, if your route is wrong check these
letters. Some routes will pass from one square to another so beware!
Practise on a Route You Know Well:- Trying to learn GPS operation on new territory in wind
and rain is not a good idea, get totally familiar with it before
venturing on unfamiliar ground. If you feel the need to take the
instruction book with you on a walk more practise is needed. Most GPS have a wide
variety of screens for different applications, once you know which screens
suit you best turn the others off to simplify operation.
ETA - (Estimated Time of Arrival at the Next Way
point):- Good navigation depends on when to start looking for a
Waypoint. The GPS calculates the ETA for you and it's usually accurate so
don't overlook this valuable feature. Obviously, if you are stopping to
admire the scenery the ETA will change so don't forget to check it again.
Don't expect an ETA when you are standing still, the GPS knows you will never
Working on the Move:- You will soon discover the GPS gives a more accurate direction when
you are moving. Develop the technique of taking quick
glances at the screen while walking just as you would with a compass.
you approach a Waypoint there is a tendency to zoom in close to improve
accuracy, get a clear idea of the general direction to the next
waypoint before you do this. I
set the proximity alarm at 250ft and make this check when it goes off.
units eat battery power at an alarming rate and never seem
to last as long the manufacturers claim so always carry spares.
Battery life can be extended by turning off the GPS if the route is
simple. Turn it on again when a Waypoint is close or the route gets
difficult. Use your ETA as a guide. It takes some practise to learn when
to turn it on and off but it's worth it. Don't buy cheap batteries, get
the most powerful you can, I use Duracel Ultra.
Loss of Signal:- Complete loss of signal is rare but it can be
disconcerting when the "poor GPS signal alarm" goes off. This alarm
does not mean the unit is not working, it merely indicates that it is only working on 2
satellites instead of the 3 used for the most accurate coverage. Although
you will experience some loss of accuracy learn to
accept it, there is little you can do about it, just carry on walking
and rely on map and ETA as if you had no GPS, it will soon pick up enough satellites and get back to normal again.
Moving away from high buildings, rock or thick tree cover can help.