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The Essential Series—Your Trusted Guides
"Puts the world of wilderness navigation in the palm of your hand."—Adventure West
"Teaches the essential disciplines of compass and map-reading . . . but goes beyond the basics with useful, eye-opening advice on how to read nature's highway signs—vegetation bands, wind-whipped ripples in sand or snow, and the positions of the sun and stars."—Northeast Outdoors
If you're at all unsure of your backwoods direction-finding skills, The Essential Wilderness Navigator is the guide you've been looking for. It teaches you how to observe—to see, smell, hear, and sense the details of the environment around you. Then, to supplement your newly enhanced sense of direction, you'll learn to read maps, use a compass, and find your location and route with reference to landmarks. This updated second edition also includes
Whether you're planning an extended wilderness trek or a day hike on marked trails, here's how to stay found.
IntroductionWhat's New in this Edition1. A Sense of DirectionLocating Your Sixth SenseHow Not to Get LostWhy We Get LostHow to "Get Found"2. MapsThe World in Your HandsTypes of MapsThree Dimensions into TwoThe Language of MapsReading the TerrainLatitude and LongitudeScaleDistanceDirectionPutting Yourself on the MapMap Care and Gear3. CompassesWhat Compasses Can DoEarth's Magnetic FieldHow Compasses WorkMake Your OwnDeclinationCompass TypesOrienting Your Compass to Magnetic NorthOrienting Your Compass to Geographic NorthBearingsDeviationFollowing a Compass CourseTesting Your Skills4. NavigationMap and Compass CombinedOrienting the Map with a CompassFinding a Course from the MapLocating a Mapped Object in the FieldLocating an Observed Object on the MapA Bearing from a Mapped ObjectOther Lines of PositionWarning BearingsCrossing Lines of PositionReturning to the Same SpotA Running FixFinding Distance OffMeasuring Distance CoveredDead Reckoning5. Navigation in UseRoute PlanningThe Practice of NavigationOn the TrailHitting What You Aim ForLandmarks as GuidesSources of ErrorWhen You Are Lost6. Looking to Nature for CluesFinding North and South at NoonNorth and South from a ShadowQuick but InaccurateMovements of Sunrise and SunsetBearings from Sunrise and SunsetPolarisThe Southern CrossOther Stars7. Extreme EnvironmentsMountainsSnowDeserts8. Electronic NavigationGPS 101Getting StartedE-Maps: Topos and Charts on CD-ROM9. AppendixBearings of Sunrise and SunsetDeclination CorrectionsMetric Conversion TablesOrienteeringSources of Maps, Books, Compasses, Videos, GPS Manufacturers, and Electronic MapmakersTravel PlanIndexAcknowledgments
Posted December 3, 2004
The title may keep it from being more popular than it should be, but I have discovered the Essential Wilderness Navigator is the best map & compass land nav book out there. Like many people I had been led to believe that the 'Sierra Club Land Navigation Handbook' or Bjorn Kjellstrom's vastly overrated 'Be Expert with Map and Compass' to be the last word on the subject of reading a map. Those books don't even come close. Wilderness Navigator has by far the best illustrations and material to get you up and running with topo map and compass, along with more advanced material once you're ready. And (yay!) no wasted space on Orienteering, Scouting, Astronomy, or other marginally relevant garbage, just real-life outdoor navigation for hikers and backpackers. Plus, the larger format is easier to read, and you can actually lay the book flat on the ground to help you while practicing your navigation skills. If you really want to know how to read a map and use a compass in authentic outdoor situations, this is the book to buy!
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Posted December 16, 2006
You want to learn how to use a map and compass? Mostly for navigating on land, especially remote wilderness? This is the best comprehensive book I've found on the subject, bar none. Reasons: 1) It gets to the point quickly in teaching you map & compass fundamentals. 2) It teaches realistic methods, and does not emphasize the unrealistic ones (one glaring example: penciling a lot of inaccurate magnetic declination lines all over your map the night before your trip (because the author used the method once for an adventure race with a special large-scale map and thinks it's cool) 3) It has clear, large, easy-to-understand illustrations. 4) It teaches BOTH compass dead reckoning (compass only) AND terrain association (map priority) navigation principles and shows the advantages and weaknesses of each in a given situation. 5) It has nice large pages and lays flat while you refer to various sections and practice using your map & compass. 6) It also covers more advanced map/compass skills (such as plotting your position using lat/long and UTM grids) as well as beginner exercises, and does so in the same clear, practical way. 7) It warns you of the inaccuracies of some improvised 'navigational' methods (like telling directions from a wristwatch and the sun) while still giving you useful information on methods that do work well in an emergency. 8) It does not attempt to be a 'all-method navigation' book. Such a book does not exist. Either the GPS material will be inadequate or the map/compass material is too abbreviated.
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Posted April 5, 2014
I have read other David Seidman books and really learned/enjoyed them a lot. So when I started an interest in land navigation and he had written on the subject, I bought his.
This has turned out to be a great instructional manual. I read it cover to cover and did the exercises and such and am now proficient in the practice.
I have discovered orienteering and adventure racing and knowing navigation is critical to the process. If want to learn and have fun doing it, this is a great book!