How to Use an Orienteering Compass and Map

how to use an orienteering compass and map

Using an orienteering compass with a map is an excellent way to find directions. Orient your compass to true north before you leave home. Once you have your map and compass, you can use them to plot a course and figure out distances. Use these tips when navigating to a new destination! Read on to learn more. And, don’t forget to practice your navigation skills!

Orienteering compass

If you are a beginner to orienteering, you may not know how to use an orienteering sextant and map. The basics of orienteering are based on using a map and compass. You need to turn the compass housing until the magnetic arrow sits inside the orienting arrow. You can also find compass features such as lanyards for wrist attachment. You can also get a compass with a magnifying glass that allows you to read fine details on the map.

The first step in using an orienteering compass is to locate a landmark on a map. To do this, you need to know which direction is true north. You can also read the bearing of a landmark by looking at the compass’s index line. The compass needle should be aligned with the north on the map when oriented correctly.

Next, you should use the compass to get a bearing on where you are going. To find a landmark, you need to place your compass on the map’s north-south axis. You can also use the map’s north-south lines to guide you. The compass needle is the red portion of the compass.

When using an orienting compass, the direction of travel arrow should point towards the landmark that you are walking toward. If you cannot find any landmarks, you can use the compass’s arrow to find landmarks nearby. After that, you can use the straight edge of the compass to trace a line on the map. Once this line crosses the map’s trail, you’ve located the landmark.

Orienteering map

To use an orienteering comPASS, locate your starting location on the map and rotate your slender bezel so that it aligns with the arrow. Next, move to the edge of the map and compare the landscape with the map. The compass needle should land in the luminous north box. Then, compare the map with the landscape to determine your direction.

Once you know your destination and starting point, align the compass’ base plate with the map. Place the compass’ arrow so that the direction of travel arrow points north. Once this is done, rotate the compass bezel to align the orienting lines with the map. Make sure to read maps along the way. Then, you can read the map.

To get a sense of where you’re going, first set your compass’ bezel to north and orient yourself to the map’s grid north. If you’re in unfamiliar terrain, you’ll want to turn the compass housing bezel clockwise to orient yourself to grid north. Once you’ve done this, align the orienting lines with the easting lines on the map. When you fold your map, remember that north and easting lines should be lined up on the map.

Orienteering compass and map: Before heading out into the wilderness, make sure you have a map handy. It’s important to know where you’re going and how to use your compass correctly. You can also get a map that shows you the latitude and longitude. When in doubt, use a map with a latitude scale. Once you’ve got this right, you can move on to the next step.

Distance between landmarks

To calculate the distance between landmarks when using an orienteers compass and map, start at a point that is recognizable, such as a road or trail. You can use the compass to measure distances, or you can make use of the baseplate’s lines of orienting. Typically, you should line up the compass’ north marker with the north line of the map.

If you’re trying to travel a significant distance, pick a feature and then another object on the bearing you want to take. Repeat this process every few hundred meters if you’re in a difficult terrain, as it’s easy to fall off the trail if the ground is uneven and dense. You should know where landmarks are and where to start your journey by picking them on a topographic map.

The declination is important, too. Compass users can easily make an error of 15 degrees if they don’t adjust for declination. It’s also helpful to know that a geographic North Pole is a fixed location. It makes the job of cartographers much easier. If you’re traveling outside North America, make sure you learn about the declination adjustment needed in the area you’re visiting.

A compass’s baseplate straight edge should line up with the compass’s destination. You can also use a pencil line or sheet of paper to draw a straight line. The compass arrow should point toward the destination. The compass can tell you the direction between landmarks as long as the compass needle points in the direction you’re going.

Using a compass with a map

When using an orienteering compass, you should hold it steady while rotating the bezel ring until the compass needle is parallel with the orienting lines of the map. If you have an advanced compass, you may use a sighting line instead of a needle. The compass needle should be aligned with the red area on the map.

Before attempting a long journey, use a map and compass to calculate your speed and distance. Orienteering compass needles are always relative to a particular location, so it is important to ensure that your compass’s direction lines are lined up with the north-south lines on your map. In addition, the direction of travel arrow should point in the general direction of the destination.

Compass needles can be a valuable tool for orienteering. The compass needle points in the direction of travel. The compass needle is inside a clear capsule which dampens movement of the needle, making it easier to align your map with your compass. Using a compass with a map is also convenient for taking measurements and drawing lines on the map.

If you’re unfamiliar with using a compass with a map, it’s a good idea to practice navigating by using a familiar area. Once you’ve got the hang of the basics, you’ll be able to practice your navigation skills. Then, as your confidence grows, try navigating by using an orienteering compass with a map.

A compass oriented to the true north will always show the north magnetic pole, and a straightedge can help you locate landmarks on the map. To use a compass with a map, place one corner of the straightedge on the landmark and rotate until the needle lines up with the true north. Once this is done, draw a line across the edge. If all three lines intersect, you’ve found an approximate location.

Correcting for declination

Orienteering maps are drawn relative to magnetic north. To use an orienting compass and map correctly, declination correction must be turned off. To turn declination off, select ‘Options’, then click the Declination checkbox. To set the declination value, press the Start Stop or Light Lock button or use the View option in the Compass mode.

A compass should have an adjustment screw at the bottom. This screw is located at the location where you plan to use the compass. When using a compass to orientate on a map, always remember that magnetic north is 8 degrees east of true north. To adjust the compass, turn your body so that the arrow points in the direction of your intended destination.

A compass with a magnetic compass can be adjusted to compensate for declination by setting the needle and dial to face north. When this alignment is achieved, the map and compass are properly orientated. If not, you must correct for declination manually. A respected topographic map will list the declination value for the area.

To correct for declination when using an orientering compass and map, first find the declination of the area where you’re going to travel. For example, in the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming, the declination is 12 degrees east in 2001, but is changing by 6.9 minutes west annually. Therefore, the declination of this area would be 11 degrees east by 2010!

Secondly, use a straightedge to line up the landmark on the map with the magnetic needle. After doing so, you can draw a line across the edge. This point is approximately where you are. Once you have the exact position, you can use an orienteering compass and map to get directions. To be sure that you’re using a correct compass and map, remember to align them to true north. is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Dustin Johns

I love orienteering and hiking. The best part about it is that it's a sport for anyone, of any age or ability. I learned it when I was young, and I've been doing it often ever since.

I love how the Earth feels, and how free you feel when you're a part of nature. I love the way everything looks so different and so spectacular with your eyes wide open in an unfamiliar location under the bright sun. I love pushing myself to explore new places and discover my own limits as well as conquering new challenges. I love going on long walks and interacting with local people in small villages.