Useful Tips

How to use a compass? Orienteering Rules


The summer time is approaching, which means outdoor recreation, walks and hiking in the forest. But, enjoying nature, we often forget about the danger of getting lost. To avoid possible troubles, it is necessary to be able to navigate in natural conditions and find the right path.

And the best helper in this is the familiar compass. There are, of course, GPS navigators, but their operating time is limited by the battery charge, and the device itself may break from the slightest blow.

An ordinary compass is a fairly reliable device that can be bought at any sports store for a price of 100 rubles. Knowing how to use it, you can always determine in which direction you should move and do not get lost even in an unfamiliar place.

Compass needle

1. Since the compass needle is sensitive to metal, never use compasses embedded in metal objects (knives, watches, etc.). Even the needle held to the compass makes its arrow spin. Therefore, make sure that there is nothing metallic next to the compass. Keep in mind that power lines (power lines) and railways also affect the magnetic needle, so you need to move about 40 meters from them.

2. When using, put the compass on a flat surface (for example, palm) and do not move. The exception is special compasses, which can be used even on the run.

3. Along the perimeter of the device you can see a limb - a dial with numbers that mean an angle from 0 to 360 degrees.

4. Now we can find the cardinal points. The colored compass needle indicates where the North is. Most often it is a red arrow, it can also be in the form of an arrow. If one arrow is blue and the other is red, then blue indicates the North, and red indicates the South.

North on the compass is indicated by the letter N (from English North) or C (from Russian North). South is marked with the letter S (from English South) or Yu (from Russian South). The West is the letters W or Z, the East is E or B.

If you face the North, then the South will be behind, the West to the left, and the East to the right.

Sometimes this knowledge is already enough so as not to make one of the main mistakes of the stray - to go in the opposite direction from the exit.

If you entered the forest, turning off a long straight road, it is enough to remember in which direction you entered and, when returning, adhere to the opposite direction.

For example, you entered the forest, moving north. So, to return you must go to the South - and you will definitely go out on your way.

But usually we have to go not exactly to the North or, say, exactly to the West, but in completely different directions. And here the concept of "Azimuth" is very useful to us.

What is azimuth

From the point where you are standing, mentally draw a line pointing to the North. Then from the same point draw a line along which you go forward. The angle between these lines is the azimuth.

1. To determine the azimuth that you are following, turn the compass so that its north arrow points to the North sign (that is, to the zero mark on the scale or the letter N or C).

From the center of the compass, mentally draw a line along which you are moving. This line together with the north arrow form an angle. This angle is Azimuth. It is necessary to count its value from the north hand (from the zero mark) in the direction of clockwise movement.

You can simply look at the compass scale the number that your imaginary line crossed. It shows the magnitude of the azimuth.

2. If you need to go along a certain azimuth, then position the compass so that its northern arrow points to the North symbol (zero mark on the scale or letter N).

Then measure the desired angle on the scale (Azimuth), counting clockwise from the zero mark (letter N), or simply find the desired number on the scale. Next, draw a thought line from the center of the compass to this figure on the scale and go in that direction.

3. The azimuth along which you go forward is the direct azimuth. To return back, you need to go in the opposite direction, that is, in the opposite Azimuth, which is calculated as follows:

if the direct azimuth is less than 180º, then
OA = PA + 180º
if the direct azimuth is more than 180º, then
OA = PA-180º
Where OA is the reverse azimuth, PA is the direct azimuth.

For example, you walked along Azimuth 240º. This is the direct azimuth. To return back, you need to go along the reverse Azimuth, which is 240º -180º = 60º.

4. However, constantly making such calculations is rather inconvenient. There is an easier way to find the reverse azimuth.

To do this, when returning back, you need to follow the same Azimuth along which you went forward, only now consider the southern arrow as the northern one.

That is, if you went forward along the azimuth of 270º, then you return back along the azimuth of 270º, only at the same time you treat the south arrow as if it is the north.

Example. You entered the forest, moving along the Azimuth 270º.

  • To exit the forest, set the compass in such a way that its southern (and not northern!) Arrow points to the designation of the North (that is, to the zero mark on the scale or the letter N).
  • Now mentally measure the angle of 270 from the zero mark on the scaleº (clockwise) or just find the number 270 on the scale.
  • Then mentally draw a line from the center of the compass to this figure (270 degrees). This is the direction in which you need to go back.

5. Reception, when we remember only the azimuth of the entrance, and for the exit we go along the reverse azimuth, it works if there is a rather long direct reference point (road, river, power lines, etc.) somewhere nearby. In this case, you only need to know the azimuth of the entrance. Then you can wander in any directions without remembering them, since then, moving in the opposite direction, you will definitely go out to your landmark, only with some displacement.

Therefore, it is very useful to take a glimpse of the map and remember such landmarks that you can subsequently go out before at least on a trip to nature.

6. If there are no long direct landmarks nearby, then when driving, you must fix the distance traveled in each direction. That is, to memorize or record each azimuth and the distance that you traveled along it. To return to the starting point, you will need to follow the same path, only in the reverse order.

For example, you walked first 50 meters in azimuth 80º, then 100 meters in azimuth 300º. To return to the starting point, you will need to walk 100 meters in the reverse azimuth of 120º (300º -180º = 120º), and then 50 meters in the reverse azimuth of 100º (180º -80º = 100º). Or simply turn the compass so that its south arrow points to the North designation (that is, to the zero mark or the letter N), measure an angle of 300 ° from the zero mark and walk 100 meters in this direction. Then measure an angle of 80º from the zero mark and walk 50 meters in this direction.

You can measure the distance by counting steps

True, when collecting berries and mushrooms, it is quite difficult to measure and calculate the distance traveled after each turn. In such cases, you can memorize (or rather write on a notebook) how many steps and in which direction you went from one clearing to another.

Having reached the place you like, you need to put some noticeable object on the ground (for example, a bright bag), mark the direction in which you were walking (for example, with a stick), and collect berries / mushrooms, keeping this object in sight. If you want to move on, we return to this subject, measure and record a new azimuth of movement and move on, measuring the distance.

7. It is very useful to work out with Azimuths at home. Walk from room to room, recording the azimuth and distance traveled (in steps). Then try to go all the way back, focusing only on your notes and determining the reverse Azimuth.
Then you can easily understand the meaning of direct azimuth, reverse azimuth and see how it works.

Magnetic declination azimuth calculation

There are some more important points.

1. On all maps, it is assumed that the North is directly at the top. This is the geographical North, the place where the meridians converge.
But due to the peculiarities of the Earth’s magnetic field, the magnetic arrow is directed not at the geographical, but at the magnetic North. It is slightly deviated from the geographical. The magnitude of this deviation is called magnetic declination.

If the arrow is deviated from the geographic North to the east (that is, to the right), then the declination is east (positive), if the arrow is rejected to the west (that is, to the left), then the declination is western (negative).

Each region has its own magnetic declination. In the Moscow region, it is positive (eastern) and is approximately + 11º, in the St. Petersburg region it is approximately + 10º, and in Irkutsk it is negative (western) and is approximately -3º. There are special maps and sites on the Internet where you can find the magnetic declination in your area.

2. The azimuth calculated on the basis of the geographical north (according to the map) is the true azimuth. The azimuth calculated from the magnetic north (by compass) is the magnetic azimuth.

When you use the compass with the map, consider this point and adjust your movement accordingly.

For example, you plan to go according to your map at a true azimuth of 30º. The magnetic declination in your area is positive + 10º. So, focusing on the compass, you will need to go along the magnetic Azimuth 20º (30º -10º = 20º).

Thus, having a little practice and learning how to use the compass, you can go hiking as far as you want, and you will feel confident in any terrain, as you can always find the way back.

How to use a compass?

To begin with, let’s take a look at the main terms related to compass orientation.

Components of Adrianov’s compass:

  • Housing
  • Rotating ring of a sight,
  • Magnetic needle,
  • Brake arrows
  • Scale with degrees (limb),
  • Fly sight,
  • Vizier Sampler
  • Zero scale division (north),
  • The whole sight.

Surely, you have repeatedly heard such a thing as azimuth. Let’s figure out what it is.

Azimuth (when compass is oriented) is the angle between the north arrow pointer of the compass (combined with zero scale division) and the direction to any distant object.

The azimuth is calculated exclusively clockwise (see the picture above).

Now we proceed directly to the detailed instructions on how to use the compass.

How to navigate the compass?

So, we have a compass, a map of the area and some object on the map to which we need to get. How to use a compass and a map in order to achieve a given goal?

Remove the arrow lock. We wait until the arrow stops and the pointer shows the direction to the north. At the same time, we hold the compass in a horizontal position at a distance from metal objects. The top of the map is always oriented to the north (on the left - west, on the right - east, below - south).

To determine the azimuth, we need to combine the north of the compass with the north of the map. We ourselves also face north. The center of the compass must be combined with the location of our position on the map.

In order to determine your location on the map, you need to navigate the objects that are in your area of ​​visibility. This will help the ability to read the map: take into account the terrain (elevations, lowlands), rivers, trails and roads. For example, we have before us a river or a road, a section which is directed to the north. We are looking for where on the map there are such areas. Or we see in the distance a mountain at a certain angle to the north (azimuth). We find, when moving the compass on the map, at what point the angle will correspond to what we see.

After we have determined our location, we choose the goal that we need to achieve. Again, combine the north of the map with the north of the compass. We combine the direction indicator on the compass (the reference indicator of the sight) with the direction to the object on the map. We rotate until the direction of the magnetic arrow coincides with the north on the bulb. Now you can start moving along the pointer on the compass, observing that the north of the arrow is constantly aligned with the north on the bulb. Moving in a given direction, we will reach the desired object.

Compass orientation without a map

Now suppose we went mushrooming into the forest without a map, but we took the compass with us (so as not to leave crumbs that birds could eat along the way).

In order not to get lost, you need to choose a clear extended object that will serve as a guide. For example, it can be a road or a river. So we stand on the road. From it we leave into the forest along an approximately perpendicular line. Having departed a little, but leaving the road in the visibility zone, we turn to face it. We take out the compass and bring it into active state. We turn it until the arrow pointer coincides with the zero scale. Further in the center of the compass we draw an imaginary line to our object (road). We fix the azimuth of our return. The opposite side of the line (fly pointer) will show us the direction of movement into the forest. When moving deep into the forest, it is advisable to periodically check whether we have deviated too much from the given direction.

To put the acquired knowledge into practice, take a compass with you to Hike to Lake Baikal or, if you decide to go with us to Kyrgyzstan, to a mountain hike Hike in Kyrgyzstan, Issyk-Kul.

You can create a whole chain of objects for orientation, fixing the azimuth values.

If you decide to return to the given object, take the compass so that the line (fly pointer) points forward. Next, turn around with the compass so that the north of the arrow coincides with the north of the scale. Now you can move in the direction where your gaze is facing.

In addition to the compass, there are other common ways of orienting yourself on the ground. Let us single out among them the observation of the Sun and the North Star. How to navigate the stars? Find the Polar Star (in the constellation Ursa Minor) - it is always located in the north. If you need to determine the cardinal directions from the Sun, you need to observe where it rises and where it sets. Accordingly, sunrise is east, and sunset is west.

More information about compasses can be found in the video:

Now you know how to use the compass and navigate the terrain, which means that not only do not get lost, but also help others get out of the forest.

Four Dorn on Elbrus

Do you know Ivan Dorn? Yes, that same irresistible singer, DJ and TV presenter. He not only confidently holds on top of the musical charts, but also easily rises to the mountain peaks. We are not joking, a month ago, Ivan and his team.

How to lighten a hiking backpack

With a heavy backpack, camping is not a joy, but a burden. Instead of enthusiasm from the mountain landscapes, thoughts only about a halt, it would be more likely to throw this monster off and relax. If the beauty of the environment you notice only in the photos after.

Boat trips

This is one of the unusual types of hiking, and at the same time it suits everyone. Imagine: you are swimming in the water, smooth swings of the oars, the play of sunlight on the surface of the water captivates the eye, nearby satellites are quiet.

How is a magnetic compass

The device with a magnetized arrow, which rotates strictly along the lines of force of a planet shrouded in a magnetic field, is already more than a thousand years old - its creation is listed in the list of four great Chinese discoveries, along with gunpowder, paper and printing on fabric. It has undergone improvements and acquired more modern narrow varieties, but the principle of operation has remained unchanged - the geographic orientation of the compass is carried out according to a single algorithm.

  • The classic magnetic compass is a compact round device in a metal or plastic case.
  • Under the transparent top cover is a flat dial (limb), where angular degrees are applied, increasing clockwise. There can be a different number of divisions, depending on the model, but there is always a full coverage of a circle measurement - 360º.
  • Opposite 0º is north with the international designation N (north) or Russian - C (north). Opposite 180º - south with the designation S (south) or S (south). On the contrary, 90º is east with the designation E (east) or B (east). Opposite 270º - west with the designation W (west) or W (west).
  • In the center of the limb, a magnetic double-sided arrow is strung on the needle, one half of which is usually painted red or specially marked - it is she who always points the point to where the side of the north magnetic pole is.
  • In the inoperative state, the arrow is held by the arrestor, a mechanical lever that acts as a stopper. If you release it, the arrow will immediately turn around with the marked tail to the north.
  • In the famous model of Adrianov there is an outer ring enveloping the body - with its rotation you can shift and set the sight in the form of a front sight with the whole to fix the direction to the landmark.
  • Many of today's tourist models have an additional, manually rotated arrow that visually marks the direction of the desired route, and there may also be a ruler for working with the map. Rotary dial models are also available.

Note! For the correct direction, the device must be in a horizontal position.

How to work with a magnetic compass

The instruction manual for a standard tourist device describes in detail how to use the compass, but this description is not always at hand.Therefore, explaining the basics of working with the device will not be superfluous.

  • Having placed the device body strictly horizontally, it is necessary to release the magnetic arrow and wait until its swing stops.
  • Now you need to carefully align the point of the arrow with the designation of the north, that is, with the letter N or Russian C.
  • To do this, either turn the device itself if the limb is statically fixed in it, or rotate the movable dial until the letter and arrow tip coincide.
  • A tail marked in red or a specially marked tail of a magnetic arrow always turns north by itself, and when the designation of the north on the limb is aligned with the arrow, this will correspond to the correct direction to the cardinal points.
  • Right in the direction of the arrow - north, on the reverse side - south, to the right - east, left - west, indicated by the corresponding letters.

Note! Near metal accumulations (for example, railway tracks), under the power line, in the zone of magnetic anomalies, at high altitude in the mountains, the magnetic compass makes significant errors! Therefore, you need to shift 0.3 - 1 km and repeat the orientation.

Now you can leave an unfamiliar area, if you know where you need to move. In this case, the calculation of the azimuth will help.

How to use a compass on an iPhone

Now it’s not necessary to buy a large travel compass. It is enough to download it with a mobile phone, moreover, the operating system does not matter — it can be Android or iOS. If we talk about iPhone 5s, 6s and other versions, there is already a standard Compass application built in. After starting the program, you need to calibrate it using turns or rotations. When the process is complete, the arrow will indicate the direction of magnetic north.

How to use a compass on an iPhone

A detailed guide in this case is a short one. At first, everyone will see four directions — north, south, east and west. A white arrow indicates where to look right now. To find the north, it is necessary to stand so that the white arrow and the red near the north are connected.

If you need to go the water direction, put it on your smartphone and fix it on the screen, then the compass will indicate the slightest deviations from the course. With sync scarting, it’s easy to determine your exact location. To do this, just click on the bottom of the screen, but before that turn on Internet igololation. The phone compass, like any digital one (for example, a smart watch), works with error.

How to use a compass on your phone

Xiaomi, Honor 9, or Samsung phones have a separate built-in GPS navigation function. It works simply: more activated, you can see which side the phone has turned the given moment. Information is displayed on the map, and this helps to navigate the relevance.

You can download additional applications from the Play Store with a compass that indicate the side of the world and coordinates, for example, Compass 360, Smart Compass or Accurate Compass.

How to use the compass to find the azimuth

The aspiration of a beginner to learn how to use a compass is not a guarantee of successful orientation. Be sure to master the calculation of azimuth so as not to get lost. This is not difficult, but in extreme or critical conditions come in handy. And for hunters, mushroom pickers and tourists who prefer hiking, it is absolutely necessary to know.

Azimuth is the angle in degrees between the north (0º) and the selected object (on the map or on the ground), always counted clockwise. That is, if the desired point is deviated from the north towards the west (counterclockwise) by only 1º - its azimuth will be 359º.

How to find the azimuth by compass

The azimuth of the pure direction to the northeast is 45º, to the east is 90º, to the southeast is 135º, to the south is 180º, to the southwest is 225º, to the west is 270º and to the northwest is 315º. But the desired object may deviate, so you have to learn to determine the exact azimuth.

  • At first, the device is given a horizontal position and the magnetic needle is released.
  • After it assumes a stable position, the tip of the arrow is combined with the designation of the north N or C (by rotating the case or dial).
  • Next, the direction to the object of interest is indicated - either on the map, or in kind.
  • It remains to calculate the angle between the north mark and the mark pointing to the object, clockwise.

The obtained value in degrees is the azimuth, following which it is impossible to lose an unfamiliar object and go astray.

In conditions of a completely unfamiliar area, this can be any orienting object that rises above the others or stands out with something — the found direction will allow you to reach it. Having reached it with the help of the obtained azimuth, you need to select the next one and continue the calculations to continue the path.

Note! Return should be in the opposite azimuth, which is the opposite calculated on the dial. To do this, lay a straight line between the angle found and the center of the limb - the opposite value will be the inverse azimuth.

How to use a military compass

An army or artillery compass is the most reliable. There are one of two types: sliny slit or pay. The first option gives data more precisely, when used, both types are the same. The main thing is to hold the compass correctly. To do this, there are two techniques - the central capture or "kscheke".

How to use a military compass

With a central compass grip you need:

  • open the lid, which should create a straight line,
  • move the rear sight to release the dial,
  • spread elbows in opposite directions, position the device at the chest level,
  • send to the object and see the azimuth reading under the black line.

In the second variant, it is necessary to open the cover vertically, move the rear sight forward, align the front sight through the aiming slot, and set the azimuth value through the eye. After that, note the degrees, then rotate the device until the line mismatches the north. On this occasion, double-check the testimony.

The operation of the compass is affected by metal objects nearby and damage.

How to navigate by compass and map

When traveling away from civilization, the most useful skills are how to navigate by compass and map, since such a route will take into account all possible deviations. Responsible tourists always at the beginning of the journey study the proposed route on the map, calculate the direct and reverse azimuth, writing down the data.

For such calculations, you need a map of the area, a compass, a ruler and a pencil.

  • Lay out the map horizontally, mark with pencil all the points of the planned route and its end point.
  • Put the compass on the map and release the arrow.
  • Align the arrow on the compass with the north on the limb.
  • Now rotate the map until its north designation matches the compass.
  • Applying the ruler so that its line coincides with the middle of the limb and the first point of the route drawn on the map, calculate the angle between the north and the ruler in degrees. Record the value for this leg. Immediately find the reverse azimuth and write it down.
  • Do this with all the marked points along the route to the end, writing down the values ​​of each section of the route.
  • Move along the way, checking the compass.
  • Return in the reverse azimuth.

With such calculations, you can absolutely not be afraid to get lost - the compass will lead exactly to the planned point and return back.

How to learn how to easily use a compass without a map

There are also simplified options for compass orientation without any calculations, and even without a map. For example, a mushroom picker or a hunter who knows how to use this device in the forest will calmly roam the thickets without worrying about the route and returning home. And although without reference to the map, the calculations will be only approximate, but the compass will provide invaluable assistance in moving around unfamiliar areas.

  • The reference points are taken from the side of the world, and the starting point is the beginning of the path from some significant object with a large length - a highway, field, river, railway track.
  • Before starting the path, you need to face the object and back to the beginning of the route.
  • Track the compass direction, for example, the southeast. This will be the direction in which it is necessary to return.
  • The forward movement will be in the opposite direction - in our example it is northwest.

That is, in the above example, walking through the forest, it remains to check from time to time with the compass and move to the north-west, and as soon as you want to return - go to the southeast. It is unlikely that the exit will coincide with the starting point, but a correctly selected direction will always lead to the area of ​​the desired area.

Important! Do not forget to check the reliability of the compass! Magnetic compasses often fail due to demagnetization of the needle. Before setting off on a long and dangerous journey, check the device for viability by moving any metal object closer to it with the arrow released from the brake. If the arrow has reacted, then the device can be taken with you. But it is better to check with another compass so that their arrows in the direction coincide.

Other types of compasses and how to use them

Other types of compasses and how to use them: engineering compass

In general, there are a huge number of compasses — liquid, engineering, tablet, solar, geological, with a spark meter for children, they will work on the same principle and show the data in approximately the same way.

The main division is seen: mechanical and electronic. In mechanical ones there is a magnetized arrow indicating the north, the electronic device consists of several components, therefore not only the side of the world, but other information is indicated.

The electronic one includes several more types — the indication of radio equipment, the writing down of additional information (degrees, exact coordinates, nearest objects), and connecting to satellites, which allows you to get the most accurate information. Sometimes compasses develop into large systems, such as, for example, one of the most professional of this kind - “Electric”. It is used for designing and issuing documents.

Other types of compasses and how to use them

According to the application, such compasses are distinguished:

  • tourist ("Tourist 2", "Gk2"), where there is a magnetized arrow, sometimes with liquid filling ("Pathfinder"),
  • military - it’s very similar to naturistic, newer there is still a ruler, a reticle, a magnifying lens, it can be used even under water,
  • geological, where the division is counterclockwise, there is a clinometer,
  • astronomical - helps orient the stars at night time,
  • engineering — is used when creating projects of buildings, premises (engineer directional compass),
  • gyroscopic - directs the real pole, applied on air or inlet,
  • compass — used by surveyors, and sometimes to direct artillery fire.

Other types of compasses and how to use them: compass lopan

It is noteworthy that many followers of Feng Shui practice use a compass at home to determine the cardinal points and the proper placement of furniture. It can be an ordinary tourist compass, an American one, with a mirror, and a special one better — lopan.

A mobile application will be enough for orienting in the city, but for hikes or climbing, a military or tourist compass is suitable.