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Messages - Angle of Repose

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The US Navy is reinstating the ancient art of celestial navigation to fight a very modern threat...

I find it interesting in 2015 that they are going back to the traditional ways of navigation (as a backup). Having done some celestial navigation myself, it is a perishable skill and I hope they keep up with it. Nevertheless, I thought it was interesting.

General navigational Kit / Re: Altimeters
« on: October 16, 2015, 01:54:15 PM »
First off, excellent post Hugh.
My watch is a Casio that has a digital compass/baro/altimeter function and have been utilizing the altimeter function quite often on hikes. I recently hiked Mt. Washington in New Hampshire (US) and used it as a guideline to have an idea how much further it was to the top (6,289'). They do come in handy as a nice backup and benchmark. I never did use my GPS altimeter. Then again, I don't use my GPS all that much. I rely on DR, maps and my compass.

Awesome! I just used G4maps this am for a trip I have coming up. :)

Hi Tim,
If you got the data into Google Earth, your half way there.
Check out this thread:
I do know that the Garmin GPS uses .GPX files.
In the past using the Garmin s/w, I was able to put the .GPX file that I had created with my GPS on my mac, and then move to other units.  Hope this helps.

Satnav (GPS GLONASS COMPASS Galileo) / Re: Making Custom GPS Maps
« on: October 13, 2014, 11:35:35 AM »
Thanks for the kind words about Gmap4.  I am the developer of that browser app.  I'll start a Gmap4 thread and share some ideas.

Joseph, the Gmap4 guy
Redmond, Washington State, USA
Cool! :D Welcome to the forum! Gmap4 is incredible. I have used a ton in the last year. Would love to hear more about it from you.

General Discussion / Re: Ruggidised Smartphones
« on: October 09, 2014, 01:03:36 PM »
Very cool. I love electronics but if they cannot withstand the abuse of mother nature, they will fail quickly.

Don't know if you guys have discussed this handheld:

Still vaporware, but I like the idea. I am currently working on a prototype android tablet radio system I hope to have up and running in the next few weeks. I will post it on here if anyone has any interest in it.

Training tips / Re: Walkers Rules
« on: October 09, 2014, 01:00:37 PM »
Luckily, in Scotland we don’t suffer with the restrictions perpetuated by selfish land owners. Here everyone...<SNIP>

That's interesting they have retained such freedom even on private land. I lived in Texas growing up, and it was very clear, if you ended up on someone's property (especially out in the country), you should expect to hear gunshots your way. Still retaining the wild west mentality I guess.
Now that I live in Maine, I have had to readapt to the Mainer's (Mainiac's as they can themselves) to the concept of walking/hunting on any land you see fit. Of course, if it is posted, you should stay out. However, in my experience with outdoors people I know, they view it all as open free range to wander. Different mentality for different parts of the country I guess.
I fall on the line, if it is private property, stay out unless invited.

For those with a DeLorme can now get free weather (WX) reports on your device:

Reviews, Suggestions and Advice / Re: New lightweight stove
« on: October 09, 2014, 12:43:48 PM »
I dabbled with the alcohol stoves but didn't like them. I always ended up with alcohol on my hands and it reeked.
I switched over to a MSR pocket rocket and it has worked well. Of course, once winter comes, I will probably need something different.
Capt. Paranoia, that Squeezebox stove is way cool.  :D

Satnav (GPS GLONASS COMPASS Galileo) / Making Custom GPS Maps
« on: October 09, 2014, 12:38:59 PM »
For anyone interested in creating their own custom GPS

And a really awesome online mapping site that I have been using as of late:

I recently use the Gmap4 maps with my Dakota 10 for a recent trip. I ran into the problem where I am having a hard time seeing details with the small screen. Getting old sucks. ;D

Satnav (GPS GLONASS COMPASS Galileo) / Re: new purchase 62s or 64
« on: October 09, 2014, 12:33:42 PM »
I am in the market for a new Garmin GPS as well, and have been looking at the 62S and 64 as well.
From what I gather from this chart:
the major differences between the two are increased internal memory, waypoint storage, and a few extra hours of battery life.
That and a good price difference. I plan on getting the 62s and installing my own free custom maps.
Can't comment on the GLONASS as I haven't owned a GPS with that feature.

Here is another chart to compare features:

Garmin 62S review:

General Discussion / Re: Chinese location detection software
« on: June 19, 2014, 07:51:03 PM »
A good movie worth watching on this topic is "Terms and Conditions may apply"

It's available on Netflix as of now.

Trip reports / Re: Recent Land Navigation Class Review
« on: April 18, 2014, 10:48:57 AM »
It was a nice day. Probably the first really nice day since September '13! It has been a long hard winter up in the NE.  :P

Trip reports / Recent Land Navigation Class Review
« on: April 17, 2014, 12:21:58 PM »
So I started a Group called the Prepper Skills Group, and this past weekend in Portland, Maine (USA), I hosted a 2 hour intro class on the basics of Natural/Land Navigation Skills utilizing many of the techniques listed in the Ultimate Navigation Manual.

A writer from the blog attended and did a write up on the event. Thought you guys might find it interesting.
Source: [/b]]

Land Navigation meetup!

Stuart Thomas at Prepared Associates also coordinates a Prepper Skills Group at This is essentially an organized effort to get people of the prepping mindset together to learn a skillset or to network. Last week, on April 12, he hosted a Land Navigation meetup, for all to attend. It costs just a dollar, and it was pretty cool, I’m not gonna lie. My son Andy and I grabbed stuff to take notes and our compasses, and headed out to a park (that is actually a capped-over landfill…much nicer than it sounds!) to meet Stuart and the others who joined up.


We showed up a few minutes early to sit and chit-chat with Stuart, who is just a great guy, very approachable and intelligent to talk to.  Two other couples showed up, making it six people for Stuart to herd around and teach. Once we got settled, Stuart introduced himself, and then had us go around and introduce ourselves and explain any land navigation skills we may have. It ranged all over, from a fella who was in the armed forces and lived with a compass in hand everyday back then, to my son, who had little experience other than what I’d shown him or he’d learned from hunter’s safety courses. It was a great mix, and everyone was helpful and friendly.

First, Stuart had us spread out so we wouldn’t bang into each other. He then had us look around the area for about 30 seconds or so, then told us to close our eyes so we couldn’t see each other, then asked us to point in the general direction we thought North was in. All of us got reasonably close, but he helped us narrow it down with some specific tactics. These ranged from methods that were pretty specific and accurate (using the sun and its position in the sky, or shadows from a stick in the ground) to pretty vague methods that would work only if you knew the general area (smell of a bean factory and you knew the prevailing winds, for example). But they were all taught to us so we could use a variety of methods, from specific to vague, all in concert to help us really pinpoint where you are in an area. I was surprised how accurate some of these methods were, to tell you the truth. This is why you shell out the bucks (or buck, in this case) for training from people who know what they are doing: you learn lots of cool stuff that actually works – and it’s almost all stuff you probably never thought of. (Who knew jet contrails in the Northeast  could be used to find north?!?)


Learning our pace count Learning our pace count

We then collected ourselves, and headed down the trail from the parking lot, to a spot where Stuart had marked a line in the ground, and planted a stick as a starting point marker. Here he explained the basics of a pace count, and how to use it. He showed us how to use “Ranger Beads”, a method used to measure distance based on pace count, and told us to get out there and figure out our pace in a variety of terrain (up hill, down hill, in fog, sand, snow, etc.)…and recommended that once we know these bits of information on our pace counts over a given terrain and distance, to write them down and place the information in our packs for quick reference. He also mentioned that when we’re figuring out these numbers, try it over a given distance several times and take an average, then he showed us why.

He had us start at his pre-planted stick marker, then showed us a path to travel down the trail to another marker that he’d set out, for a 50-meter distance. Stuart then had us check our pace count down to the marker, then come back while counting. I had 47 paces out, 48 returning. My son had 45, then 44. It’s not an exact science, but the more you do it, then more exact your pace numbers will be. And the longer the distance you test them over, the more accurate it will be. Stuart then gave us a few suggestions on how to measure out known distances, and we discussed using meters vs. yards/feet. (by the way, Stuart, at 6’5″ tall, said his pace count was “retarded”.)


We then walked up the landfill hill to find a wonderful open spot where we could see several natural and man-made landmarks, such as a quarry, church steeple, cellphone towers. We then dug out our compasses, and we were educated on baseplate vs. lensatic compasses (luckily a group member brought his military lensatic compass to show us all how they worked.) Stuart showed us how to use landmarks on a given heading to keep yourself moving in a straight line over a distance, and then had us pick a bearing and head out on that bearing, using our pace count. We were then instructed to use the reciprocal bearing (180 degrees off our initial bearing) and then return, using that same pace count, to see how close we came to our starting point. It was pretty cool to see how accurate the two in combination could be. Then we were told to go to a bearing of 120, walk out 30 paces, turn to a bearing of 240, walk 30 paces, then walk 30 paces using a bearing of 0 degrees. Essentially, we made a big equilateral triangle, and he showed us that it should have brought us back to our starting point (I was about 10 feet off). It was a great exercise, and I plan to try it out in the woods to get more experience with it.


We finished up with a discourse on true North versus magnetic North, and an explanation of declination. He explained that as of 2014, where we were in Maine had a declination of 15 degrees 38 minutes West, but if you go to Washington state, it’s about 15 degrees East. Or maybe you live in Mississippi, where angle of declination is about 0 degrees. He demonstrated that all topo maps were based on true North, and showed us how to mark our compasses to use them more easily for use with topographical maps. I actually went out and bought a Suunto M3 compass just like he had, because it has a dial where you can automatically adjust for declination. Pretty cool stuff.

An interesting side note, the topo I used to teach the class showed a declination of 14 degrees west (printed this year from while the NOAA site was giving me 15 degrees 38 minutes West for my location. I went with NOAA.

Timely post.
I admit on one snowy day, I used Google satellite maps with the distance function to determine a 100m pace count using two identifiable landmarks ( street junction and street corner) via Google, and then went out and paced it.

I have used a pedometer app in the past but felt it wasn't accurate enough.

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