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  • Piotr Wilkowiecki

Map reading week!

It’s an annual awareness campaign which lasts 27th May – 2nd June,

established by the Ordnance Survey, Britain’s national mapping agency.


We live in a time when more and more often traditional maps are being substituted by mobile apps and GPS. Without a doubt, the modern tools are convenient and serve well the needs of our everyday, fast-paced lives.


But for those of us natural born explorers and those who love outdoor adventures,

it may turn out fun to switch off the autopilot sometimes to play with traditional maps and ways of navigation. After all, they’re quite simple and may come handy when your phone loses signal or when your battery goes dead on a long trek in the mountains.


Most of the map apps may show your coordinates and location, which can surely

save life in certain situations. However, once you go off the beaten path or a paved

road even, apps usually become nearly useless for navigation and planning your trek. For this you will need to know few tips and skills of map reading.


For that occasion the British Ordnance Survey has prepared a short and really cool, illustrated Guide so that all of us can refresh the basics, as well as some advanced methods of navigation in unknown terrain.


You can find the Guide here.


The most important features that you’ll learn from the Guide include:


- Using a map and compass

- Reading scale and gridlines

- Understanding the shape of land by looking at contour lines

- Using contour lines to set course in the mountains

- Estimating time of travel on a changing slope

- Walking on bearing and methods for finding path in poor visibility


So refresh your map reading skills, have fun, and be safe on your adventures!

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© 2019 by Piotr Wilkowiecki