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Orienting a Map

Orienting the map to true north is key to navigating successfully. Orienting a map also gives you a general idea of your own location on the map. This section describes two methods to orient a map: topographical orientation and compass orientation.

Orienting a Map with Topographical Features

Steps to orient a map using topographical features

  1. Find your approximate location on the map
  2. Select two prominent features or landmarks that are visible to you and shown on the map
  3. Turn the map until the features on the map are in proper relation to the actual features in the field. The map is now oriented.

Orient a map using topographical features

Orienting a Map with a Compass

Steps to orient a map using a compass

  1. Adjust compass for declination as appropriate. Make sure there is no local magnetic attraction.
  2. Rotate the compass housing so north or 360° is at the index line or direction-of-travel line on the compass.
  3. Place one side of the compass base plate along the right or left hand edge of the map. The direction-of-travel line must be toward the top of the map.
  4. Carefully rotate the map and compass together until the needle is aligned with the orienting arrow. The map and compass are now oriented.

Orienting a map with compass

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