Reach Your Holiday Destination With A Compass
The traditional use of a compass as a navigational tool is quickly shifting GPS navigation, or Global Positioning System. For anyone traveling to a new destination for vacation, a GPS unit might be a worthwhile investment to help you navigate through the unfamiliar territory. Or, if you are headed to an outdoor vacation such as hiking, a GPS unit could save you a lot of headaches if you become lost at some point. However, it is still a good idea for hikers to learn how to use a compass as they are often far less expensive than a GPS device. Also, GPS units do not work in every area so you may very well find yourself in need of an old-fashioned compass at some point. Compasses date back to a few centuries ago when it was discovered that the Earth’s magnetic field was responsible for turning a piece of metal floating on a leaf in certain directions.
That knowledge eventually brought us the modern compass available today, which can be quite sophisticated. A quality compass will provide a detailed and accurate set of degree lines, while most paint tip pointing north a red color to set it apart from the tip pointing south. However, magnetic declination prevents most from pointing to the true geographic north due to a significant amount of ore beneath the surface of the Earth. Though some compasses allow you to adjust for the deviation, you will want to consult a map to determine the extent to which you need to adjust your compass. The deviation for most areas is minor.
Usually, you are mostly concerned with your general direction and not the exact direction. If you are traveling for a holiday trip, for instance, your goal is probably just to get to the landmark or general vicinity of the target destination. A good way to learn how to use a compass is to become familiar with some basic knowledge in combination with what you will see on the dial. Since the sun rises in the East and sets in the West, you can easily determine the East-West directions. When you face the sunlight early in the day, you will be facing the East, or at least approximately. Likewise, if you face the sunlight later in the day, you will be facing west. Of course, your latitude can cause this to vary so keep in mind that this is not definitive. This should go without saying, but obviously the East is to your back when you are facing west and vice versa. You should now draw an imaginary line in that direction and compare it to the compass. Though no reading can be absolute, the more information you have is always better.
When you are traveling around winding trails, for example, it is easy to become disoriented. Having a general idea of the direction you are heading can be a terrific help. Now that you are more familiar with your compass, navigate your way to new, self-catering vacation spot and put it to use!.
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