Friday, October 10, 2008

Book Review: Be Expert With Map & Compass

The next book review here at Be A Survivor is one of the most valuable books you can ever read. I think I have stressed the fact that everyone should have some basic skills with a map and compass and how to use them to find out where you are and how the heck to get to where you want to be. I did a two part series on how to use a map and compass if you want to read them here are the links: (Part 1 and Part 2). This book is one of the best at breaking down this skill and making it easy to understand. The book is called Be Expert with Map and Compass: The Complete Orienteering Handbook. I cannot recommend this gem enough. Reading books on this subject can be boring and at the worst downright confusing. The author does a great job of taking the sport of Orienteering and enabling you to learn a skill that could one day save your life.

This was one of the first books I ever read on this subject and it was not the last. I can say without hesitation it was the best. There are clear instructions on how to use a compass, map and finally how to use them together and make the result extremely useful. This is not a new book but has been reprinted several times with over 500,000 copies sold. This book is viewed as a classic in many circles and I completely agree.

Introduction - The Art of Orienteering - This chapter is a basic introduction to maps and compasses but also to the sport of orienteering which is really what this book is about. It is a competitive sport that many people take part in which can be basically summed up as navigational contests. Those who can use the tools best and find the objective the quickest win.

Discovery - Fun with Maps Alone - This chapter covers maps; how to read them, types of maps, usefulness of maps, descriptions of maps, parts of a map, etc. Anything you can thing of concerning maps including legends and scale are discussed at some length. There are three sections of this book worth the price of admission alone and this is the first one without a doubt.

Exploration - Fun with Compass Alone - All about the compass and how to use one. This chapter is the second in the series that are the most critical and valuable. How to use a compass regardless of the type and how to physically sight a compass and follow a direction are all discussed at length.

Adventure - Fun with Map and Compass - This is the meat of the book taking the skill from the last two sections and putting them to good use. You will learn how to orient a map, take a bearing, plot a course, divert from a course, get back on course and get to a destination all using a map and compass. This section is the most critical in the book and should be read more than once.

Challenge: Competitive Orienteering - This book is all about the sport of Orienteering. There is some good information in here as well as some tips. This section is a bonus as far as I am concerned.

They also include a map in the book that can be pulled out and practiced with. That was a nice touch as they provide quiz like questions which allow you to use their map and answer...very useful if you don't have anything available. You will need to provide a compass and I do recommend it is an orienteering compass with a base plate as those are the easiest to use with maps.

I can comfortably say YOU SHOULD pick up this book if you either don't have a clue what to do with a map and compass or if you need a refresher. Some you may have the basics down, that's fine, but the author does provide some worthwhile tips and tricks as well as some advanced topics on the subject. Very good resource...check it out!

...that is all.

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  1. He got lost. Could not remember if black or bright end of compass needle points north. At home again
    he learned that black end points north. Scratched on back of compass B=N. Got lost again.
    Could not remember if B equals black or bright.

  2. I'm pretty good to go on the whole land nav thing but that seems like e a good book to have on the shelf none the less. It could help me teach someone else.