Our previous map reading posts were meant as an orientation to the individual new to Urban Survival Preparation. These map reading posts were placed in the context that the most likely scenario for the Urban (and Suburban) Survivor would be to re-locate from his/her urban or suburban home, during a total collapse, and make their way to a planned safe location which would usually be a rural or semi-rural location.
Part of the planning to re-locate or Urban Survival bug out was the plan your Bug Out route using PACE (Primary, Alternate, Contingency and Emergency) routes. One or more of these routes would be on foot hence requiring map reading and land navigation skills.
Our test case was Jim, who recently conducted a route rehearsal from his urban home to his rural Survival safe location. Jim also practiced plotting a movement of foot using a hand held compass to follow an azimuth from his known location to a planned location.
There are immediately two things that Jim (and others) should know and utilize when moving across country is how to keep track of distance traveled and how to maintain a compass azimuth bearing at night.
When measuring distance, the most common manual technique is the pace count. The Urban Survivor would measure a distance on the ground or could even use a football field and determine how many normal paces it takes to walk 100 meters or 100 yards depending on his/her preferred unit of measurement. Let’s say it took 132 paces to walk 100 yards. This could be converted to 66 left or 66 right steps. So as the Land Navigating Urban Survivor walks 66 left or right paces through the woods, he/she knows they have traveled 100 yards.
The Urban Survivor could stop, and make a tally mark on a piece of paper or can use any device, even a small mechanical counter device to keep track of how many 100 yards or 100 meter increments he/she has traveled. Then using the scale on the map, determine how far they have came from their starting point along that compass heading.
Using the pace count technique of measuring distance combined with keeping track of terrain features encounter while moving and matching them up on the map will allow the Urban Survivor to navigate effectively to his/her safe location.
When moving at night with minimal lunar illumination, the Land Navigating Urban Survivor will most likely either have to keep checking his compass, providing it has a luminous degree dial and NORTH seeking arrow in order not veer off the required compass azimuth,..this is called Dead Reckoning.
The Survivor can lined up his required compass azimuth with a identifiable star, then the Survivor can put the compass away and head towards that star knowing it is aligned with his/her required compass azimuth.
This is simply using an identifiable start as a surrogate terrain feature to bear towards. However, and this is an important however, the earth rotates so the stars will appear to rotate, so the Survivor using starts as a surrogate terrain feature to bear on a compass azimuth, needs to stop and re-shoot his compass azimuth in effect choosing another star every 15 minutes – no longer!
Bottom line – walk around at night following a compass azimuth providing you have a luminous dial on your compass with NORTH seeking arrow. Practice this, as well as bearing on a star in a practice situation rather than doing it for the first time for real.
Check out your pace count. Remember the number. It’ll come in handy for more than just navigating.