The map is a basic and indispensable tool in the guidance. A map is a symbolic representation of the landforms of the land to a reduced size, since in a simple sheet of paper on which are represented in the forms of the landscape that is before us.
The basic reading of the maps is very simple, and with some minimal knowledge can decipher all the information of the map to orient in the environment.
The geography of the map corresponds to a close and direct knowledge of the environment, and surely we have applied more than once during our trips to the mountain. During the trips and outdoor activities is necessary, almost indispensable, go reading and interpreting the symbolic information provided by the maps in relation to the space around us, to know at all times fully master our situation and our steps.
Terms such as latitude, longitude and degrees are often difficult to understand for a large number of fans to outdoor activities. However, the basics to master the geographic coordinates are very simple and are acquired easily, with a little care and some practical lessons.
When we speak of latitude and longitude, the two main geographic coordinates, we mean precisely to give a position anywhere on Earth’s surface. The geographical coordinates (latitude and longitude) taken as reference two large imaginary lines that traverse the surface of the globe: the line of Ecuador, which in turn is the most important parallel and the meridian of 0 degrees, also known as Meridian Greenwich.
Topographic maps, released in any scale, are printed with a coordinate system used to locate anywhere in the world on land or at sea.
Latitude is the angle between the vertical of a surface point on the way to the center of the plane in Ecuador, located in turn in the center of the globe. The latitude is counted from Ecuador on the meridian passing through that point, ranging from 0 º to 90 º. The points are in the Northern Hemisphere have north or positive and the points are located in the southern hemisphere have negative or south latitude.
The data necessary to locate the correct position is the length, and is ascertained using the fractions as meridians.
The meridians are imaginary lines that go from pole to pole of the globe, from north to south and vice versa.
The name Meridian is because the lines connect all points where it is noon simultaneously.
The combination of meridians and parallels form a Cartesian axis used to determine a specific point on the surface of the earth. Unlike lines of latitude (parallels), the distance between the meridian (longitude) is not always the same.
It stands to reason that for the vast dimensions of the mapped area is not possible to represent a portion of paper-size reliefs. The relationship between the map and the land it represents, or what is the same, the ratio between the map and the landscape before us is the scale.
The proportions of the basic scales used in general, throughout the world range from the large scales, 1:25,000 and 1:50,000 (in the sense of proportion) market maps to navigate in the environment of the mountain.
Scale 1: 25.000. Four inches on the map equals one mile on the ground, equidistant contours of 10 meters.
The most universal and absolute sense of orientation take references on a map is the system of geographical coordinates (latitude and longitude), although in practice a system is impractical in the use of plans and maps the mountain, it does not lend itself easily to the calculation of directions and distances. In this case using a rectangular reference system clearer and defined the role of map reliefs as taking a plane, so its interpretation is much more understandable for everyone.
This reference system is called rectangular UTM Projection. The maps include UTM kilometric grid readings provide us the coordinates. In principle the UTM coordinates can be confusing, but familiarity with them, because we offer greater accuracy and comfort.
To measure on a topographic map distance between two points is essential to understand and know how to use the map scale.
Reduced distance is the distance between two points taken directly from the map, in a straight line.
Geometric distance: the straight line distance between two points on the map, taking into account the gap between them.
Actual distance: to check the actual distance, we must take into account the terrain and land forms, full of small ups and downs. The actual distance is the distance between two points, measured directly on the reliefs of the land.
Guidance on the mountain: Using the symbols and iconography of a map to guide them in the mountain is the most natural way of using all information printed on paper. In fact, the map is the element of the guidance team which actually indicates our position in the field and shows the right direction towards where we’re headed.
To begin to orient using a topographic map, the first step is to figure out exactly where we are and define the point on our map. The next step is to orient the map with the ground, matching design elements on the map with corresponding features of the landscape, taking into account that the top of the topographic maps always indicates the geographic North.
With sufficient expertise and experience to guide a field map, the compass goes into the background because the map alone, can tell the address and directions necessary that we should follow to reach our goals.
Everyone agrees to consider the compass orientation of the instrument par excellence. Its use is extremely simple and serves to orient the map correctly follow a given direction and angle measurements on the ground.
The simplest type of compass is made of a magnetic needle placed on a vertical support at the same time provides support and allows the needle to rotate. The whole is located inside a small box with glass top to allow viewing of the interior. The magnetic needle construction has some features that distinguish the end that a point to magnetic north normally magnetized side is red orange or other prominent tone.
The current compasses have built-in capsule or liquid limbo where is located the magnetic needle, perfected the system to act as a brake to the needle and get a more stable and accurate movement of the same.
All compasses are not the same market or serve the same purpose, and depending on the activity being performed, it can choose the right compass. To use sport and leisure, in hiking and other mountain activities, is light enough to carry a compass embedded in its external structure, the elements necessary to make measurements on the map.
The course: Following some basic steps of orientation is very easy to find out the path towards a particular direction of the field, and more particularly, to a point of it.
Located in a place called A look through the viewfinder of the compass or the direction arrow, the destination or the direction we intend to follow, call B. Still looking at point B, turn the compass mobile limbo until the tip of the needle magnet gives (northbound and usually red) and the tail of the same (southbound and usually white) match the mark meridian north of the compass, after making this simple operation, we can read the direction indicator at the point of blade grades.
Types of Compasses:
There is so much variety and models of compasses on the market that most beginners have trouble deciding direction the compass type fits your needs. A simple compass, mobile limbo and transparent basis, is sufficient to begin the exciting world of guidance, where good quality.
Most people have a general idea that the compasses used by themselves for guidance. This definition is somewhat incorrect, because the compass never shows the location on the map or on the ground, nor did it reflect the geographic coordinates of latitude and longitude or UTM coordinates of the position, and without this critical information, know hardly find our exact location on the map. Ultimately, the compass itself serves very little effective as usual and the compass is used in conjunction with a topographic map.
The compass simple, transparent base and mobile limbo, is recommended for beginners compass in orientation activities: hikers, climbers, travelers and, in general, all those who need a compass under any condition and without need for measurements of maximum accuracy.
The fixed-blade, compass sold more for its attractive and suggestive ways by the utility in counseling techniques. The fixed blade compasses are not recommended for work with planes, and for lacking a clear base which you can view the map by placing the compass on top, are simply used as compasses, maps independent, to follow directions on the ground.
However, as data of value for these instruments, we must say are excellent to work with compass bearings.
To follow a compass course with a fixed blade without girarnos we move from field to match the figure of the direction with the line located at the front of the compass (area where the hinge to fold the cover).
Then we turn forty or fifty degrees the small arm of the lens, so that allows us to see the figure on the false limb, while the thread Calamos vertical rectangular window from the top of the compass by slot magnifying glass, at which time we took a distant reference and follow that direction.
The compass of observation or mirror is a sophisticated variation of the transparent base plate compass. The mirror compass bearing allows the hiker to take very precise and very desirable for mountaineers and hikers.
Compass Precision, really, all market compasses are accurate, but under the name of precision compasses compasses include a precision of less than a degree of error, a feature that makes these compasses into indispensable tools for professionals.
In targeting mountain is not very common to use a compass accuracy. In sport, however, caving practitioners commonly use precision compass, especially the model KB-14 can have its own light, supplemented with a Clisimeter (meter inclinations).
Electronic compass, the art has come to the manufacturers of compasses, and offered to users compasses models with the latest advances in electronics that allow to find quickly and with maximum precision reverse directions, angles of deviation, correcting the decline and the rest required utilities to a high quality compass and benefits.
The electronic compass, by themselves, are rarely used in guidance in the mountains. They are usually installed instruments that carry road vehicles participating in sports events and more recently also used by the raiders in testing multi-adventure sports.
The choice of a compass, while taking into account the personal preferences and should be done in terms of activities that is practiced regularly.
About the price of the equipment we can say that there is no need to spend much to buy a quality compass. Prices of basic compasses (transparent plate and leaf cell) are similar to those of mountain socks.
Recommended uses of the compass:
- Walking and hiking: Compass simple, transparent base and mobile limbo.
- Mountaineering: Compass mirror or fixed blade.
- Orienteering: Compass transparent base and mobile limbo.
- Evidence of adventure-based Compass transparent or electronic compass.
- Caving: Compass observer or mirror.