UDPATE 2: We’re considering scheduling an open enrollment land nav class, interest dependent, for September. So, if you want to learn land navigation, using either compass listed below, shoot a note over to us. We have a 12 slot minimum; cost: $100 per registrant.
- Navigation tools nomenclature and correct use (USGI Lensatic & Suunto MC2 type compass, protractor, UTM scale, and map).
- Azimuth and back azimuth determination.
- USGI Lensatic Compass Bezel Ring use.
- Natural or manmade occurrences that degrade compass accuracy.
- Topographical map marginal information identification and use.
- Correct identification of grid squares by four digit coordinates.
- Grid Plotting: Four, six, and eight digit grids.
- Grid and Magnetic Azimuths.
- Declination impact on grid azimuths; conversion of grid and magnetic azimuths using provided map declination.
- Modified Resection
- Plot and execute a predetermined route finding each point provided within the given time limit without becoming lost.
Confirmed registrants will be provided a link to purchase their training maps ($9.,95 plus shipping) in 1:10,000 and protractor/UTM scale ($8 each plus shipping). Release date for information is end of March.
UPDATE: Originally posted on 4 Nov 13. Reposting to give prospective students time to acquire necessary tools for the class (if you don’t have them already, which you should). With the recent uptick in interest in Land Nav at various sites, to include Dan Morgan76, who has an excellent post on why learn, here, we decided to jump on the band wagon in anticipation of the Spring class we’ll offer in Southeast Michigan. Details to follow, but right now we’re looking at mid to late April.
Here’s our picks for basic tools necessary for battery-free* land navigation. The tried and true ‘manual’ method, a compass: Don’t get a cheap imitation; get a USGI Tritium Lensatic Compass. The Cammenga brand is very good and takes rough field use well. Typical cost for the basic model is around $75. If you absolutely can’t afford the tritium model, there are phosphorus models, and you can get them in various colors or even camouflaged, depending on your tase. Bottom line? Like anything else, get the absolute best you can afford. You can check them out here: http://www.greatlakesurvival.com/navigation-products.html
Alternative: Suunto, K&R or Silva ‘Baseplate’ type compass. Any of the three will work; we’ve seen reports that the Suunto and K&R are more accurate than the Silva, but your mileage may vary. These can come very cheap for the base models; the better ones run between $40 and $75 a pop. I got mine, a K&R, on amazon. Delivered in 2 days.
Protractor: Ok, it’s technical name is, “Coordinate Scale and Protractor”, but for us dinosaurs, it’s a protractor. The new and improved model is very nicely priced at $8 with options for bulk pricing if you are going to buy for a lot of friends. This particular tool will make your map work seem to go a lot faster. This model also provides quite a bit more flexibility in use on different map scales. The nicest touch they’ve added, in our opinion, is the addition of bands of white ink underneath the degree and mil roses, making reading the compass rose easier and also keeps the tool from “disappearing” when you place it on the map. You can get yours at http://www.maptools.com Get two.
While you’re at it over at maptools.com, consider a UTM slot tool that has 14 scales which will cover just about any map scale you may find yourself using. We’ve found them to be super accurate and for $8 (just about everything is $8….) you can’t go wrong. Check it out here.
Map: A good map is everything in navigation. We recommend the Military Grid Reference System (MGRS) maps in 1 to 25,000 scale as the most readable and versatile for grid plotting followed up with higher scale maps for general AO familiarization (but more on that in class). DTG teaches and recommends the use of 8 digit grid coordinates, which brings the navigator within 10 meters (33 feet) of his/her target. Sure, you can use other methods and a 1:50,000 scale map, plot a 6 digit, and add a zero at the end of each element, but you’ll find that method is not as effective as an actual 8 digit grid coordinate. Just sayin’. We get our maps at, ‘www.mytopo.com’. Best place we’ve found to get a good map customized to your personal needs. We also recommend having MGRS grid lines on your maps. Makes plotting a lot easier and more precise. (Speaking of plotting, make sure you have either a couple good mechanical pencils in #2 lead, or some basic #2’s with a pencil sharpener. The finer the point, the better the plot.) The folks at mytopo make any map in any scale you wish, so you’re really getting a custom map that will take care of your needs. For example, when we teach our Land Nav course, we use a 1:10,000 scale map for ease of learning and seeing routes plotted. You’ll also have the option to get an aerial photograph version of your map. We’ve found these to be useful when studying a particular area if (and we’ve found they usually are) the photo is more recent than the provided ‘Map Information Date’ (located under the ‘LEGEND’) that indicates the age (read accuracy) of the information used in making the map. Especially when it comes to changes in urban development, etc. So, check them out. Training: The internet is a great source of information, and a lot of good posts are out there for the academic work. But you can’t get dirt time on the web. That’s where we come in: DTG provides more than just a ‘good idea’ of how to perform this essential skill, and you’ll be taught by people who know the subject inside and out and have done land nav in many and various regions throughout the US and Europe.
Stay tuned for more class details in the coming weeks. See you in class!