How to read a map when your GPS fails?

GPS does not work? how to read a map on the trail?

Today we are so connected to the digital world that certain skills are left out and sometimes even forgotten. So, if technology fails, we could have a big problem. Therefore, knowing how to read a map is crucial for those who venture into nature.

While camping, hiking, and backpacking, understanding the map can help you avoid many dangers if the GPS is defective or does not work in the region. Want to know how to read a map on the trail hiking or camping? Then read on!

Choose the right map

There are numerous types of maps available and each of them represents something different. For each situation, it is necessary to choose the appropriate type. If you are on foot, a map showing a large area, but few details, will not be useful.

For camps, the ideal is for the map to show the topography, rivers, and other geographical details. If he offers details about the local vegetation and names rivers and trails, even better.

Pay attention to the caption

The legend will provide all the information you need to read a map without any problems. In general, blue means water; brown, mountains. However, most details may vary depending on the cartographer.

Maps have symbols, lines and colors that represent something in the landscape. The caption explains the meaning of each of these elements and is essential for you to locate yourself.

Understand the scale
The scale indicates the correspondence between the size of the map and the actual size of the mapped area. Its math? Yes, but you don’t have to worry. It is quite simple to understand it.

In general, it is represented numerically. For example, 1: 100,000, where 1 centimeter on the map equals 100,000 cm in real life. The ideal maps for camping and hiking usually have a scale of 1: 25000.

How to read a map: Check the orientation:

In most maps, the North is at the top. However, it is worth checking the wind rose to be sure. This element is a drawing that indicates each of the cardinal points. They are: North (N), South (S), East (L) and West (O).

To trace routes, also identify the collateral points – Northeast (NE), Northwest (NO), Southeast (SE) and Southwest (SO). When you know where the map points, it is easier to locate yourself, a compass is very useful at this time.

Identify latitude and longitude

The geographic coordinate system serves to determine the specific location of any point on the planet. The longitude is composed of vertical lines: the meridians, which indicate positions to the East and the West. The lines are numbered from the Greenwich Meridian.

Latitude, on the other hand, is made up of parallels, horizontal lines that have the Equator Line as their zero points and indicate positions to the North and South. This information is useful for longer trips, as they do not always appear on maps of small areas.

By recognizing each element of the map and understanding what they mean, you can find their location and plot routes to your destination, in a different experience than simply following the GPS.

Knowing how to read a map, besides being a useful and fun skill, is an extra guarantee that your tour will be safe. This can also make you more in tune with the environment around you.

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