Using your map and compass

By Pete Hawkins

This handbook to navigation - the practical technique of map and compass - will help you master the necessary skills for mountain walking. As a small, pocket guide, this is an ideal companion to take into the hills. Chapters include instruction in map reading, bearings, route planning, night navigation and bad weather, as well as with a GPS.

25 Jan 2007
8 Feb 2017
15.5 x 10.0 x 0.8cm
  • Overview

    Owning a compass isn’t everything. Knowing how and when to use it is! Contrary to what many walkers think, using a compass is straightforward and easy to learn.

    This practical handbook to navigation - the techniques of using map and compass - will help you master the key skills necessary for walking and mountaineering in the mountains. As a small, pocket guide, this is an ideal companion to take into the hills, and since practice will make perfect, time spent navigating will provide the freedom and confidence to enjoy our hills and mountains. Chapters include instruction in map reading, taking bearings, route planning, navigation at night or in bad weather, as well as details on GPS navigation. Navigation is a fundamental skill, and with this handbook, you can enjoy exploring the wilds with confidence.

    Pete Hawkins is a qualified mountain leader, freelance journalist and the author of Map and Compass published by Cicerone. He writes the monthly navigation column for a leading leading walking magazine.

    • This mini-guide handbook is small, lightweight and pocket-size
    • includes a PVC jacket and comes complete with a Navigational Aid card
    • with full-colour diagrams and photography throughout, this handbook will have you enjoying the hills to their utmost.
  • Contents
    Preface by Alan Hinkes OBE   

    Chapter 1    Why Use a Map and Compass?   
    Chapter 2    Map Essentials – Scales and Grids    
    Chapter 3    Map Symbols and Contours   
    Chapter 4    Walking with the Map    
    Chapter 5    Choosing your Compass    
    Chapter 6    Taking a Bearing from the Map   
    Chapter 7    Taking a Bearing from the Ground   
    Chapter 8    Walking with Map and Compass   
    Chapter 9    Route Planning   
    Chapter 10    Night and Bad Weather Navigation   
    Chapter 11     New Technology – GPS and Computer Mapping   
    Chapter 12    Where Now?   

    Appendix I Answers to Questions  
    Appendix II Useful Contacts and Addresses   
    Appendix III Further Reading   
    Appendix IV Navigational Aid   

  • Updates
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    May 2019

    page 76: the bold text relating to the diagram should read 'You intend to walk from A to B ....'

  • Reviews

    'The small size of this attractive new series launched by Cicerone will make them very suitable for carrying on the hill. All are well illustrated with colour photos, sketches and map, and have solid plastic covers.

    This book is is packed full of information and advice, using diagrams to keep the text short. All necessary techniques are covered, from understanding maps to night and bad weather navigation.

    A plastic romer, map scales and timing chart inside the back cover are also very handy for newcomers to the hills.'

    (Irish Mountain Log / Summer 2007)

    A must read for walkers!

    Cicerone have included a nicely produced transparent plastic reference card for readers to use to practice using a romer, measure distances on a route and also estimate timing and pacing for planning purposes. This is a very welcome addition and is something that is missing from the many other books covering the topic that are widely available.

    The author does a particularly good job of explaining scales and grids used in map making and reading. This is often a awkward concept to explain to a beginner especially but in this case the author has explained it clearly and fully.
    The chapter covering choosing a compass is interesting and covers the various different compasses available and the factors you have to consider when choosing one to meet your needs. This something that again is a welcome addition to a book of this sort.

    The areas where this title really excels is in the two chapters covering taking and working with a bearing. The author covers both techniques of taking a bearing from a map and taking one from the ground. The guidance provided is clear and concise and covers everything you should know in relation to working with bearings. I particularly liked the description of how to perform a resection which is where you have to gauge your position by taking bearings of surrounding features in the landscape and translating it to your map. I know from experience that this is can be a vital skill to have and I urge readers to pay special attention this section particularly those who enjoy walking the hills.
    Route planning is covered towards the end of the book and brings your map and compass skills together with timing in the form of the traditional route card. In my experience route cards are something that many walkers often disregard but shouldn’t as they are important to both their own safety and to those around them as well.

    This book is one I will be recommending that fellow walkers read no matter if they are a beginner or more experienced as it covers the topic superbly. It has been well written and the illustrations photographs used throughout the chapters are excellent. A must read for walkers!
    Walk Fife

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Pete Hawkins

Pete Hawkins trained as a geography teacher and taught in schools for a year before escaping to the Peak National Park's Environmental Centre for an outdoor job. He took over map and compass training and has since written for a variety of outdoor magazines. He now leads walking holidays around the world from his base in the Peak District.

View Guidebooks by Pete Hawkins