Map, compass, GPS, cell phone, and I'm still lost!

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Rick Courtright

Hawkeye
Joined
Mar 10, 2002
Messages
7,897
Location
Redlands CA USA
Fox Mike said:
Many people who get lost fail to do one thing; realize that you are lost. DO NOT PANIC! Analyze the situation before stricking out and making things worse.

Hi,

An acquaintance years ago was active with RMRU, the Riverside (CA) Mountain Rescue Unit, a local SAR group who, as their name says, specialized in mountain rescues. He'd also been involved with boating and water rescues earlier. He told me a lot about what they did and how they did it, and two things in particular have stuck in my head over the years. I think they'd agree with your training, Frank:

1. People usually give up before their equipment does; and

2. PANIC has killed more people than anything else when faced with an emergency situation.

Rick C
 

Jeepnik

Hawkeye
Joined
Dec 16, 2005
Messages
5,711
Location
On the beach and in the hills
Colonialgirl said:
Well; I DID sail from Avalon Harbor on Catalina Island right back to the entrance to Long Beach Harbor on a foggy day when you were hard put to see the bowsprit at the bow of the Ketch Conchita; Just followed the compass while swinging to allow large wave swells to hit stern on instead of on the side.

Loran was good for that too.
 

Number9

Blackhawk
Joined
Aug 24, 2012
Messages
953
Location
Tennessee
I'd tell Dad at an early age that I'm going hunting, he would say, if you're not back in three days we'll bring the dogs and look for ya! I would get turned around, but I'd find my way back.
I learned navigation at an early age.. one of my first jobs was with a civil engineering company in Atlanta. My job was to update Georgia topo maps of Georgia for the USGS.
One of my hobbies is looking for gold and gemstones in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. I transfer sites from geological maps to topo maps, then navigate to the location. Many times this would be less than an acre in the middle of a million acres.
I use mapping software to print several maps of different scale of the area that will be searched, each map will have a grid overlay in UTM coordinates. UTM coordinates is the system that search and rescue use, it is a direct measurement over land, unlike deg., min., and sec.
I carry two GPS, two compass, one is my Bruton Pocket Transit, and several maps. You use EVERY navigation tool. I only use the GPS to confirm my present location, I don't follow a GPS. IF you know your current location, you know where everything is located on your map.. distance, direction, and terrain you would cross to get there.
I can navigate night or day, in any weather.. and have. I can navigate by the stars or sun.. if they are out. Oh.. moss doesn't always grow on the north side of a tree.. it grows on the cool side, which may not be north!

Cholo.. Polk County, TN is my back yard!
 

Mobuck

Hawkeye
Joined
Dec 25, 2007
Messages
7,596
Location
missouri
Many of the things my agency does involves maps. It's amazing (to me anyway) how few people can actually look at an overhead map and get any useful information from it. I conduct map reading classes during training so have seen most every map challenged employee in the region. In addition, I use satellite maps constantly for work and just information. I can even find heavily used game trails in tall grass CRP fields that would be unknown unless I happened to stumble onto them. I showed my 2018 elk hunting partner exactly (to the actual tree) where my 2017 elk was standing.
I can measure field acreage, determine distances from potential deer stands to travel paths, find the length and middle of a fenceline. Last month, I actually counted the number of trees in an orchard I was appraising for a loss.
I do wish Google, Bing, and the others would update their maps more often. Things change a lot in 5-6 years. Tree lines are removed, houses built/torn down, and fields changed.
 
Joined
Oct 26, 2006
Messages
9,486
Location
Woodbury, Tn
I am a private pilot. I use map, compass, and GPS. GPS ONLY can get you into trouble! Hiking/hunting I use the sun on one shoulder come back to the truck with the sun on the other shoulder using a box like grid on a ridge. There can be a few glitches with that, but that is why ya got a compass and map!
gramps
 

7p's

Single-Sixer
Joined
Sep 21, 2009
Messages
189
Location
North Dakota
Never been lost, as an adult. When I thought I was a little confused, I always relied on my topo map, compass or both and always walked right to the general area I needed to be. In swamp or sheer cliff areas you need to know how to handle a compass & map, which isn't hard to learn - however, the GPS makes it much easier and you will come back to wherever you came from, as long as you entered your starting navigation point into the GPS prior to setting out.

The hand held GPS is absolutely fantastic in finding your duck blind on a large body of water containing a zillion floating/semi-permanent bog islands, and all look alike - just scout for your desired location in daylight, after finding it, mark it in your GPS and enter waypoints on your way back to the landing. When going to your blind in total darkness just follow the GPS and you'll have your decoys set out, your boat will be set-up and well anchored within your blind area and you'll be sipping on a hot cup of coffee by the time you hear those fellows with no GPS stumbling around trying to get set up.
 
Joined
Nov 17, 2009
Messages
10,556
Location
Webster, MD.
7p's said:
Never been lost, as an adult. When I thought I was a little confused, I always relied on my topo map, compass or both and always walked right to the general area I needed to be. In swamp or sheer cliff areas you need to know how to handle a compass & map, which isn't hard to learn - however, the GPS makes it much easier and you will come back to wherever you came from, as long as you entered your starting navigation point into the GPS prior to setting out.

The hand held GPS is absolutely fantastic in finding your duck blind on a large body of water containing a zillion floating/semi-permanent bog islands, and all look alike - just scout for your desired location in daylight, after finding it, mark it in your GPS and enter waypoints on your way back to the landing. When going to your blind in total darkness just follow the GPS and you'll have your decoys set out, your boat will be set-up and well anchored within your blind area and you'll be sipping on a hot cup of coffee by the time you hear those fellows with no GPS stumbling around trying to get set up.
However did we find do our duck blinds before GPS? One way was know the area you set it in and, even if it was cloudy or skuddy, a compass and a watch would get you there.
 

Number9

Blackhawk
Joined
Aug 24, 2012
Messages
953
Location
Tennessee
Well, I've been lost one time.. no, not confused or turned around.. but 100% lost!

It was in South Georgia in a place they call the Okefenokee Swamp... yes friends, 430,000 acres of "lost"! Everything looks the same on a misty, sunless day!

I entered the swamp before daylight, I had only been in that area a few times and the squirrel hunting was great! I walked around for four or five hours before I decided to leave. I reached into my pocket.. but my compass wasn't there! I forgot to bring my compass!

Yes, you will walk in circles.. I "found" the same oak tree three times!
Knowing a train track ran beside the road where I parked, I thought it would be best to wait on a train to mark my road. One came along in about an hour... I lined up a tree as far as I could see in the direction of the trains sound.. then another tree. This was to keep me from walking in a circle.

I hit the road in about an hour just before dark!
 

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