The basics of orientation on the terrain, point and linear landmarks, the choice of landmarks at night and in conditions of limited visibility, in winter and in desert-steppe terrain.

Orienteering is to be able to determine your location and the desired direction of further movement relative to the sides of the horizon, surrounding local objects and relief elements. Usually this type of orientation is called topographic.. 

Basics of terrain orientation, point and linear landmarks, selection of landmarks at night and in conditions of limited visibility, in winter and in desert-steppe terrain.

The most universal way is to orient the topographic map. It consists in determining the location point on the map, in identifying surrounding local objects and relief details by comparing them with the image on the map, as well as in establishing further directions of movement relative to these objects (landmarks).

Thus, the main methods of orientation on the ground are orientation on a map, on a compass (magnetic meridian) and on individual landmarks. In practice, all three of these methods are closely intertwined and complement each other..

So, the essence of orientation consists of three elements:

Identification of the area in which we are located, by its well-known signs and local objects.
Determining Your Location.
Finding directions for further movement in a given area.

The most important task of orientation is to determine and maintain the desired direction of movement in any conditions, day and night. The direction of movement on the terrain is determined by horizontal angles relative to the northern direction of the magnetic meridian. These angles, measured clockwise from 0 to 360 degrees, are called magnetic azimuths..

The basics of orientation on the terrain, point and linear landmarks, the choice of landmarks at night and in conditions of limited visibility, in winter and in desert-steppe terrain.

Instead of the magnetic meridian, we can choose another direction for the initial one, from which we determine the angle to the direction of motion we need. For example, the line on which we are standing and some (local) object chosen by us (visible), which we will call the reference point in the future, can be taken as the initial direction. In this case, the angles determined from this direction will be angles relative to the landmark.

More often angles find their application not for movement on the terrain, but for target designation. What is target designation? This is an indication of the goal (object) relative to the landmark. For example, to the right 100 meters from the bridge is a person, etc..

Orientation by compass and sides of the horizon.

Now we will consider the orientation of the compass, that is, on the sides of the horizon. Such orientation is necessary for every person who has to move around the area. Moreover, this method is most often addressed in practice..

Because in a closed or monotonous area, poor in landmarks, for example, in a forest, in areas subject to great damage, in deserts, etc., as well as in conditions of poor visibility (at night, in fog, blizzard, with smoke, etc. n.), it is difficult to compare the map with the terrain, and sometimes it is impossible to navigate with it.

In such cases, they always turn to the compass and determine the direction of movement in azimuth, that is, they are oriented along the sides of the horizon. With this method, the orientation problem is only partially solved, since we determine only the direction of movement on the ground. The location of objects along this direction we must determine by measuring the map or in some other way.

Selection of landmarks, point and linear landmarks, landmarks at night and in conditions of limited visibility, in winter and in desert-steppe areas.

With this method of orientation, it is important to learn how to choose the right landmarks on the terrain, which in the subsequent movement are used as beacons, indicating to us the desired direction of movement, points or lines. Landmarks, as a rule, should be very different from other local objects located near them. In short, it should be striking at the first glance at the terrain.

These include: individual trees, buildings, sharp mountain peaks, barrows, intersections (forks) of roads, places of confluence of streams, etc. As a rule, these so-called point landmarks make it easy to determine the location and accurately indicate your location on the map. But at night, the choice of landmarks is complicated, as many of them become invisible or not visible at all.

In this case, it is better to choose more significant terrain objects as landmarks, differing in their characteristic shape against the sky or surrounding terrain. It is better to maintain a given direction at night along the so-called linear landmarks. These include roads, rivers, forest edges and clearings, ravines and other folds of the terrain, elongated in the directions of movement.

In winter, due to heavy and frequent snowfalls, the visibility and appearance of the area changes significantly – this dramatically worsens the conditions for observation and orientation. In these conditions, when choosing landmarks, preference should be given to local objects of a dark color, since they stand out better against the background of snow cover.

In the desert-steppe area, due to the lack of clearly visible objects, you have to use the compass more to maintain the direction of movement. And in general, in all cases when, according to terrain conditions or due to bad visibility, it is not possible to choose and use natural landmarks, movement in this direction is carried out by compass. Using it, you can navigate to any terrain, at any time of the day or in any weather..

Based on the book “Map and Compass My Friends”.
Klimenko A.I..

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