How to Use a Compass

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Navigating in wilderness can be challenging without knowing how to use a compass. Learn how to use a compass in this free desert survival video.

Part of the Video Series: How to Survive in the Desert
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Video Transcript

Hi. I'm Mike Meyers with Zion Wilderness Survival School for Expert Village. Now, we don't have time to really get into a map and compass course. It takes hours to learn this. But, I thought I'd give you a real quick idea of what you can do with a map and what you can do with a compass. First of all, there are many types of compasses. Some are very simple little round compasses also known as worthless compasses. Then, you have what is referred to as a protractor compass. A protractor compass is one like this. It has a base plate, a clear base plate, you can see, usually rectangular shaped. It's got a bunch of numbers and things on it. Don't worry about those for the moment. And, it has a compass in the center with a dial which turns. Okay? You see I'm turning this. And then, it has the floating magnetic needle. That need, that compass to work has to be flat like this. But, the compass points toward magnetic north. Now, this compass is also used with what they call a siting mirror, this mirror here. Skip that. I don't use it. I don't like it. It makes it much more difficult for me. I just use it as a nice cover for the compass. But, effectively, the combination of the base plate, the rotating housing, and the siting arrow, and the magnetic arrow when used all together is what allows somebody to navigate in the wilderness with a map and a compass.

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