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September 2013 Issue
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Navigation skill: Relocation

Relocating yourself requires identifying distinct features and then matching these to the map


So you are out in the wilderness and no longer know where you are in relation to the map. In basic terms, you are lost.

The first step to relocate yourself with a map is to identify that you are actually lost. No longer being able to point to exactly where you are on the map is a good indicator that things are starting to go wrong. If you catch your mistake early, it is usually easy to get back on track.

Once you realise you don’t know where you are, you need to check your heading and your compass to ensure they line up with the terrain.

Look around you and see if you can find anything big or distinct which shows up on the map such as a hill top, a lake or a cliff. You may need to retrace your steps to somewhere you have been before. If you can orientate your map and match these features with the map features, you should be able to identify your location on the map.

If you are still unsure of where you are, head to a nearby high point where you can have a good look around for a distinctive feature. If that does not help, you probably need outside assistance to get home, so follow the rules set out by SAR: sit tight, and wait for help to arrive.

– Tane Cambridge