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#245474 - 05/01/12 01:49 AM Re: Navigation by the Sun [Re: Pete]
Russ Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 4964
Loc: SOCAL
I've got an App on my cellphone that will tell me where the sun is -- Celestial by Navimatics, but then the phone has a built in electronic compass too wink and then there's Sun Compass for iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone cool

I think the idea of this thread's exercise is determine direction without tech -- no compass, no watch, no cheat sheet with sun directions, no iPhone ... A simple stick in the ground and tracking the sun's shadow and you can have a fairly accurate idea of N-S-E-W. With a little time you can make a sun compass that travels with you. Simple no-tech solutions.

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#245478 - 05/01/12 04:36 AM Re: Navigation by the Sun [Re: Outdoor_Quest]
Teslinhiker Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/14/09
Posts: 1382
Navigation by the sun is easy to learn and one can obtain an accurate N/S/E/W direction when using the stick method. Over the years I have shown many people this method and they were not aware of and have been surprised of this primitive but very effective way of direction finding.

As for the watch method, even with the digital watches, we all should still have a good idea where the old analog numbers would be located on a modern digital watch. You are then still able to obtain a very good indicator of N/S/E/W direction without any difficulty.

Needless to say though, having a compass (and a backup compass) pays dividends for times where the sun is blocked by cloud, rain or snow which can last for hours, if not days depending on where you are.
_________________________
Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.

John Lubbock

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#245481 - 05/01/12 11:57 AM Re: Navigation by the Sun [Re: dougwalkabout]
Montanero Online   content
Veteran

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1430
Loc: North Carolina
Yes it works

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#245483 - 05/01/12 01:23 PM Re: Navigation by the Sun [Re: Russ]
Outdoor_Quest Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 08/17/09
Posts: 305
Loc: Central Oregon
I am familiar with the sun compass process with the large stick. I put that together Sunday and it works quite well.

The larger the stick the better.

I'll check out the video again.

Izzy, thanks for the input regarding using your watch.

Blake

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#245484 - 05/01/12 01:49 PM Re: Navigation by the Sun [Re: Teslinhiker]
Outdoor_Quest Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 08/17/09
Posts: 305
Loc: Central Oregon
Originally Posted By: Teslinhiker
Navigation by the sun is easy to learn and one can obtain an accurate N/S/E/W direction when using the stick method. Over the years I have shown many people this method and they were not aware of and have been surprised of this primitive but very effective way of direction finding.



Teslinhiker - just how accurate do you think this method is? I think the process is great.

Blake

www.outdoorquest.blogspot.com

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#245486 - 05/01/12 03:06 PM Re: Navigation by the Sun [Re: Outdoor_Quest]
Russ Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 4964
Loc: SOCAL
On a sunny day and with a tall enough stick, it should be dead-on. At local apparent noon, the stick's shortest shadow should be pointed straight to true north. Given a long enough timeframe to lay out a line of stakes, the line should form a straight E-W line.

Do this as a test when you still have a compass to check it, this will give you the confidence to trust it. Personally, I would use this technique to check the compass, rather than using a compass to check the sun. Don't forget to account for magnetic deviation -- the sun compass is True.

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#245508 - 05/01/12 11:12 PM Re: Navigation by the Sun [Re: Outdoor_Quest]
Teslinhiker Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/14/09
Posts: 1382
Originally Posted By: Outdoor_Quest


Teslinhiker - just how accurate do you think this method is? I think the process is great.

Blake


As Russ mentioned, the accuracy of the method is dead on. However like any direction finding, it requires skill to keep headed in the right direction, especially in unfamiliar, featureless or dense terrain. Some people will initially get themselves headed in the right direction but will soon deviate as they start off with the sun on one shoulder, to their back, or their front. It might not occur to them that the sun is still moving through the sky but they keep with the original thought that N/S/E/W "must be that way" because that is where the sun was on their body when they stopped to find their initial direction.

Even in as a little as 1/2 hour, you can be degrees away from your original, targeted direction enough to miss that crucial trail junction, trailhead, water stream etc.

This same principle applies to using a compass. For example; if you look orient your compass to North then deviate 5 -10 degrees away from North, it does not look like much at a short distance, however over a much longer distance, you can be far enough off direction from your destination that you may not notice and miss that trail junction etc by a fair amount if you do not take the time to take compass readings as you go.
_________________________
Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.

John Lubbock

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#245509 - 05/01/12 11:21 PM Re: Navigation by the Sun [Re: Teslinhiker]
Russ Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 4964
Loc: SOCAL
That is why when you take a compass bearing you should find a landmark in that direction and hike toward that rather than just walking in that direction. People in general do not walk a straight line unless they have a target.

Also, the Ottamani compass can be carried and the sun's shadow marked with time of day. As you walk, orient the compass so the shadow is cast where it should be at that time, compass direction should be close. $.02 (never had to try that)

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#245511 - 05/01/12 11:33 PM Re: Navigation by the Sun [Re: Russ]
Teslinhiker Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/14/09
Posts: 1382
Originally Posted By: Russ
That is why when you take a compass bearing you should find a landmark in that direction and hike toward that rather than just walking in that direction. People in general do not walk a straight line unless they have a target. [/i]


That works if the daylight skies are clear and also without your visible terrain features being obscured by falling darkness, heavy fog, falling/blowing snow etc.
_________________________
Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.

John Lubbock

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#245513 - 05/01/12 11:43 PM Re: Navigation by the Sun [Re: Outdoor_Quest]
Teslinhiker Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/14/09
Posts: 1382
Found this short tutorial on Youtube. This young man aptly demonstrates the basic concepts of the stick compass method.

_________________________
Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.

John Lubbock

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