EnvironmentHow ToSurvival

Finding Direction with No Compass

Electronic devices are fantastic for determining direction. Many of us use them daily. I enjoy training that employs multiple methods, as well, with electronic devices being in the mix. The following direction-finding exercises are especially fun, and valuable, when conducted with kids or as a family activity. H/t to Compassdude for putting together this tutorial. Read on!

There are lots of fun ways to find directions if you’ve lost or forgotten your compass. They are great exercises to do just to learn them and have handy just in case or to impress your city-slicker friends. These methods can be used to map cardinal directions and better, but remember that they are not nearly as good as a compass.

Polaris the North Star

This is my favorite and the easiest one to do. All you need is a fairly clear night and knowledge of a couple constellations.

  • Find the Big Dipper in the sky.
  • Follow the edge of the ladle 5 times its length up the edge of the ladle.
  • The brightest star there is Polaris the North Star which is virtually north.
  • Cassiopeia is a ‘W’ shaped constellation across the North Star from the Big Dipper. It’s ‘W’ points right at the north star also.
  • In the southern hemisphere, the Southern Cross is used to indicate South similarly to Polaris.

All the stars in the sky appear to circle around Polaris. It is nearly right on the axis of the world which is true north, not magnetic north.

Click here for more graphics and to learn The Watch Method, The Sun Shadow Method, The Star Method, and How to Make a Compass!


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