From the Field Manuals: Methods of Finding Cardinal Directions
Military Field Manuals are readily available online and full of practical information. The following methods of Finding Cardinal Directions are excerpted from the Survival, Evasion, and Recovery Manual, located here. These methods are “lost arts,” and should be practiced alongside digital devices until the skills are in place.
Determine cardinal directions (north, south, east, and west) by
- (1) Using compass.
- (2) Using stick and shadow method to determine a true north-south line (Figure II-1).
(3) Remembering the sunrise/moonrise is in the east and sunset/moonset is in the west.
(4) Using a wristwatch to determine general cardinal direction (Figure II-2).
(a) Digital watches. Visualize a clock face on the watch.
(b) Northern Hemisphere. Point hour hand at the sun. South is halfway between the hour hand and 12 o’clock position.
(c) Southern Hemisphere. Point the 12 o’clock position on your watch at the sun. North is halfway between the 12 o’clock position and the hour hand.