How to Navigate Without a Map or Technology

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How to Navigate Without a Map or Technology

Below we will discuss two methods used to help you get your bearing. Hopefully the methods discussed here will only be used for fun, but if you do ever get lost, they may just help you find your way.

Method 1 - make a sundial (for daytime use only)

All you will need is a stick and a pair of stones. Here's what you do:

  • Find a 2-3 foot long stick.
  • Stake the stick into a clear, level patch of ground.
  • Use the first stone, mark the tip of the shadow cast by the stick.
  • Thirty minutes later, place a second stone at the new point where the shadow is cast, which will be moved in one direction and either lengthened or shortened.
  • Draw a line between the two stones – this line will give you an east-west axis, with the first stone representing west and the second representing east
  • Stand facing your east-west axis with the sun behind you and your first stone on your left. The direction you are facing is north.

Method 2 - Use the stars (for nighttime use only)

Like the sun, the stars can indicate direction. All you need is a clear night so you can see the stars and knowledge of a few stars.

If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, the night sky’s most useful navigational aid is the sizable star Polaris, frequently referred to as the North Star, which as the name suggests, provides bearing on the north direction. To find the North Star, identify the Big Dipper and extend an imaginary line that traces points upwards from the Big Dipper’s two outermost stars. This will lead you right to the North Star.

If you’re in the southern hemisphere, you’ll use the Southern Cross to get your bearing. Once you’ve located this, draw an imaginary line from the top of the cross to the bottom, and then continue south by roughly five times the cross’s height. The base of this imaginary line is a close approximation to south.