Just some questions I've been asked by visitors. If you have a questions, use the link at the bottom to ask me and I'll give it a shot.
I don't have a map with me when I go out hunting, but I have my compass. How do I use my compass to hike into the woods a couple miles and then find my way back to my vehicle?
It is not possible.
A compass just points direction. It does not indicate where in the world you are.
If you follow your compass on a heading of 24 degrees for 1 mile, then turn around and follow a heading of 204 degrees for 1 mile, you would theoretically wind up at your beginning location.
But, you are not able to precisely follow a heading. You will drift a bit and the terrain will push you off course a bit.
Going into the wild with only a compass and not a map is foolish. You need to have a compass AND map and know how to use them. Tracking your location on the map and using your compass to show where you are heading will keep you un-lost.
How do I determine the opposite direction from the direction I am facing?
Add 180 to your current bearing.
If the result is more than 360, subtract 360.
This number is your opposite direction.
For example, you are facing 240 degrees. Add 180 to get 420. Subtract 360 to get 60.
How do you find your latitude and longitude location using a compass?
It is not possible.
A compass only points direction, it does not give location.
A GPS is best for determining your location, as it communicates with satellites, but its batteries will fail.
In the northern hemisphere, you can determine your approximate latitude by observing the angle of Polaris (the north star) above the horizon.
One method to determine longitude is to have a watch with you, set to UTC time and compare that to the sun's position. See this page for a bit of detail.
How do you convert decimal degrees into degrees, minutes, seconds?
12.3456 degrees is the same as 12 degrees 20 minutes 44.16 seconds.
To convert, you:
How do you find the latitude and longitude of a location?
Find location from latitude/longitude or lat/lon from location on this page.
Why are there 360 degrees on a compass?
In ancient Babylon, scientists measured the movement of starts in the sky, counting the days until a star was back in the same location. They found that it took 360 days so they made a 360 day calendar and divided a circle into 360 degrees. That is the foundation for the degrees we use to measure directions now.