Part One
  Map Reading


  Reading Topographical Maps Introduction 1. HOME

  Topographical Maps - Definition, Purpose and Categories 2. Maps

  Information in the margins of an army map 3. Marginal Information    and Symbols

  Latitude, Longitude and Other Methods to Locate Points on Topographic Maps 4. Grids

  Translating Distance on a Topographic Map to Distance on the Ground 5. Scale and Distance

  Grid North, Azimuth, Declination And Other Concepts Used To Find Direction With Topographic Maps 6. Direction

  Overlays - Used Primarily In Army Map Reading 7. Overlays

  Aerial Photographs - Supplements And Substitutes For Topographic Maps 8. Aerial Photographs

 Part Two
  Land Navigation


  Using Compass, GPS, Sun, Shadows, and Stars in Land Navigation 9. Navigation Equipment    and Methods

  Reading The Shape Of The Land In Topographic Maps 10. Elevation and Relief

  Orienting and Navigating With Topographic Maps 11. Terrain Association

  Mounted Land Navigating With Motorized Vehicles 12. Mounted Land    Navigation

  Land Navigation In Different Types of Terrain 13. Navigation in    Different Types of    Terrain



  Sketching Topographic Maps A. Field Sketching

  Folding Topographic Maps B. Map Folding     Techniques

  Units of Measure and Conversion Factors Used in Reading Topographic Maps C. Units of Measure and      Conversion Factors

  Units of Measure and Conversion Factors Used in Reading Topographic Maps D. Joint Operations      Graphics

  US Army Training Material for Map Reading and Land Navigation E. Exportable Training      Material

  Orienteering F. Orienteering

  US Army M2 Compass G. M2 Compass

  Additional Aids such as Night Vision Goggles and Global Positioning System or GPS H. Additional Aids      (GPS, Night Vision)

  Global Positioning System -  GPS J. Global Positioning      System - GPs

 

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6-6. DECLINATION DIAGRAM

Declination is the angular difference between any two norths. If you have a map and a compass, the one of most interest to you will be between magnetic and grid north. The declination diagram (Figure 6-8) shows the angular relationship, represented by prongs, among grid, magnetic, and true norths. While the relative positions of the prongs are correct, they are seldom plotted to scale. Do not use the diagram to measure a numerical value. This value will be written in the map margin (in both degrees and mils) beside the diagram.

Figure 6-8. Declination diagrams.

Figure 6-8. Declination diagrams.

a.   Location. A declination diagram is a part of the information in the lower margin on most larger maps. On medium-scale maps, the declination information is shown by a note in the map margin.

b.   Grid-Magnetic Angle. The G-M angle value is the angular size that exists between grid north and magnetic north. It is an arc, indicated by a dashed line, that connects the grid-north and magnetic-north prongs. This value is expressed to the nearest 1/2 degree, with mil equivalents shown to the nearest 10 mils. The G-M angle is important to the map reader/land navigator because azimuths translated between map and ground will be in error by the size of the declination angle if not adjusted for it.

c.   Grid Convergence. An arc indicated by a dashed line connects the prongs for true north and grid north. The value of the angle for the center of the sheet is given to the nearest full minute with its equivalent to the nearest mil. These data are shown in the form of a grid-convergence note.

d.   Conversion. There is an angular difference between the grid north and the magnetic north. Since the location of magnetic north does not correspond exactly with the grid-north lines on the maps, a conversion from magnetic to grid or vice versa is needed.

(1)   With Notes. Simply refer to the conversion notes that appear in conjunction with the diagram explaining the use of the G-M angle (Figure 6-8). One note provides instructions for converting magnetic azimuth to grid azimuth; the other, for converting grid azimuth to magnetic azimuth. The conversion (add or subtract) is governed by the direction of the magnetic-north prong relative to that of the north-grid prong.

(2)   Without Notes. In some cases, there are no declination conversion notes on the margin of the map; it is necessary to convert from one type of declination to another. A magnetic compass gives a magnetic azimuth; but in order to plot this line on a gridded map, the magnetic azimuth value must be changed to grid azimuth. The declination diagram is used for these conversions. A rule to remember when solving such problems is this: No matter where the azimuth line points, the angle to it is always measured clockwise from the reference direction (base line). With this in mind, the problem is solved by the following steps:

(a)   Draw a vertical or grid-north line (prong). Always align this line with the vertical lines on a map (Figure 6-9).

Figure 6-9. Declination diagram with arbitrary line.

Figure 6-9. Declination diagram with arbitrary line.

(b)   From the base of the grid-north line (prong), draw an arbitrary line (or any azimuth line) at a roughly right angle to north, regardless of the actual value of the azimuth in degrees (Figure 6-9).

(c)   Examine the declination diagram on the map and determine the direction of the magnetic north (right-left or east-west) relative to that of the grid-north prong. Draw a magnetic prong from the apex of the grid-north line in the desired direction (Figure 6-9).

(d)   Determine the value of the G-M angle. Draw an arc from the grid prong to the magnetic prong and place the value of the G-M angle (Figure 6-9).

(e)   Complete the diagram by drawing an arc from each reference line to the arbitrary line. A glance at the completed diagram shows whether the given azimuth or the desired azimuth is greater, and thus whether the known difference between the two must be added or subtracted.

(f)   The inclusion of the true-north prong in relationship to the conversion is of little importance.

e.   Applications. Remember, there are no negative azimuths on the azimuth circle. Since 0 degree is the same as 360 degrees, then 2 degrees is the same as 362 degrees. This is because 2 degrees and 362 degrees are located at the same point on the azimuth circle. The grid azimuth can now be converted into a magnetic azimuth because the grid azimuth is now larger than the G-M angle.

(1)   When working with a map having an east G-M angle:

(a)   To plot a magnetic azimuth on a map, first change it to a grid azimuth (Figure 6-10).

Figure 6-10. Converting to grid azimuth.

Figure 6-10. Converting to grid azimuth.

(b)   To use a magnetic azimuth in the field with a compass, first change the grid azimuth plotted on a map to a magnetic azimuth (Figure 6-11).

Figure 6-11. Converting to magnetic azimuth.

Figure 6-11. Converting to magnetic azimuth.

(c)   Convert a grid azimuth to a magnetic azimuth when the G-M angle is greater than a grid azimuth (Figure 6-12).

Figure 6-12. Converting to a magnetic azimuth when the G-M angle is greater.

Figure 6-12. Converting to a magnetic azimuth when the G-M angle is greater.

(2)   When working with a map having a west G-M angle:

(a)   To plot a magnetic azimuth on a map, first convert it to a grid azimuth (Figure 6-13).

Figure 6-13. Converting to a grid azimuth on a map.

Figure 6-13. Converting to a grid azimuth on a map.

(b)   To use a magnetic azimuth in the field with a compass, change the grid azimuth plotted on a map to a magnetic azimuth (Figure 6-14).

Figure 6-14. Converting to a magnetic azimuth on a map.

Figure 6-14. Converting to a magnetic azimuth on a map.

(c)   Convert a magnetic azimuth when the G-M angle is greater than the magnetic azimuth (Figure 6-15).

Figure 6-15. Converting to a grid azimuth when the G-M angle is greater.

Figure 6-15. Converting to a grid azimuth when the G-M angle is greater.

(3)   The G-M angle diagram should be constructed and used each time the conversion of azimuth is required. Such procedure is important when working with a map for the first time. It also may be convenient to construct a G-M angle conversion table on the margin of the map.

NOTE: When converting azimuths, exercise extreme care when adding and subtracting the G-M angle. A simple mistake of 1° could be significant in the field.

Return to DIRECTION
 



 

Books

Map Reading and Land Navigation Buy the book this website is based on: Map Reading and Land Navigation

This website is based on the US Army Field Manual: "Map Reading and Land Navigation" Buy a copy from Amazon.com to take with you out in the field.

 

Book Review - Be Expert with Map and Compass

One of the best ways to learn and become proficient in any subject is to find a way to make a game or sport of it. That's exactly what orienteering does! Orienteering began to develop almost 100 years ago in the Scandinavian countries as a fun and effective method for military training in land navigation. Bjorn Kjellstrom was closely involved with the early development of orienteering, and he is the person who introduced the sport to North America. He, along with his brother Alvar, and a friend named Gunnar Tillander, invented the modern orienteering compass. They manufactured and marketed it as the Silva Protractor compass. This compass, along with Bjorn's book Be Expert with Map and Compass, made it much easier for anyone to learn how to use a map and compass.

This book has become the most widely read classic on the subject of map reading, compass use, and orienteering. Over 500,000 copies have been sold in the english language editions alone. There have been very successful editions published in French, Italian, and other languages as well. It is a short (just over 200 pages), easy to read, enjoyable book that can help you to have fun while you learn the subject quickly and effectively.

The book is organized into four main parts, plus a short, useful introduction. Part 1 covers having fun with maps alone. Then, Part 2 covers having fun with a compass alone. Part 3 puts it together and shows you how to have fun with a map and compass together. This section also introduces the game or sport of orienteering. Part 4 covers competitive orienteering for those who would like to compete with others in the sport.

A reproduction of a segment of an actual topographic map is included as a fold-out in the back of the book. It is used together with the "how-to" instructions the book provides. For example, one of the exercises in Part 3 is an imaginary orienteering "hike" that uses the sample map.

If you would like to have one of the best books available on map reading and using a compass, Be Expert with Map and Compass is hard to beat. You can buy a copy from Amazon.com today.

Read a book review of Agincourt

Boat Navigation For The Rest of Us
  Boat Navigation For The Rest of Us

Basic Coastal Navigation
  Basic Coastal Navigation