Topographic maps are your best friend out in the wild
Taking a trip into the wild is a great way to get out and about, but you have to be
careful and make sure that you know where you are at all times. Getting lost in the
wild can be dangerous and if you end up getting stuck out that way, then it’s even
worse. If you have no way to communicate with anyone and you are at least a few
days walk from the nearest thing that even closely resembles some form of
civilisation then you might find yourself in a tight situation to get out of. A user
friendly map is a great way to tell exactly where you are and which way you need to
Ideally, if you have to walk out of there to your nearest contact point, you will most
likely want the flattest and quickest way out. Topographic maps can help you plot
that route out so you know where to expect flat sections, down hills and up hills. You
will know where to find lookout points in case you need to get a view of where you
are going. You can also point out landmarks that can be used to indicate where your
position is, relative to a river or mountain for example. In the past, giant paper maps
were the order of the day, and people had to figure out where they were, which way
to walk and then hope and pray that they had the map orientation correct before
they started all that. You also have to know how to read a map on top of all that.
There are symbols, lines numbers, different colours and grid markings all over the
place and you are expected to know what all of that is. Now a person that has
experience reading a map like that will know about all this, but they would also be
fortunate enough to see past all that and read the map with very little hassle.
However, the ones that can’t would need some help.
If you have access to a GPS device or you have a smart phone, then you are in luck,
because they do all the hard work for you. They calculate your position constantly,
giving you updates on where you are, where you are going and how fast you are
travelling to get there. It will tell you when you will arrive at your destination and if
you are veering off course and it will help you recalculate your course if you decide
to take a detour.