Author Topic: Magnetic compass on Viewranger behaving strangely  (Read 3800 times)

richardh1905

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2426
Re: Magnetic compass on Viewranger behaving strangely
« Reply #30 on: 08:35:42, 15/04/19 »
I'm not completely clueless with the map but I'm fairly clueless with the compass, I can use it to work out which way to turn when there's multiple choices that's about it. Using it to get a fairly accurate location is beyond me right now.



Don't worry about using a compass for finding your location, Rob, that is more into the realms of navigation at sea, and would require good visibility in any case! Compass use on the hill is more about choosing which direction you want to go when the clouds are down.


The secret to successful navigation in my opinion is to always have a feel for where you are on the map. When conditions are good, keep referring to the map to work out where you are from the features that you can see, both near and far. You can use Viewranger to confirm.


You are lucky in the Lakes as there are lots of walls stretching up onto the fell tops, these are very useful in the mist - pick these out on the map, especially where there is a junction of walls - this will give you an accurate 'fix'.


And practice taking bearings with the compass when conditions are good. If you see that the clouds are coming, fix your position on the map and take a bearing before they reach you.

ninthace

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4143
Re: Magnetic compass on Viewranger behaving strangely
« Reply #31 on: 09:12:23, 15/04/19 »
Richard has it.  As I have said before, the secret is to navigate constantly. A lot of people walk in what they think is the right direction without really paying attention to the passing landscape then suddenly realise they are not sure where they are. This is compounded by “situating the appreciation” and making the map fit their preconceptions of where they think they might be.  If some of the reports are to be believed, this can include ignoring what their compass is telling them if it does not “fit”.
The secret is never to be lost.  Anticipate what is coming up, particularly in the short term and never pass features without accounting for them, no matter how minor, and especially if they are unexpected. Use your compass to check you are going in the expected direction. Likewise simple stuff like the slope, are you going up down or along as expected?  If things do not fit do not ignore them, stop and sort it rather than pressing on hoping something will turn up.
Modern gadgets such as VR and Garmin make this easy as they show you where you are but you should still map read the screen to see what is coming up. It improves your enjoyment of the route and hones your skills in interpreting the finer nuances of the map which will stand you in good stead in terms of navigating and planning.
Solvitur Ambulando

Rob Goes Walking

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1196
Re: Magnetic compass on Viewranger behaving strangely
« Reply #32 on: 09:50:48, 15/04/19 »
Thanks guys. I have to admit to finding a paper map and compass a bit like VHS compared to ViewRanger blu ray but appreciate the skills that come with using them. I figured if I do the navigation course I will still probably use ViewRanger as a map since it handily has OS mapping but hit the "locate me" button less often. Then again maybe I'll start recording traces and have to use a paper map. We will see.

richardh1905

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2426
Re: Magnetic compass on Viewranger behaving strangely
« Reply #33 on: 10:16:15, 15/04/19 »
My recent Stony Cove Pike trip is a good example - I was climbing up the ridge from Caudale Quarry onto the broad expanse of Caudale Moor, I had entered the clouds so was paying close attention, and I noticed that the path started traversing around the side of the plateau rather than head up on to it. Out with the map and compass, and indeed the map did show the path traversing. So I simply used the compass and headed east, no finesse needed here as I was climbing upwards as well - soon enough, I made out the summit cairn a short distance away through the mist.

This gave me a more accurate 'fix' on the map, and I headed slightly south of east, descending slightly and intending to pass to the south of the small tarn marked on the map, and meet a stone wall that I could then follow on to the summit of Stony Cove Pike. This all went to plan - as I have said, walls are a great navigational aid.

From the summit of Stony Cove Pike, I took a quick compass bearing just to check that I wasn't going to do something stupid and head off in the wrong direction (important), and then I simply followed a wall northwards down the ridge towards Hartsop Dodd, until I came out of the clouds, and all was revealed below me.
« Last Edit: 10:48:10, 15/04/19 by richardh1905 »

ninthace

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4143
Re: Magnetic compass on Viewranger behaving strangely
« Reply #34 on: 10:22:07, 15/04/19 »
The problem with gps navigation is it is a bit like reading the Telegraph through the letterbox.  That’s why I print off the map of my route on A4 so I can see where I am in relation to the bigger picture.  The added advantage is that I do not have to struggle with a big map, unfolding it, finding myself on it and then stowing it again. A4 folds into 4 to fit in a pocket. If you print on both sides you can fit quite a decent walk ion one sheet. If I have more than one sheet, I keep the in use sheet in one pocket and the rest in my thigh pocket.
Gives you something to use your compass with too.
« Last Edit: 10:27:10, 15/04/19 by ninthace »
Solvitur Ambulando

Rob Goes Walking

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1196
Re: Magnetic compass on Viewranger behaving strangely
« Reply #35 on: 11:00:53, 15/04/19 »

I see Richard.

Ninthace, don't own a printer to print maps with, although if you can print them from the OS mapping website I could print them from the library. What do you print them from?

ninthace

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4143
Re: Magnetic compass on Viewranger behaving strangely
« Reply #36 on: 11:18:19, 15/04/19 »
I see Richard.

Ninthace, don't own a printer to print maps with, although if you can print them from the OS mapping website I could print them from the library. What do you print them from?
  Basecamp or the OS web page.  Colour printers aren't that dear, they start at the price of a digital anemometer  :)   https://www.amazon.co.uk/HP-Deskjet-2630-Printer-Instant/dp/B075DTHV7H?ref_=fsclp_pl_dp_1   Mine was quite a bit dearer but it comes with refillable ink reservoirs so I save by not buying cartridges.
Solvitur Ambulando

Rob Goes Walking

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1196
Re: Magnetic compass on Viewranger behaving strangely
« Reply #37 on: 11:24:41, 15/04/19 »
Basecamp or the OS web page.  Colour printers aren't that dear, they start at the price of a digital anemometer  :)


No PC for Basecamp either. I've just discovered PC emulators for Android exist and I have a fairly powerful phone so if I get a Garmin GPS will look into that. My last cheap printer broke. The library is just over half a mile away and colour prints are 20p a page. If it gets annoying maybe I'll get a new printer.

Skip

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 367
Re: Magnetic compass on Viewranger behaving strangely
« Reply #38 on: 12:19:17, 15/04/19 »
In my experience, a GPS unit can be a boon, a mobile phone rather less so. I view both as adjuncts to, not replacements for, maps and compasses. But whatever technology you use, navigation is an essential mountain skill.

As mountain rescuers regularly advise, phones and GPS units should not be the sole means of navigation.

Here are a few relevant reports:
https://www.thebmc.co.uk/Mobile-phones-in-the-mountains-a-blessing-or-a-curse


https://www.grough.co.uk/magazine/2016/12/19/team-warns-against-using-only-phones-for-navigation-after-bleaklow-rescue

https://www.grough.co.uk/magazine/2012/08/15/second-police-force-warns-against-reliance-on-smartphones-on-mountains

https://www.grough.co.uk/magazine/2015/05/13/hillwalkers-warned-relying-on-gadgets-could-put-your-life-at-risk

https://www.grough.co.uk/magazine/2011/05/22/dont-rely-on-phones-to-find-your-way-on-fells-rescuers-warn


https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/lake-district-hikers-warned-not-to-rely-on-mobile-phones-to-plot-their-routes-10488883.html


Below is more generalised advice from the Scottish Mountaineering Council.

Everyone heading into the hills needs to learn how to read a map, and to be able to navigate effectively with a paper map and compass.

Why? Firstly, even if you have a Smartphone or GPS with full detailed OS mapping, it can't read and interpret the map for you! All it can do is show your position - being able to actually interpret the map correctly remains an essential skill.

Heading into the hills means you need to be able to understand from the map what the terrain will be like, choose suitable routes from it and be able to make decisions about changing your route if you need to. For example, in the winter, there may be a dangerous cornice where a summer route runs close to the edge of the cliffs above a corrie; you need to be a skilled navigator here to be able to understand that you may need to take a route further back from the edge than the shown summer route, to avoid the risk of falling through the cornice.

A Smartphone, GPS, or indeed a paper map cannot tell you this - it’s the skills of the map reader that are needed. Plans may also change, the weather may close in, heavy rain might mean that a burn won't be crossable, there may be an accident. So everyone needs to be able to look at the map and work out the best way to adjust any route to deal with changing situations.

Secondly, even if you are a skilled navigator who can read a map well, and are happy using a Smartphone or GPS to navigate, batteries could run down and, although you can carry spares or a charger, there is still a chance your phone or GPS could break or malfunction. So it's essential to at least have a paper map and compass as a reserve.

As mentioned above, even a Smartphone/GPS user navigating effectively should be using their map reading skills at all times. However, if using a Smartphone or GPS as your primary means of navigation, your compass skills could become rusty. If this applies to you, it's a good idea to practice regularly to ensure you can remember how to use a compass effectively if and when the need arises.

Smart phones and GPS are increasing call-outs as more walkers get lost. Why is this?

The root cause of getting lost is usually a lack of adequate navigation skills, no matter what technology is being used. In many cases, walkers do not have the skills to read a map or navigate effectively. Some mistakenly think that carrying a Smartphone or GPS means that they do not need these skills, which is a recipe for disaster, for all the reasons given above. But every hill and mountain walker needs to learn how to interpret a map, and to navigate effectively using a map and compass, including in poor visibility.
Skip

Rob Goes Walking

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1196
Re: Magnetic compass on Viewranger behaving strangely
« Reply #39 on: 12:42:43, 15/04/19 »
Yes I've read about people relying on GPS units calling out mountain rescue and aware of the opinion of those mountain rescuers but they're generally doing something like using Google Maps not ViewRanger or like another of your links had a GPS location but couldn't use it to locate themselves on the map. I know what I'm looking at on the map (and could locate myself on a paper OS Map using a national grid GPS location) I don't think GPS is the problem it's not knowing how to use it.

I do appreciate old school navigational skills should give you a better awareness of your surroundings though.

Oh dear I started another GPS bashing thread this has drifted from my compass misbehaving.

ninthace

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4143
Re: Magnetic compass on Viewranger behaving strangely
« Reply #40 on: 12:55:53, 15/04/19 »
In summary (but not always) the smarter the phone - the dumber the user?
I would argue that navigation by gps/gps app is a skill set in itself.  If you are going to use gps in any form you need all the normal range of map reading skills, plus good planning skills plus the technological savvy to get the best out of the infomation available on line - witness my recent conversation with Rob comparing the information available from GoogleEarth, ViewRanger and the OS mapping site.  This is not appreciated by Joe or Josephine Public when they set off armed with a phone and Google maps and that is why gps and phones get a bad rap.
Do any of the reports recommend carrying a spare map when the one you have blows away, gets lost because it is not strapped on or gets ripped to shreds or to soggy to use (yes I know about laminated maps but they are not universally available or used)?  Or a spare compass for when yours gets dropped, lost or sat on?
Solvitur Ambulando

richardh1905

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2426
Re: Magnetic compass on Viewranger behaving strangely
« Reply #41 on: 18:06:39, 15/04/19 »

Some sound advice from the SMC there, Skip.


Heading into the hills means you need to be able to understand from the map what the terrain will be like, choose suitable routes from it and be able to make decisions about changing your route if you need to. For example, in the winter, there may be a dangerous cornice where a summer route runs close to the edge of the cliffs above a corrie; you need to be a skilled navigator here to be able to understand that you may need to take a route further back from the edge than the shown summer route, to avoid the risk of falling through the cornice.


This paragraph is particularly relevant - say someone is following their phone along a high ridge and the weather takes a sudden turn for the worse, or one of their party starts to become hypothermic, and they need to get down quickly. The pre-plotted route on Viewranger isn't going to be able to help much with that.

richardh1905

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2426
Re: Magnetic compass on Viewranger behaving strangely
« Reply #42 on: 18:11:38, 15/04/19 »
Do any of the reports recommend carrying a spare map when the one you have blows away, gets lost because it is not strapped on or gets ripped to shreds or to soggy to use (yes I know about laminated maps but they are not universally available or used)?  Or a spare compass for when yours gets dropped, lost or sat on?



Interesting point, ninthace. After my compass became demagnetised on top of a misty Ben Hope, I am considering getting one of those tiny button compasses as a spare. Of course my phone also has a compass - but I don't want to rely upon that as tests at home have not been reassuring!


As for losing a map - I am an avid studier of maps, and my memory would be adequate backup in all but the most complex of terrain.

Rob Goes Walking

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1196
Re: Magnetic compass on Viewranger behaving strangely
« Reply #43 on: 18:51:52, 15/04/19 »
Some sound advice from the SMC there, Skip.

This paragraph is particularly relevant - say someone is following their phone along a high ridge and the weather takes a sudden turn for the worse, or one of their party starts to become hypothermic, and they need to get down quickly. The pre-plotted route on Viewranger isn't going to be able to help much with that.

True but ViewRanger is still a fully functional OS map. I can navigate without a pre-plotted route it's just helpful.

Admittedly, there's room for improvement and I probably will do the intermediate course but I wonder if I'll walk away with the knowledge necessary to judge there might be cornice on my route, it says skilled navigator not intermediate. And it's £100 - that's quite a lot of money to me.

I can already read a map better than some people I know who've been flying up loads of wainwrights and visited the Scottish Highlands (using ViewRanger) and they explain to me contour lines but don't themselves know the numbering reads uphill. Doubt I can navigate as well as them but as I continue exploring I'm learning.

I don't go anywhere without first checking with this forum and looking around in map, satellite and now 3D imagery. The chances of me rocking up somewhere unsuitable for my skill are low I feel.

richardh1905

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2426
Re: Magnetic compass on Viewranger behaving strangely
« Reply #44 on: 19:09:35, 15/04/19 »
True but ViewRanger is still a fully functional OS map. I can navigate without a pre-plotted route it's just helpful.



True, but how big is your screen? I would imagine that it would be difficult to see the bigger picture on a phone screen.


I would just practice with the map and compass when you are out using Viewranger, Rob; you'll soon pick it up.