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getting maps for compass

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If your local sheriff's dept has a search and rescue unit, they may have topographic maps

for your locale and be willing to let you borrow and photocopy. However, there is no substitute

for the United States Geological Survey Quadrangle maps. The 7.5 minute series has a map scale of

one inch = 2000 feet (1:24000) and it shows an area of about 7 miles by 14 miles. Make sure you teach

the boys about something called "declination" which is the angle difference between where the

compass needle points (magnetic north) and true north (North Pole). They are NOT in the same place.

Get a globe and find magnetic north, it is located approximately on a line that would connect Atlanta GA

with the North Pole.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Several years ago National Geographic published a map of the Northern Tier showing all of the upper tier of Canada and the Artic. An interesting feature was that they had marked the Magnetic North's location in 1891 and 1996. It makes explaining the angle of declination very understandable.

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Free maps don't exist. Here is a interesting alternative. I purchased some mapping software for our local area a year ago. From this I was able to create a variety of small scale color maps of different areas to teach from. These were on 8 1/2 by 11 ordinary paper. I had copies made at Kinko's and we had maps the boys could actually work with and interpret. I was able to make it competitive to see who could accurately identify the most different features. We are also about to take a trek at Pt. Reyes National Seashore. I was able to economically create maps for all hikers this way. The quality of the printed maps is not as high as what you pay a lot of money for, but for volume production, it is a reasonable way to go.

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