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Geocaching Merit Badge Question

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Good morning all,


Last fall I started a Geocaching Merit Badge class in our troop.  I hit a big roadblock with requirement 2(a), "Show you know how to use a map and compass..."  For a guy like me that is a little open ended.  I fear that my interpretation of this requirement has led me to making this merit badge a little harder than it needs to be.  My original thought basically had me teaching them the Orienteering Merit Badge.  That is probably a little too deep.  Now I am settling on the following:

  • Be able to correct a map for magnetic declination and know how to find the declination for an area you are visiting.
  • How to orient a map using a compass.
  • How to take the bearing between two plotted points (they have to be able to plot UTM grid points) and walk that bearing.  Including avoiding objects.

I figure these three basic skills would at least get them out of a pickle if they were out geocaching and found themselves lost.


So, my question is, does this look like a good set of requirements for showing they know how to use a map and compass or do I need to add something else.


Thanks in advance...

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Have you read the Geocaching MB pamphlet? Usually there is a description of what the boy should learn to do/show for each requirement.


I think the First Class land navigation requirement is a good way to do this. Not necessarily for a five mile hike, but around the 'block enough to know that the boy has a base to build on.

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Every scout is taught map/compass, but as a backup also navigation without map/compass.  It is not good to teach Geocaching without some kind of reliable backup.  Basic map/compass might bode well for the person whose GPS unit craps out on them deep in the woods.  I use my automobile GPS all the time, even use my SmartPhone as a backup, but I also have a compass in my glove box and know how to use it along with the maps under the front seat.  :)  Yes, there have been times when I have resorted to the maps because GPS just didn't cut it for certain situations.

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Specifically when geocaching, I've needed map/compass in narrow valleys (which block/reflect satellite signals) and for letterbox hybrids (which often have the coordinates to a starting point from which you follow headings to the cache).

But I've loved using just map and compass in searching for many caches.


So, it's not just about safety. It adds to the fun of the game.

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