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  #16  
Old 19 Apr 2008
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If you are in the S hemisphere you can still use stellar navigation - use the Southern Cross and go off south instead of north
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  #17  
Old 20 Apr 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by henryuk View Post
If you are in the S hemisphere you can still use stellar navigation - use the Southern Cross and go off south instead of north

Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou for reminding me of being in southern Algeria with 2 local guides at night trying to get back to camp after a spot of night hunting - they were arguing about the southern cross and how wonderfull it was to navigate by but neither knew which way was back and there were so many tyre tracks from chasing a rabbit round and round.............happy memories
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  #18  
Old 20 Apr 2008
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I'd used them while orienteering for the D of E award while at school (years ago but I can can still use one).

Bought one in a £1 shop before my trip last year. Yes ok, it's almost definitely made in some 3rd world country so the quality and accuracy isn't great but I didn't need it to be as I wasn't going off road or on a RTW with it. Having said that, it's probably more accurate than those bolt-onto-the-bars ones in the Motrax catalogue. I just needed it to give an idea of where north was if my GPS failed which is pretty much what happened. Probably saved me from an hour or so of riding round in circles.

For the space it takes up in your tankbag's map pocket and the price you can get them for (erm, a pound), you would be mad not to take one.
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  #19  
Old 20 Apr 2008
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Walkabout - bugger me, never knew that. No wonder I kept getting lost. Didn't help though having to take my shoe off every time.
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  #20  
Old 20 Apr 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quastdog View Post
ah, the crux of the matter. If I want to figure out which road to take, I have to park the bike, remove the mapcase, walk a few feet away and figure out which way to turn. Which is why GPS makes more sense, with a compass stashed away for when/if the electronics fail.

Compasses are for backpackers!
All of that parking/walking/removing isnt necessary......you can have your map in a case velcroed to the handlebar crosspiece/brace, easily visible, and a bike compass fixed to the bars too. Easy.

Compasses are for travellers.
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  #21  
Old 20 Apr 2008
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These even more to this compassing lark than I realised.
Thanks for the replies people, appreciated.
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  #22  
Old 20 Apr 2008
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I have one and knew how to use it once a plastic one with a scale on the side only need it a few times to find out what road to take at a "Y" and it dint have signpost. I have it out and "use" it when planing the next day ride looks good I think. Looks like I know what im doing. There nice to have when you need one but GPS will work better for most people.

People get lost all the time in Disneyland one of the things you need to know to work there even just to sweep the street is where every ride is and the ways out of the park. They also know there way around the underground of Disneyland.
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  #23  
Old 20 Apr 2008
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A compass fixed to the bars won't always be accurate , you have to remove the compass from the influence of ferromagnetic objects to take readings so that it won't be affected by any residual magnetic fields .
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  #24  
Old 21 Apr 2008
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and now I carry compass and gps

I use to travel with just maps (el-cheapo at the gas station), till I got somewhere where the map wasn't quite up to date and I wasn't sure where I was on the map. Then I got an excellent gps (garmin 76SCSx color map capable, 2 gig chip, etc). Worked great....except when you weren't moving much.... or when it decided to have a brain fart and locked up. For the most part, the gps is great, especially when you need to back track your way out.
HOWEVER, heard of a couple who got caught on a mountain top in a white out. Couldn't dare move around enought for the gps to lock on. No compass. Had to wait it out as there was only one safe direction down off the mountain and they had no clue where it was.
Always have a compass (an orienteering one at that). I have a Suunto MC-2. Make sure you know what the declination is for where you are. In my present area it is about 20 degrees east of true north. The gps (most of the time) will tell you where you are. A map and compass depends on you knowing where you are when you start and then you can plan where you are going (taking a bearing, working out travel times etc).
For professionals who depend on knowing where they are, carrying both and knowing how to use both is standard practice (when it counts, a back up plan is a good plan). Besides, learning orienteering and mapping out where you are going is fun.

The first time you get lost, it comes as a great big suprise. If you survive that, learning to get un-lost takes on whole new importance in your life. Sure did for me

Peace,
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  #25  
Old 21 Apr 2008
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Mmmn ,I thought the new Garmins 60CSx and 76 CSx had compasses built in that weren't dependant on you actually moving .
So the internal compases don't work very well[ if at all ] , is that what you're saying ?
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  #26  
Old 21 Apr 2008
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Originally Posted by Dodger View Post
A compass fixed to the bars won't always be accurate , you have to remove the compass from the influence of ferromagnetic objects to take readings so that it won't be affected by any residual magnetic fields .
A vehicle mounted compass needs to be swung. You take a bearing from a known objects position and find the error. You then correct for this error. The correct way is to fix magnets (aircraft version) or iron masses (old maritime solution) so the needle points the right way. Look at a ships binnacle in your local maritime museum, those 8 inch iron shot either side of the compass aren't there to hang your jacket on, they're the rough adjustment to allow for a hundred tons of steam engine a few feet away. The fine adjustment is under the dial and would usually be done at each port, hence lots of harbours have a location known as Compass point.

So called vehicle compasses are set up for an expected magnetic field (most 4x4's have 200-odd KG of diesel engine in the front) so they are better than the walkers compass in the tank bag. However, they don't entirely account for your vehicles magnetic field and i'd guess are worse on a bike where the small engine is below/behind (don't know, I never compared them). Hence, in the emergency where you know the paved road is somewhere North and the next town is west down that road, you will travel in roughly a straight line (actually a really huge arc as oposed to the 50 mile circle a compass pointing at the engine can produce). However, if the target is a 55 gallon drum of petrol in the middle of Australia, I'd want to get 10m away from the bike and do things properly every half hour or so.

This is where the sun compass comes in, if you know local solar time and have the proper scale on the dial for your latitude, you can keep moving just by keeping the shadow on the right time.

Walkers get stuck in Scotland because they need accuracy to account for their lack of range. A bike with 2 gallons of petrol will hit a road and get out so long as the rider uses his map. A walker with nothing but a Mars bar and a can of fizzy pop in their pack can't do a 50 mile detour without freezing to death, and will become more disoriented by the time it takes them to go round an obstruction. Of course a biker with a siezed engine is just a badly dressed hiker........

Andy
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  #27  
Old 21 Apr 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dodger View Post
Mmmn ,I thought the new Garmins 60CSx and 76 CSx had compasses built in that weren't dependant on you actually moving.
They do, but you have to switch them on...
Stephan
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  #28  
Old 21 Apr 2008
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You can use the compass (and a map) to calculate waypoints of interesting places that’s not on the GPS-map.
The compass can also be used together with a GPS to figure out exactly where you are on the paper map.
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  #29  
Old 21 Apr 2008
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Originally Posted by Stephano View Post
They do, but you have to switch them on...
Stephan
Strewth !
I'm buggered then !
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  #30  
Old 21 Apr 2008
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I do because sometimes (dare I say this) I actually get away from motorised transport and use my feet, so a compass and map and knowing how to use both are well worth it (I don't have a ciggie lighter socket built into my body to plug a GPS into).

Also, and call me old-fashioned, I think it's always a good idea to have a back up to anything that uses batteries, or microprocessors, or relies on a programmer.

I've got one of those little thermometer key rings too.
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