Learning to properly use a compass is a must have skill for any adventurer. The compass included in the KEA KIT is best used with a map, but can also assist without one.
The KEA Compass is a easy to use, liquid filled compass that features a baseplate which is marked with a red arrow pointing along the long axis, and a rotating compass housing marked in degrees. It is used mostly for taking quick bearings and in conjunction with a map
A few important things to learn before using your compass:
The red end of the compass needle will always be fixed to magnetic north, no matter which way you turn. Ensure you hold the compass level in your hand to prevent the needle from sticking.
When compass and map are used together it’s important to know the local magnetic declination and how to compensate for it. Magnetic declination is the difference between Geographic North/True North (where the map meridians point) and Magnetic North (where the North end of the compass needle points). In areas with significant declination, adjustments must be made to walk a correct bearing. Information concerning the amount and direction of magnetic declination is shown on topographical maps with a diagram. Use an up-to-date map for current declination.
Declination can be handled either with a fixed declination scale or declination adjustment in the compass capsule. Read more further down in this manual.
Meridians are lines that run north and south on a map from pole to pole. Meridians express degrees of longitude, or how far a place is away from the prime meridian. When using a compass with a map, it is important you use these lines to align your compass correctly
How to use the compass:
Get a quick bearing:
- Point the blue “Read Bearing” arrow towards the direction you are heading
- Hold the compass level and rotate the dial until the red declination arrow is aligned with the red compass needle
- You can no read your bearing degrees by aligning it with the blue “read bearing” arrow.
- To maintain your bearing, keep the red arrow and red needle aligned
Using with a map:
To use map and compass together, orient the map towards the North.
- Simply align the maps meridian lines with the red compass needle so that North is pointing “up” on the map. Now everything on the map is in the same direction as where you stand.
- When moving, remember to keep the map oriented with the compass at all times. By doing this it will be very easy to follow as turning right on the map also means turning right on the ground!
- Properly orienting the map is quick and the best way to avoid straying off your bearing
To set your direction of travel:
- Locate your position by orienting the map as above and then using landmarks (rivers/mountains/roads ect.) to observe your position.
- From your position on the map, point the blue “read bearing” arrow in a straight line between your position and your desired destination.
- Now rotate the compass housing until the red declination arrow is parallel with the map's meridian lines.
- Lift our compass off the map and hold it flat in your hand. Then turn your body until the red compass needle is aligned with the red declination arrow.
- Now the blue ‘read bearing’ arrow will be pointed towards your destination.
- Move with the compass flat in your hand, keeping the red arrow and red needle aligned to stay on course.