Monday, July 18, 2011

GPS Setup: Map Datum and How to Use It

If two GPS users are set up for different datums, they won’t be able to accurately exchange waypoints, settings or locations.
It's not just a matter of convenience: In some instances, using identical coordinates, but with different datums, can result in accuracy variations of at least 100 yards.
Here’s some advice from land navigation expert Blake Miller on how to get everyone on the same page.
Listen to the Radio interview with Blake about choosing your first GPS and magnetic compass by clicking here.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Should You Trust Your GPS? Read This First!

Should you trust your GPS to keep you found in the wilderness?

OutdoorQuest's Blake Miller knows more about navigation than anybody I know - he sent this article from
Read this article to add to your survival knowledge!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Lost in the Backcountry: How to Keep That From Happening!

Always test your gear and skills before you get in the field and need them!
Test your equipment before you go afield. In my Wilderness Survival class I emphasize the phrase “it has to work for you.” Friends enjoy providing input and helpful suggestions. But don’t blindly assume these are sound recommendations.
To read the complete Blake Miller story, click here.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Baseline Navigation: A Simple Way to Stay Found in Difficult Terrain

Returning to a baseline is a pretty straight forward concept. My recommendation is to first purchase a reliable compass that can be adjusted for declination.  A solid compass made by Suunto, Brunton (the 8010G) and Silva  are great choices.  Learn how to adjust the compass for the declination or your location.  (Note: declination is the difference between true north and magnetic north.)
Then, follow the recommendations in this story - you can wander in safety, without really paying too much attention to your compass. When it's time to get back to camp, you'll have no problem!
Click here to read the Blake Miller story!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Outdoor Quest: Backcountry Navigation

Outdoor Quest: Backcountry Navigation: "Compass and Direction Finding Part 1 and 2 by Dick Blust, Jr . , photographs by Mark Furman Before there was GPS, there was map and compass..."

Outdoor Quest: Stay Safe With Your Spot Locator

Outdoor Quest: Stay Safe With Your Spot Locator: "(AP news story) 'Sheriff's Lt. Jerry Moore says the 40-year-old Arlington man and some friends had snowshoed from the Granite Falls area on ..."

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

An Expert Explains What You Need in Map, Compass and GPS

What do you need for land navigation tools? (Bob Patterson photo)
When it comes to land navigation survival tools - just what bells and whistles, if any, do you need? In this Broadcast of Radio, veteran Search and Rescue wilderness trainer Blake Miller takes you through buying your first GPS, and what things to look for in a magnetic compass.
To listen to the show, click here

The Ten Essentials and Beyond

When the weather starts to get nasty, you'll be glad to have your land navigation gear and Ten Essentials!
Land navigation guru Blake Miller and I discussed map, compass and gps and the Ten Essentials on this edition of Radio on the Preparedness Radio network. To listen to the show, click here.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Scientists Reveal Reason People Walk in Circles When Lost

It has long been a staple of adventure stories: the hero, lost in the wilderness, painstakingly tries to find his way back to civilization only to stumble across his own tracks and discover that he has been walking in circles.
Now the popular belief that people in unfamiliar surroundings tend to walk round in circles has been confirmed by scientists.
To read the rest of the story, click here

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Outdoor Quest: HuntingGPSmaps

The Idaho backcountry is no place to end up lost!
Outdoor Quest: HuntingGPSmaps: "GPS software made specifically for the hunter! Are you looking for GPS map software specifically designed for the hunter? You need to..."

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Outdoor Quest: Topographic Maps

Outdoor Quest: Topographic Maps: "A good topographic (topo) map is the hikers best companion on the trail. Unlike a road map, your topo will provide you elevation and altitu..."

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Outdoor Quest: Map Reading Training For Children

Outdoor Quest: Map Reading Training For Children: "Map reading does not come instinctively - it is a learned skill First, let me say a big thank you to the Pineview Cub Scout troop for sendi..."

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Monday, March 7, 2011

Outdoor Quest: A New GPS & Refresh Your GPS Skills

Outdoor Quest: A New GPS & Refresh Your GPS Skills: "For many, their outdoor season is over until spring. But right now many stores and online sites have some very good prices on GPS rece..."

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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Outdoor Quest: It Has To Work For You

Outdoor Quest: It Has To Work For You: "During the course of teaching GPS classes for over 12 years and now wilderness survival I have become attached (so to speak) to a phrase, 'I..."

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Outdoor Quest: GPS Presentation

Outdoor Quest: GPS Presentation: "For those of you living in Central Oregon I will be hosting GPS seminars at the Central Oregon Sportsman Show, Deschutes County Fair Grounds..."

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tune Up Your Magnetic Compass For Navigation Safety

Staying found can keep you from getting lost and in trouble!
There is no substitute for a good compass, and the ability to use it. Since getting lost is generally the causal factor in most wilderness emergencies, it just makes sense to stay found to stay out of trouble!
In this article, navigation expert Blake Miller tells you how to check out and make sure your magnetic compass is safe and ready to go. For more info, click here.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Death By GPS: Can Too Much Technology Kill You?

Any GPS can be wrong and provide inacurate information.
Can too much technology in the backcountry be dangerous? Can you depend on GPS and other electronic devices and technology  to the point of  it becoming deadly?
That seems to be an increasingly recurrent pattern of  behavior in some parts of the country, as the following story: “Death By GPS’  indicates.
Whenever I see a particularly interesting or, in this case, disturbing story related to land navigation, I forward it for comment and analysis to land navigation expert Blake Miller.
Here are Blake’s thoughts on  “Death By GPS” by Tom Knudson, and published in the Jan. 30, 2011 “Sacramento Bee.” (To read the rest of the story, click here.)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Survival Myth Busted! Finding Directions By the Moss on Trees

Moss grew on the west side of this stump.
One of the pervasive folk legends about finding directions  in the wilderness or woods, is that moss grows on a certain side of a tree or rock.
Just find your way by observing where the moss is,  according to this theory, and you won’t get lost. According to this traditional old “wisdom,” the moss is thickest on the north side of a tree in the northern hemisphere. In the southern hemisphere, the moss is thickest on the south side. Or so the story goes. I took my compass, and went to several different ecosystems; desert, rain forests, conifer forests and deciduous forests in the southeast to test this theory.
Here is what I found.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Three Maps You Should Carry

Great minds (apparently) think alike. I was working on a story about what maps to take into the wilderness to stay found, when Lucas from posted a related story.
The circumstances we’re writing  about are a little different, and so are our map choices, but I’ll weigh in later. (I will put my two cents’ worth: A map is just one part of the staying-found equation. Also have a compass along, and a GPS with spare batteries. None of these tools are worth anything if you don’t know how to use them!)
To read the story, click here.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Simple Survival Tips For Using a Map and Compass

It isn't hard to get lost.
The point was to get out in the woods and relax, and who can unwind when you have to fool around with land navigation tasks? Besides, you’re well prepared, with survival knife, a survival kit, tarp  and…all that stuff.
But then it starts to get dark, or the weather changes, and you don’t remember which of the forks in the trail you took. At this point, many people will start to panic, and when that happens, you can’t reason.
But in this situation, remembering some common sense land navigation memory aides and acronyms will help calm you down. Once you can correctly orient the map, you can figure out where you are and where to go. To read the complete story, click here.

Selecting a Magnetic Compass

A quality compass should be part of your Ten Essentials and included in every urban and wilderness survival kit. 
In this article, navigation expert Blake Miller shows you how to pick a good, usable one. 
To read the story, click here.

Navigating a Topographical Map

Do topographical maps seem confusing? Do you view most maps as a mass of squiggles, color splotches and undecipherable gibberish, with terms like: datum, UTM,  WGS84 and NAD27?
In this article, land navigation expert Blake Miller explains how to make sense of your topo map!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Keep the Family Safe in the Outdoors

Veteran  search and rescue volunteer  Blake Miller gives some ideas on how to keep your family safe on outdoor excursions. Click here to read the story.