Having a complete range of navigational skills, such as knowing how to read topographical maps will ensure that you will stay right on track regardless of what the terrain, weather, or the electromagnetic field of the earth might be up to.
Understanding the Scale on Topographic Maps
The first thing to do is look for the scale of the map that will inform you of the amount of detail contained in the map. The scale on topographical maps will let you know how many fractions of a mile or miles are represented by one inch. When the scale is smaller, the map will also have more details.
The legend of a topographic map, just like other kinds of maps, will inform you of what different types of lines, colors, and symbols represent from waterfalls to roads, rivers, and more. The legend also includes other data you will need for correctly reading a topographical map and using this for navigation.
The contours on the topographic map will tell where elevation changes will occur on the landscape, while the contour interval will tell you how big a shift is represented between the map’s contour lines.
Using Magnetic Declination on Topographic Maps
Another feature that makes topographical maps very handy and helpful for hikers is none other than magnetic declination. It is how you could adjust for the variances between magnetic north and true north that may make you veer off course.
Regardless of how far the separation is between the magnetic north and true north, searching for the magnetic declination, or the angle between the true north and magnetic north, can be found with the use of the topographic map’s legend and with the help of other tools.