Determining direction has been a skill that folks have endeavored to learn for hundreds of years. The compass is probably one of the most commonly used tools and dates back to A.D. 80. Unfortunately for some, using a compass requires a bit of math skills as well, which isn’t always exciting for those who struggled in the subject. Who says you will never use the stuff you learned in school? Don’t get too worried if you were not a math whiz. I will give you a basic briefing on how to use a compass effectively.
1-Reviewing the Cardinal Directions
Basic elementary geography class included the subject of cardinal directions. Let’s refresh your memory. North, East, South and West. Remember? You may also remember one of those handy phrases that were used to help remember key information. Try this, Never Eat Sour Watermelons. There are several different variations, but each gets the same message across. The important thing is you understand the basic points of direction in order to use a compass. You need to be very familiar with the cardinal directions.
2-Get familiar with the directions
You absolutely must know which way is east and which is west. North and south seem to be the easiest to remember, but that is not enough. This exercise will help you get a good idea of direction. Grab your compass, stand in a room and determine where north is. Once you have established your position, have somebody call out various directions. Simply turn and face the direction. There are 16 positions on a compass you will need to know. If you need to practice by yourself, make up some flashcards and go from there. Practice this exercise until it becomes second nature.
Once you have got the cardinal directions down, keep practicing. This is simple and takes no time out of your busy schedule. While you are at home and doing dishes, which direction are you facing? Quiz yourself when you are at work. For example, when you are sitting at your desk, you are facing what direction or when you head to the restroom, which way are you going. Little things like this will help keep direction will fine tune your ability to determine direction. It will become second nature to you.
Some people are lucky and have an excellent internal compass. However, that doesn’t mean the skill cannot be taught. A little dedication and a lot of practice and anybody can get their inner compass to work without a lot of thought. Developing this sense of direction is an important survival tool.