View Full Version : Map distance measurers
Anyone got any preferences for these devices?
Hi Tony - with my unreconstructed wazzock hat on - I've tried a couple (analogue and digital) and found them a waste of time - if you can't eye it, then just trace the route with your compass lanyard and transfer the length to the scale.
Since the OSGB maps have a 1km grid overlaying everything (that makes 1.4km on the diagonal) I think you can get close enough for most practical purposes by "walking" the route with your eyes, estimating it in sections and adding up as you go.
I think it's a preference thing, I love maps and enjoy navigation. Have done RYA Yachtsmaster navigation and know how to do stuff like Naismiths fast and slow, transferring contours to make an altitude picture of a route I plan to walk, etc, but I just don't like to plan everything in the hills.
If you want to try out a cheap digital map measurer, you can have mine :-D
sargey's rule: if the path/route enters any grid square significantly, count it as a kilometre. 8-) yeah i know it's rough, but it works!
edited to add, i never manged to do the string thing reliably, except on the kitchen table.
Big Jack's rule: Never trust your hiking partner to measure map scale and distance (formulated after a night spent in god-only-knows-where, Pennsylvania, when the forest trail turned out to be, oh, about five times longer than I had been led to believe). Under those circumstances I think these devices are excellent!
Ordinarily, though, I rarely use them in the UK. The maps here are so good and my need for extreme accuracy so minimal that, personally, I see little point. And of course in countries where the maps aren't so good you can't trust a map measurer at all.
If you need to know accurate distances for pacing at night ect. and you have an analouge watch then follow these easy steps:
1: make sure you know the time!!
2:Pull out the wheel and set the watch to 12 o'clock
3:Place the wheel on the map nad move the watch along your intended path. Notice the watch hands move (its easier if they move clockwise)
4: note where the watch hands get to when you have finished. eg 2:30.
5:now reset the watch to 12 and run the wheel along the scale at the bottom (miles or km) and see how far you get when you reach the time Eg 2:30.
And thats ur distance very accurately!
unfortunetly you do need to mess round with thhe time but its not a major problem.
I know it looks like a lot of work but once sussed takes only minuets!
Hope this helps and saves some people money!
I still use my protractor RA6 inch with the string attached, either measure roughly with the scale like a ruler or trace it with the string and then m easure it. Works quite well and doesn't rely on technology, although you do have to keep the protractor safe so it doesn't break. But its usually a case of what you like you stick with.
i have to say that i agree with sargey on this one, i work out distances exactly the same way and it's always worked fine for me, the only time i can think of that i've ever had to be any more acurate than that was on kinder with the cloud very low and visibility at about 5 feet, i used the piece of string technique and got horribly lost!! oh well, you live and learn don't you. when i'm working out distance on a map for the purpose of timings i count kilometres the same as sargey and don't count any time for stops, i always overestimate my distance travelled by a significant amount but the time always works out pretty well and to be honest the distance i walk isn't important at all whereas the time that i'm walking for is sometimes very important. i know that that's probably of no use to anyone, sorry, i'll shut up now!!
Stuart, don't knock it. Good point and well made. :biggthump
The army why is to use the scale on the legend and measure route - each leg ect - with the edge of a piece of paper (mark off each leg) and then once done you have a long straight measurer marked with all your legs so you can measure overal distance or individual legs against the legend.
Personally I guestimate and am happy to be within a K of my guess.
i should add that i map read using lay of land more than compass or GPS and as such rarely need to work out how far i am going or have come - pacing or marching on a bearing generally spoils a good walk. I cant understand those people who walk over hill and dale with their eyes glued to the map which is hanging around their necks.
Not my idea of fun - wanderlust and enjoy it.
I'm with Gary, Much better to be enjoying the view and surroundings.
I have a natural sense of direction, and tend to follow the natural features and landmarks, follow the ridge, skirt the tree line sort of stuff, and enjoy being out as more of a short stroll than an enforced hike.
IF the fit hits the shan, darkness closes in, fog bank rolls over. I need to know exactly where I am. So locate an easy land mark, take a bearing and walk straight to it. If more time is available, take 2 bearings off different landmarks, where the 2 lines cross on the map is my position.
(Remembering: mag to grid get rid (let me know if you don't know what this means?)).
Once I know my position on the map I can set out a series of straight lines and bearings to walk on. I walk 52 double paces to 100 metres- 520 to 1 Kilometre. To measure the distance on the map, I tend to use the Roamer on the corner of the compass. This is the scale you can place on a map square to give you a 6 figure (pretty accurate) grid reference. It basically divides the square into 10, so a 1k square can be broken down to multiples my 52 double paces.
Thats basic but it works for me. Its a skill I am glad to have to fall back on. But prefer wondering aimlessly enjoying the countryside.