Map and compass
Jim Sleezer (JHS8@VM1.UCC.OKSTATE.EDU)
Fri, 12 Sep 1997 09:53:32 -0500
As with all requirements, we need to think about the intent of the activity.
Sometimes, I think national would be wise to put out some interpretation so
the field people have some idea of the intent. I've been in a few councils
where someone did this type of thing and it was really helpful.
The map and hiking requirements have changed over the years. They used to
be separate activities. By putting them together, BSA has done more to
assure preparation for the hike. I believe they have also recognized the
wider availability of topos, etc.
The interpretation I use is that the scouts should prepare a map that they
can use to find their way in the field (without carrying along the topo).
It needs to contain some landmarks so they can locate themselves should they
get off track. They might even contain a few directional headings, such as
bearing from road intersection to the peak of "short mountain." Obvious
contours might be helpful as well. For instance, at a fork in the trail,
you expect one direction to go up the other to go down. Gives you an easy
check so you don't get turned around! Also differentiates it from the fork
where both ways go up! Following the map in the field is the test of whether
the scout has done a good job drawing his map. He'll probably learn more
if he has some trouble on the way and discovers that he left out a few
things that would have been helpful. I expect the scout to select an
appropriate route on a commercial map. I then expect him to copy (not trace)
the relevant information to his paper. Finally, I expect him to follow the
mapped route. I suggest that he use the compass to check from time to time
that he is actually going in the direction he thinks he should be!
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City