Part One
  Map Reading


  Reading Topographical Maps Introduction 1. HOME

  Topographical Maps - Definition, Purpose and Categories 2. Maps

  Information in the margins of an army map 3. Marginal Information    and Symbols

  Latitude, Longitude and Other Methods to Locate Points on Topographic Maps 4. Grids

  Translating Distance on a Topographic Map to Distance on the Ground 5. Scale and Distance

  Grid North, Azimuth, Declination And Other Concepts Used To Find Direction With Topographic Maps 6. Direction

  Overlays - Used Primarily In Army Map Reading 7. Overlays

  Aerial Photographs - Supplements And Substitutes For Topographic Maps 8. Aerial Photographs

 Part Two
  Land Navigation


  Using Compass, GPS, Sun, Shadows, and Stars in Land Navigation 9. Navigation Equipment    and Methods

  Reading The Shape Of The Land In Topographic Maps 10. Elevation and Relief

  Orienting and Navigating With Topographic Maps 11. Terrain Association

  Mounted Land Navigating With Motorized Vehicles 12. Mounted Land    Navigation

  Land Navigation In Different Types of Terrain 13. Navigation in    Different Types of    Terrain



  Sketching Topographic Maps A. Field Sketching

  Folding Topographic Maps B. Map Folding     Techniques

  Units of Measure and Conversion Factors Used in Reading Topographic Maps C. Units of Measure and      Conversion Factors

  Units of Measure and Conversion Factors Used in Reading Topographic Maps D. Joint Operations      Graphics

  US Army Training Material for Map Reading and Land Navigation E. Exportable Training      Material

  Orienteering F. Orienteering

  US Army M2 Compass G. M2 Compass

  Additional Aids such as Night Vision Goggles and Global Positioning System or GPS H. Additional Aids      (GPS, Night Vision)

  Global Positioning System -  GPS J. Global Positioning      System - GPs

 

Outdoor Gear Store Outdoor Gear Store

Links to other sites LINKS

Link to us LINK To Us

 

11-3. TERRAIN ASSOCIATION USAGE

The technique of moving by terrain association is more forgiving of mistakes and far less time-consuming than dead reckoning. It best suits those situations that call for movement from one area to another. Errors made using terrain association are easily corrected because you are comparing what you expected to see from the map to what you do see on the ground. Errors are anticipated and will not go unchecked. You can easily make adjustments based upon what you encounter. Periodic position-fixing through either plotted or estimated resection will also make it possible to correct your movements, call for fire, or call in the locations of enemy targets or any other information of tactical or logistical importance.

a.   Matching the Terrain to the Map by Examining Terrain Features. By observing the contour lines in detail, the five major terrain features (hilltop, valley, ridge, depression, and saddle) should be determined. This is a simple task in an area where the observer has ample view of the terrain in all directions. One-by-one, match the terrain features depicted on the map with the same features on the ground. In restricted terrain, this procedure becomes harder; however, constantly check the map as you move since it is the determining factor (Figure 11-5).

b.   Comparing the Vegetation Depicted on the Map. When comparing the vegetation, a topographic map should be used to make a comparison of the clearings that appear on the map with the ones on the ground. The user must be familiar with the different symbols, such as vineyards, plantations, and orchards that appear on the legend. The age of the map is an important factor when comparing vegetation. Some important vegetation features were likely to be different when the map was made. Another important factor about vegetation is that it can change overnight by natural accidents or by man (forest fires, clearing of land for new developments, farming, and so forth).

c.   Masking by the Vegetation. Camouflage the important landforms using vegetation. Use of camouflage makes it harder for the navigator to use terrain association.

d.   Using the Hydrography. Inland bodies of water can help during terrain association. The shape and size of lakes in conjunction with the size and direction of flow of the rivers and streams are valuable help.

e.   Using Man-made Features. Man-made features are an important factor during terrain association. The user must be familiar with the symbols shown in the legend representing those features. The direction of buildings, roads, bridges, high-tension lines, and so forth make the terrain inspection a lot easier; however, the age of the map must be considered because man-made features appear and disappear constantly.

f.   Examining the Same Piece of Terrain During the Different Seasons of the Year. In those areas of the world where the seasons are distinctive, a detailed examination of the terrain should be made during each of the seasons. The same piece of land does not present the same characteristics during both spring and winter.

(1)   During winter, the snow packs the vegetation, delineating the land, making the terrain features appear as clear as they are shown by the contour lines on the map. Ridges, valleys, and saddles are very distinctive.

(2)   During spring, the vegetation begins to reappear and grow. New vegetation causes a gradual change of the land to the point that the foliage conceals the terrain features and makes the terrain hard to recognize.

(3)   During summer months, the effects are similar to those in the spring.

(4)   Fall makes the land appear different with its change of color and gradual loss of vegetation.

(5)   During the rainy season, the vegetation is green and thick, and the streams and ponds look like small rivers and lakes. In scarcely vegetated areas, the erosion changes the shape of the land.

(6)   During a period of drought, the vegetation dries out and becomes vulnerable to forest fires that change the terrain whenever they occur. Also during this season, the water levels of streams and lakes drop, adding new dimensions and shape to the existing mapped areas.

g.   Following an Example of Terrain Association. Your location is hilltop 514 in the lower center of the map in Figure 11-7.

Figure 11-7. Example of terrain association with a topographic map.

Figure 11-7. Example of terrain association.

(1)   To The North. The contour lines indicate that the hill slopes down for about 190 meters, and that it leads into a small valley containing an intermittent stream. On the other side of the stream as you continue with your northerly inspection, the terrain starts a gradual ascent, indicating a hilltop partially covered with vegetation, until an unimproved road is reached. This road runs along a gradual ridgeline with north-west direction. Then the contour line spacings become narrow, indicating a steeper grade that leads to a narrow valley containing a small intermittent stream. As you continue up, you find a small but prominent ridge with a clearing. The contour lines once again show a steeper grade leading to a moderate valley containing an intermittent stream running in a south-east direction.

(2)   To The East. There is a clearing of the terrain as it slopes down to Schley Pond. An ample valley is clearly seen on the right side of the pond, as indicated by the "U" and "V" shape of the contour lines. This valley contains some swamp areas and there is a long ridgeline on the north portion of the valley.

(3)   To The South. The terrain gently slopes downward until a clear area is reached. It continues in a downward direction to an intermittent stream running south-east in a small valley. There is also an improved road running in the same direction as the valley. At the intersection of the roads as you face south, there is a clearing of about 120 meters on the ridge. At the bottom of it, a stream runs from Schley Pond in a south-west direction through an ample valley fed by two intermittent streams. As you continue, a steep, vegetated hill is found with a clearing on its top, followed by a small saddle and another hilltop.

(4)   To The West. First, you see a small, clear valley. It is followed by a general ridgeline running north-west in which an unimproved road is located just before a hilltop. Continuing on a westerly direction, you will find a series of alternate valleys and ridges.


Return to Terrain Association
 



 

Books

Map Reading and Land Navigation Buy the book this website is based on: Map Reading and Land Navigation

This website is based on the US Army Field Manual: "Map Reading and Land Navigation" Buy a copy from Amazon.com to take with you out in the field.

 

Book Review - Be Expert with Map and Compass

One of the best ways to learn and become proficient in any subject is to find a way to make a game or sport of it. That's exactly what orienteering does! Orienteering began to develop almost 100 years ago in the Scandinavian countries as a fun and effective method for military training in land navigation. Bjorn Kjellstrom was closely involved with the early development of orienteering, and he is the person who introduced the sport to North America. He, along with his brother Alvar, and a friend named Gunnar Tillander, invented the modern orienteering compass. They manufactured and marketed it as the Silva Protractor compass. This compass, along with Bjorn's book Be Expert with Map and Compass, made it much easier for anyone to learn how to use a map and compass.

This book has become the most widely read classic on the subject of map reading, compass use, and orienteering. Over 500,000 copies have been sold in the english language editions alone. There have been very successful editions published in French, Italian, and other languages as well. It is a short (just over 200 pages), easy to read, enjoyable book that can help you to have fun while you learn the subject quickly and effectively.

The book is organized into four main parts, plus a short, useful introduction. Part 1 covers having fun with maps alone. Then, Part 2 covers having fun with a compass alone. Part 3 puts it together and shows you how to have fun with a map and compass together. This section also introduces the game or sport of orienteering. Part 4 covers competitive orienteering for those who would like to compete with others in the sport.

A reproduction of a segment of an actual topographic map is included as a fold-out in the back of the book. It is used together with the "how-to" instructions the book provides. For example, one of the exercises in Part 3 is an imaginary orienteering "hike" that uses the sample map.

If you would like to have one of the best books available on map reading and using a compass, Be Expert with Map and Compass is hard to beat. You can buy a copy from Amazon.com today.

Read a book review of Agincourt

Boat Navigation For The Rest of Us
  Boat Navigation For The Rest of Us

Basic Coastal Navigation
  Basic Coastal Navigation