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

 

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13-4. ARCTIC TERRAIN

Arctic terrain includes those areas that experience extended periods of below freezing temperatures. In these areas, the ground is generally covered with ice or snow during the winter season. Although frozen ground and ice can improve trafficability, a deep accumulation of snow can reduce it. Vehicles and personnel require special equipment and care under these adverse conditions.

a.   Operations. Both the terrain and the type and size of unit operations vary greatly in arctic areas. In open terrain, armored and mechanized forces will be effective although they will have to plan and train for the special conditions. In broken terrain, forests, and mountains, light forces will predominate as usual. However, foot movement can take up to five times as long as it might under warmer conditions.

b.   Interpretation and Analysis. Both the terrain and cultural features you may confront in winter may vary to any extreme, as can the weather. The common factor is an extended period of below-freezing temperatures. The terrain may be plains, plateaus, hills, or mountains. The climate will be cold, but the weather will vary greatly from place to place. Most arctic terrain experiences snow, but some claim impressive accumulations each season, such as the lake-effected snow belts off Lake Ontario near Fort Drum, New York. Other areas have many cold days with sunshine and clear nights, and little snow accumulation.

(1)   In areas with distinct local relief and scattered trees or forests, the absence of foliage makes movement by terrain association easier; observation and fields of fire are greatly enhanced except during snowstorms. But in relatively flat, open areas covered with snow (especially in bright sunlight), the resulting lack of contrast may interfere with your being able to read the land. With foliage gone, concealment (both from the ground and from the air) is greatly reduced. As in desert areas, you must make better use of the terrain to conceal your movements.

(2)   Frozen streams and swamps may no longer be obstacles, and thus identification of avenues of approach may be difficult in winter. However, the concept as to what is key terrain is not likely to be affected.

c.   Navigation. Special skills may be required in arctic terrain, such as the proper use of winter clothing, skis, and snowshoes; but this does not affect your navigation strategies. There are no special techniques for navigating in arctic terrain. Just be aware of the advantages and disadvantages that may present themselves and make the most of your opportunities while applying the four steps and two techniques for land navigation.

(1)   Remember, the highest caliber of leadership is required to ensure that all necessary tasks are performed, that security is maintained, and that soldiers and their equipment are protected from the physical effects of very low temperatures. There is a great temptation to do less than a thorough job at whatever the task may be when you are very cold.

(2)   Night navigation may be particularly enhanced when operating in arctic terrain. Moonlight and starlight on a clear night reflect off the snow, thus enabling you to employ daytime terrain association techniques with little difficulty. Even cloudy winter nights are often brighter than clear moonlit summer nights when the ground is dark and covered with foliage. Movements with complete light discipline (no black-out drives) can often be executed. On the other hand, areas with severe winter climates experience lengthy periods of darkness each day, which may be accompanied by driving snow and limited visibility.


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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