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Map & compass
A compass is used to keep the right direction when you are hiking. The magnetic needle, which usually is red (north) and white (south), always point at the magnetic north pole.

There're a lot of different types on the market. Many orienteering runners use a thumb compass which is put on the thumb and placed on the map. And for hikers the best choice is a compass with a housing that is made to rotate. A model with a mirror is also available, which allows you to see both distant objects and the compass face at the same time.
On the compass you find a house which can rotate. The house has a graduated dial with zero to 360 degrees. Of course you'll also find a measuring stick and maybe a magnifier, which can help you read the small print on a map (see the compass components below).
To get the bearing on a map you just follow these steps, observe that we don't adjust for declination in this case (fig 1, from start to finish).

Place the compass with it's map scale or help lines from your startpoint to the finish (fig 2). Observe that the travel arrow should point at your walking direction. Then you turn the rotating ring until the lines (in the housing) will be parallell with the line of longitude on the map. (fig 3). Don't forget that the north marking at the ring must point to north of the map. Otherwise you'll probably walk in the opposite direction.
Fig 1 Fig 2 Fig 3 Fig 4
Now it's time to walk. Hold the compass steady in your hand. Turn yourself until the red end of the magnetic needle (north) fit into the outlined orienting arrow of the housing (fig 4). Then move in the same direction as the travel arrow says. Before you leave it's a good thing to sight an objekt far away and then walk there. When you reach the objekt control that the magnetic red needle is inside the outlined one and then aim at a new object.

Remember that a metal object can disturb the compass.
The map is a sort of two dimensional picture of the terrain with different colours and symbols. Summits are marked with brown colour, lakes and rivers with blue, buildings, paths, some roads are black and open areas filled with yellow (depending of what kind of map you have these symbols and colours could differ a bit).

If you want to know how steep a hill is we need to know the ekvidistans for the actual map. On a normal map for hiking it's probably 25 m. This means that it's 25 meters between every single height line. Is there many lines on the map it will be steeper in the nature.

The map scale tells you how much it's reduced compared to reality. A scale telling you this: 1:50000 means that 1 meter on the map is 50000 meter in the terrain or you could say 1 cm on the map is 500 m outside.
Map reading
When it comes to map reading it's important that you can translate the real nature to the map or otherwise. Don't forget to look at the bearing so you don't walk at wrong direction.
Try to find some big objects in the terrain and then find them on the map just to control that you are right. When you've walked for a while stop and control the compass.

It's much easier when you read the map if you try to see the important details and forget the others. You can also measure the distance with the compass, then after a while you learn how fast you walk and so on.
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