Posted by on May 14, 2015 in Survival | 1 comment
Finding-Direction-with-Pen&Paper-feature

Assuming you know the time of day (digital watch, vehicle display, cell phone w/o compass app) and you have a pen and paper you can find your general direction. The following technique comes from adapting an analog watch navigation skill to digital watch technology. Through sideways thinking, the survivor can find his way.

For the Northern Hemisphere

Step 1
Identify what time of day it is.

Step 2
Using your pen and paper, draw a rudimentary analog clock/watch face on a piece of paper.

Finding-Direction-with-Pen&Paper-2

Step 3
Make sure the hour and the minute hand are clearly defined on the drawn clock/watch face.

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Step 4
In the Northern Hemisphere, hold the clock/watch drawing horizontally and point the hour hand in the direction of the sun.

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Step 5
Hold the pen, stick or other straight object in the center of the clock/watch face and observe where the shadow falls. Line it up with the spot corresponding to the opposite side of the watch face from the hour hand. (i.e. opposite 3 is 9, opposite 5 is 11). This line ensures the hour hand is lined up with the sun.

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Step 6

Split the difference between “12” and the hour hand to find your North/South line.  Looking through the watch/clock face between “12” and the hour hand is the Southerly direction. From here, you can estimate the East/West line. Remember the sun rises in an Easterly direction and sets in a Westerly Direction.

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Step 7
Notice prominent landmarks on the horizon and in your area.  Remember these if you are traveling or working in this area for an extended period of time. Also remember, when you face north, South will be to your back, East to your right and West to your left.

Finding-Direction-with-Pen&Paper-7

For the Southern Hemisphere

Step 1
Identify what time of day it is.

Step 2
Using your pen and paper, draw a rudimentary analog clock/watch face on a piece of paper.

Step 3
Make sure the hour and the minute hand are clearly defined on the drawn clock/watch face.

Step 4
In the Southern Hemisphere, hold the clock/watch drawing horizontally and point the “12” toward the sun.

Step 5
Hold the pen, stick or other straight object in the center of the clock/watch face and observe where the shadow falls. Line the shadow up with “6”. This line ensures “12” hand is lined up with the sun.

Step 6

Split the difference between “12” and the hour hand to find your North/South line. Looking through the watch/clock face between “12” and the hour hand is the Northerly direction.  From here, you can estimate the East/West line. Remember the sun rises in an Easterly direction and sets in a Westerly Direction.

Step 7: Notice prominent landmarks on the horizon and in your area.  Remember these if you are traveling or working in this area for an extended period of time. Also remember, when you face north, South will be to your back, East to your right and West to your left.

-Kevin Estela

 

About the Author

Kevin Estela is the Founder and Head Instructor of Estela Wilderness Education. He conducts private and semi-private wilderness and urban/suburban survival courses, tests and evaluates knives and equipment for various companies, is a Mountain Khakis Professional Ambassador, and is a life-long outdoors enthusiast with additional pastimes in canoeing/kayaking, fishing and cooking. Kevin's work has taken him from Los Angeles, CA to the United Kingdom and many points in between. Kevin is ranked in both Sayoc Kali and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and is a shooting enthusiast. Kevin is formerly the Lead Instructor for the Wilderness Learning Center. When not teaching outdoor skills, he is a full-time High School History Teacher and Track and Field Coach who lives in Connecticut.