A lot has changed since the mid-1960s. We landed on the moon, developed powerful microchips, invented the internet, and mapped the human genome. But despite all these innovations, certain principles remain the same. Basic land navigation is one such concept — it’s still done essentially the same way today as it was back then.

Lensatic compass map navigation orientation azimuth 4

Today, we have an advanced network of GPS satellites and portable navigation devices, and these tools can be an excellent resource. However, you’d be foolish to rely wholly on this modern tech in a disaster scenario. It’s wise to have a magnetic compass and know the basics of navigating the old-fashioned way.

The U.S. military M-1950 lensatic compass shown in this video is still in use today.

The U.S. military M-1950 lensatic compass shown in this video is still in use today. Photo: Wikipedia

The following 30-minute U.S. Army training video from 1966 shows how to find your direction, orientation, and location with a mil-spec lensatic compass. The narration and imagery may seem old-timey in this era of high-def computer graphics, but the lessons are still relevant today. It addresses how to orient a map, compensate for declination, and shoot an azimuth to a landmark.

This may seem like a lot to digest if you’re not familiar with land navigation. The best way to get comfortable with these concepts is to go out and practice, preferably with a friend who has some experience in this area and can correct you if you make mistakes. With a little patience, your lensatic compass can become an invaluable resource for survival.


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