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Training 16/03 | “old-school” Navigation

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Tuesday night training for DSRT (Plymouth) continues with members of the team meeting in small groups, or “training bubbles”.

When attending a call out, it is common for search teams to be issued with maps which could be in unfamiliar formats, printed at an uncommon mapping scale or as is often the case, both!  

Tuesday night’s exercise for Training Team 3, was a map and compass exercise.  The description “old-school” might be appropriate here, since the team were asked to pack away their modern Ordnance Survey maps.  For the purpose of the exercise they were issued vintage maps, dating from  1946 and  at the “one inch to one mile” scale.   For this training session all GPS devices were secured out of sight! 

The navigators were asked to make their way around a series of locations, shown on the 1946 map, which are barely visible in the modern landscape.  To contrast this, at each checkpoint, the team’s map interpretation and local knowledge was quizzed.  They were given a question based on a location where no feature is shown on the 1946 map. The questions were answered by identifying the correct place, then from memory describing the modern building or feature now sited on that spot.

The final task required the team to follow a footpath, which does not appear on modern mapping, yet is clearly shown on the old map.  The route taken, about a mile across Walkhampton Common, follows features on the ground which suggested a clear path did at one time exist. 

By using the vintage maps for training, the team showed they were able to adapt quickly to an unfamiliar map representation and to test their working knowledge by identifying features which have changed over time.

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