Author Topic: Using a Watch Face as a Compass  (Read 5363 times)

nelson96

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Using a Watch Face as a Compass
« on: November 08, 2013, 05:47:06 PM »
I learned something new at elk camp this year from an old timer. . .  Hopefully you know how to use a compass and a map when you are out and about, or even a GPS, but if you are without, did you know you could use a watch face to find north and south?  You must have an analog watch, but you can even simply draw a watch face on paper if you know what the time is.

For full disclosure, I got the below information off of wikiHow as I could not remember the exact instructions the old timer gave me at elk camp.

In the northern hemisphere:
  • Hold the watch horizontal
  • Point the hour hand in the direction of the sun
  • Bisect the angle between the hour hand and the twelve o'clock mark to get the north/south line (substitute the 1:00 mark during Daylight Savings time).  North will be the direction further from the sun

In the southern hemisphere:
  • Hold the watch horizontal
  • Point twelve o'clock in the direction of the sun
  • Bisect the angle between the hour hand and the twelve o'clock mark to get the north/south line.  North will be the direction closer to the sun

The further away from the equator you are the more accurate your results will be, as the sun will cast a longer shadow.  If it is a cloudy or overcast day, find an open area as far from sun obstructions as possible and hold up a stick or other straight object and a slight shadow will be cast in all but the worst conditions. 

Offline RitaRose1945

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Re: Using a Watch Face as a Compass
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2013, 06:36:37 PM »
That's interesting!

When I was out on my route, I would sometimes need to know NSEW, and I usually just know, but not always.  I'd check the time, then find a streetlight pole or a tree or something and figure out a reasonably close estimate to north.

Offline archer

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Re: Using a Watch Face as a Compass
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2013, 07:07:54 PM »
remember to subtract an hr if in daylight savings time. or is it add 1 hr.... whatever... exercise left for the student

nelson96

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Re: Using a Watch Face as a Compass
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2013, 08:17:24 PM »
remember to subtract an hr if in daylight savings time. or is it add 1 hr.... whatever... exercise left for the student

That was included in the instructions.  It was add 1 hour. . .  Substitute the 12 o'clock for 1 o'clock.

Offline Olympic Wanderer

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Re: Using a Watch Face as a Compass
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2014, 12:27:47 PM »
Works with a digital watch as well... just check the time and draw the time on the ground or piece of paper

Offline survivalbloke

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Re: Using a Watch Face as a Compass
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2015, 02:18:18 PM »
I think this technique originated from aviation - no?