Land Navigation Practice Course


May 28, 2016
What are some easy and effective ways to set up a land nav course on my own to practice for ROTC? I would like to be able to go anywhere, including national parks to do this. Is a GPS and mapping software required to set this up, or is there a good app for my smartphone that can be used for this purpose? I also want to practice terrain association, and would need accurate printed maps and everything set up for MGRS. Mostly, I have ran into compatibility issues, which can be a bit of a headache. If anyone has a good technique for setting land nav up I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks!
Bob: I would think there are Land Nav/ Orientation courses in your area. Your local park or university may have courses. There are online resources available. Geocaching is a growing interest with lots of participants.

In the end, I would concentrate much more on map skills than compass skills. Get a topographical map for the area you are interested in and learn everything you can on how to use them with magnetic compass assistance. GPS is cheating. :)

In the end, Uncle Sam will teach you everything you need to know.
You can get topo maps from USGS -- go to their website. There are linear methods to practice navigating with a compass and working on pace count. There is a method where a fixed length rope is tagged with numbers in equal intervals. Basically an instruction card will say "Start at point #x, go xsteps on this azimuth, go y steps on the next azimuth, etc... and then you'll hopefully end up on the correct # in the end.

As USMCGrunt said, get in with a club that may have land nav courses.

In the end, don't get too hung up about it. You'll be "oriented" in the way that the service wants to orient you in the end.
I believe a lot of outdoor/camping stores like REI coop offer Land Navigation classes as well.
Kidnap a local boy scout/ friend with the merit badge and get free lessons, too :)

Seriously, find the $5 orienteering merit badge book and it's an easy place to start.
Plot a point on the map, navigate to it using pace and compass, and when you think you have arrived check yourself using your GPS.

As said before you will be taught what you need to know. Hopefully your program will give you multiple opportunities on multiple course to practice your skills...Boy Scout manuals, google, 550 cord apps are all good ways to practice, but you don't need to go overboard.