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The "Map Reading and Land Navigation" manual by the U.S. Army is a field manual that provides comprehensive guidance on orienteering with a map and compass, which is a critical skill for soldiers.


This manual includes detailed instructions on:


  • Understanding Maps: Detailed explanations of different types of maps, map symbols, and scales used by the military.
  • Reading Topographical Features: Instructions on interpreting contour lines and other features to understand the terrain.
  • Using a Compass: Guidance on how to use various types of compasses for orientation and navigation.
  • Navigational Techniques: Techniques for traveling with a map and compass, including plotting courses and determining location.
  • Pacing and Distance Estimation: Methods for estimating distance on the ground by pacing or using sight.
  • Terrain Association: Using terrain features to navigate to a destination when a compass is not available.
  • Global Positioning System (GPS): Modern navigation using GPS devices and integrating their use with traditional map reading.
  • Night Navigation: Special considerations and techniques for moving in darkness or low visibility.
  • Urban Navigation: Strategies for navigating in urban environments where traditional topographical features may be absent.
  • Field Sketching: How to sketch maps in the field when detailed maps are not available.


The manual is designed for training soldiers in land navigation to ensure that they can move effectively and confidently across diverse and challenging terrains, both in training and combat situations. It emphasizes both traditional skills and modern technology, ensuring that personnel are equipped to navigate with or without electronic aids.



Map Reading and Land Navigation

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