What is Micro Navigation or Micro Nav?
The Good Folk at TRAIL magazine asked us lately, ‘just how would you describe micro nav exactly?’ We thought there must be hundreds of descriptions already, but when we went looking there wasn’t a good description out there widely agreed!
We never thought of that. We just sort of assumed it would be out there in hundreds of articles. Like there is for ‘how to make the best Yorkshire Pudding’. We thought everyone just knew. Daft really as this is what we do as a charity, so it is about time we put things right. About micro nav, not Yorkshires. They are already properly sorted and glad we are too.
So after much research, debate at Ultimate Nav and tuning of words, here it is.
Micro Navigation or Micro Nav – a definition
‘Micro navigation is the practice of reducing course deviation and the likelihood of getting lost in poor visibility and difficult terrain, by using a series of smaller legs and by using smaller nearby features to constantly check your position and track.’
Alternately, when using Macro navigation on a bright, sunny day, you may just look and see in the distance a path junction, with one winding up to the summit and simply follow it by eye, then decide your route onwards when you’ve reached the summit.
But to micro nav in thick clag restricting visibility to 10m, you may have to head for a path junction 100m away by using a compass bearing and pacing from your known current location, and check off small collecting features that you expect to see from the map along the way, in order to check your position and track.
The longer you leave it before getting a fix the more likely you are to go off course and miss your target. The smaller the legs, the less chance for error to creep in before a fix is acquired.
Naturally we use big distinctive features if we can but in the field we are often forced to use smaller features if that’s all we have nearby for a fix.
In summary, for micro navigation we use smaller legs, and get fixes and check our track and position frequently by using whatever features we can along the way. These are often small features. So when micro navigating we manage very small tolerances of distance, bearing, track and position.
Hope that helps!
Why not book a micro navigation course now?
The Ultimate Navigation School is a charity providing navigation training to hill walkers, with all our net profits supporting the following charities –
Mend Our Mountains, Fix the Fells, John Muir Trust and Mountain Bothy Assoc.