Introduction to Map & Compass Class

Description: During this field outing, we'll help you see three dimensions of the land in the two dimensions of a topographic map by teaching you how to read contour lines, landmarks and other map features. We'll also talk about magnetic north, true north, and magnetic variation (declination), and help you make sense of it all. From there, you'll learn how to take a bearing from the terrain and your map so that you can triangulate your position and plan a route. Maps and compasses will be provided.

Skills you'll learn:

Learn how to read topographic lines and other basic features on a map Learn how to orient a map to match the environment both with and without a compass. Learn basic compass features and how to utilize the map with a compass. Learn how to plot your current position on your map. Use a map & compass to navigate to new locations. Build confidence in your navigation skills.

Check out the gear list.

Required Legal Form:
This course requires the participant to read and sign a liability release form before participating. Please see "Required Legal Form" for the session you are registering for. You will need to print, sign and bring the form to your class.

More Partner Information:

Introduction to Map & Compass Class Information

Outdoor School Cancellation Policy



  • Class Details
  • Gear List
Date / Time
Meeting Location / Class Notes

Introduction to Map & Compass Class Gear List

Gear to bring to class:


  • Lunch & Snacks
  • Hiking Boots
  • 2 Liters of Water - At least 2 Nalgene sized water bottles or a large Camelback style reservoir
  • Daypack - Day pack large enough to carry water, food and layers.


  • Personal Camera
  • Hydration Compatible Day Pack - 1000-2000 cubic inches with 70-100 oz water bladder
  • Lip Balm/Protection
  • Sun Protection - Lip balm, sunscreen, wide-brim hats, etc.
  • Personal Compass

Gear provided by REI:

  • Compass
  • Group First Aid Kit
  • Topographical Maps - Local course area maps.