hearty agreement with Solace Easy.  Topo maps are quite accurate with respect to topography, almost always, but the cultural features, especially trails, can be off considerably.  The current maps for an area I frequent were published in 1943, based on aerial photogrammetry accomplish in 1938.  The cultural features are hugely outdated, but the topography is spot on.  A later publication by national Geographic maps uses the 1943 topography and the cultural features are more nearly up to date, but change is inevitable.

Terrain association and awareness of your surroundings  is your best bet, at least where topographic relief is present and the weather is decent.  In sixty years, I have looked at my compass exactly twice in all my excursions.  Still you should have one and it should be adjusted for declination.  Even more insidious is local error which can e anything from your knife blade or another compass to local magnetic anomalies in the surrounding bedrock.  Check your compass by finding the North Star 9Northern hemisphere) or Southern Cross (down under).

Declination does change at a usually, steady rate, but it is usually fractions of a degree.  For hiking and travel purposes, that is insignificant.  But do check the date of your map - change can add up.

Although rare used, I always have a good compass with me.  When you need one, you really need it.

Aerial photos are occasionally useful, especially if they are current.  You ought to be able to download them to your cell phone, but I am hazy on details....Anyone???


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