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Mapping and Topography
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If you own property or are thinking about developing property then having a topographic map is a great resource to use in making your purchase decision.  If you are hiking in a state or national park then having a topographic map is one tool to help you navigate. Understanding what all the lines and symbols mean is important for referencing  your position on the map. Learning how to use a compass and how to navigate with a compass can be a fun and rewarding family activity on a nice spring or fall weekend. 
How to read a Topographic Map

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Once you see how easy it is to read a topographic map you may want to search for one in your area. The Topo Zone is a great place to start.

Hiking and mapping with a Pocket Transit

The Pocket Transit is a fun and relatively inexpensive instrument that can be used to hike and locate lines. This transit can be used as a hand held instrument or attached to a Jacob's Staff or Tripod. It takes some practice to use but has the ability to read an angle within 1 (degree) in the horizontal plane and 10' (minutes) in the vertical plane.

How to use the Surveyor's Pocket Transit

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Surveyor's Pocket Transit

With the advent of GPS hand held devices it would seem that the use of the compass becomes less and less. If you like to hike I would suggest keeping a compass or pocket transit as a backup. When the terrian becomes such that a clear sky in not available or the batteries in the GPS just didn't last as long as you thought the compass will become a good friend.

Professional Surveying Services, Inc. - Copyright 2006