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Compass & Pacing. Instructional Materials Service Texas A&M University - 8987E -. Compass & Pacing. Baseplate Compass Engineer’s Lensatic Compass Pacing Compass Use. Baseplate Compass. There are several grades and types of compasses. A good baseplate compass will have a:

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Compass pacing

Compass & Pacing

Instructional Materials Service

Texas A&M University

- 8987E -

Compass pacing1
Compass& Pacing

  • Baseplate Compass

  • Engineer’s Lensatic Compass

  • Pacing

  • Compass Use

Baseplate compass
Baseplate Compass

There are several grades and types of

compasses. A good baseplate compass will

have a:

  • Rotating, fluid-filled housing

  • Baseplate

  • Compass needle

  • North alignment needle

  • Direction-of-travel arrow

Baseplate compass1


Direction-of-travel arrow


North alignment

Rotating housing

Compass needle

Orientation lines

Compass housing

Baseplate Compass

Baseplate compass2
Baseplate Compass

Baseplate compasses

may include:

  • A scale

  • A magnifier

  • Templates

  • Lanyard (a wrist, or neck travel cord)


Direction-of-travel arrow


Slot for lanyard

Baseplate compass3
Baseplate Compass

  • The fluid-filled housing slows the motion of the needle so the operator does not need to hold the compass motionless during use.


Baseplate compass4
Baseplate Compass

  • The compass housing includes degree marks, 0° to 360°.

  • The reading for North is both 0° and 360°.


Baseplate compass5
Baseplate Compass

  • The red end of the compass needle always points to Magnetic North.



Engineer s lensatic compass
Engineer‘s Lensatic Compass

Compass includes:

  • A fluid-filled housing

  • A Magnetic North arrow

  • Directional marks

  • A magnifying lens

  • A line-of-sight directional viewfinder


Two methods of pacing:

  • Pace equals two steps

  • Pace equals steps traveled in a 100-foot distance

Compass pacing

Method 1:

Pace Equals Two Steps

Pace equals two steps
Pace Equals Two Steps

Determining an accurate pace:

  • Measure a 100-foot distance between two markers, Point A and Point B.

  • The area between the markers should be flat and free of obstacles.

Pace equals two steps1
Pace Equals Two Steps

  • Travel from Point A to Point B, counting off each step.

  • Repeat several times recording step count each time.

Pace equals two steps2
Pace Equals Two Steps

  • Divided total number of steps recorded (120) by number of attempts completed (3)(120) steps ÷ (3) attempts = 40 steps

  • Average equals (40) steps.

Pace equals two steps3
Pace Equals Two Steps

  • Divide (100) distance by (40) step average100 ÷ 40 = (2.5) step length

  • Multiply (2.5) step length by (2).

  • 2.5 x 2 = 5

  • Pace = 5 feet

Compass pacing

Method 2:

Steps Traveled in 100 Feet

Steps traveled in 100 feet
Steps Traveled in 100 Feet

  • Once an average pace is established, it is possible to determine how many steps it will take to travel a given distance.

    In this example, 40 steps = 1 pace

Steps traveled in 100 feet1
Steps Traveled in 100 Feet

Distance from point A to point B = (160) steps

Pace = (40) steps

Divide (160) distance from A to B by (40) steps

160 ÷ 40 = 4

Multiply 4 by (100) distance used to find pace

4 x 100 = 400

Distance to target is 400 feet

Steps traveled in 100 feet2
Steps Traveled in 100 Feet

Calculate the number steps to travel a

distance of 185 feet.

  • Divide (185) distance by 100

    185 ÷ 100 = 1.85

    Remember: 40 steps = 1 pace

  • Multiply 40 by 1.85

    1.85 x 40 = 74

    It will take 74 steps to travel 185 feet.

Pacing obstacles
Pacing (Obstacles)

  • It is necessary to determine pace on uneven terrain, through ditches, grasses, trees, brush of various heights, and other obstacles.


Beginners should:

  • Use a measuring tape to accurately measure a 100-foot distance.

  • Practice on clean, level ground, using a natural walking gait.

  • Maintain a constant, reliable pace, regardless of the obstacles.

Compass use
Compass Use

  • The Earth’s North and South poles act like a huge magnet. One pole is positive and one pole is negative.

  • Because magnetic and true North are not the same, corrections are made in surveying to compensate for this difference. The difference is referred to as magnetic declination.

Compass use1
Compass Use

  • The compass needle, which floats in the fluid-filled chamber, is magnetized.

  • Regardless of the compass position, the red needle is drawn to the Magnetic North Pole.

Compass use2
Compass Use

  • The circular rotating housing enclosing the needle is marked in degrees in increments from 0° to 360°.

  • Degrees are also referred to as the azimuth or bearing.


Compass use3
Compass Use

  • Directional letters N, S, E, and W, are identified on the housing.


Compass use4
Compass Use

Example: To find the direction-of-travel based on a compass reading of 210 feet at 320° from a specific location:

Reading 210 feet at 320
Reading 210 feet at 320°

  • Rotate the housing on the compass until the 320° mark lines up with the direction-of-travel arrow.

Direction-of-travel arrow


Reading 210 feet at 3201
Reading 210 feet at 320°

  • Rotate the entire compass until the compass needle lines up in the North alignment position.

Direction-of-travel arrow

Needle in the North Alignment Position

Reading 210 feet at 3202
Reading 210 feet at 320°

  • Holding the compass at eye level, use the direction-of-travel arrow to identify a distant landmark.

  • Walk in a straight line as indicated by the direction-of-travel arrow for a distance of 210 feet to the recorded location.

Compass reading 210 feet at 320
Compass Reading 210 feet at 320°

Compass use5
Compass Use

  • Note: All magnetic objects, such as belts, watches, keys, and other metal objects can interfere with the compass reading.

  • Hold compass away form metal objects when taking a reading.

Compass use6
Compass Use

  • Aerial maps are available through the Natural Resource Conservation Service or the Soil and Water Conservation District.

  • Maps should be read with a compass on a flat, horizontal surface, away from metal objects.

  • Readings may be taken from maps based on specific location and the direction to be traveled.

Compass use7
Compass Use

  • The ability to use a compass effectively is an essential skill for wildlife managers, biologists, and other scientists who work outdoors. It is also a beneficial tool for the outdoor enthusiast.


Dr. Joe Dettling, Associate Professor, Instructional Materials Service, Texas A&M University, researched and developed the information used in this PowerPoint Presentation.

Jerry Dornak, Agricultural Science & Technology Instructor, Goliad High School, Goliad, Texas and Dr. Terry Blankenship, Wildlife Biologist, Welder Wildlife Foundation, Sinton, Texas, reviewed material used this PowerPoint.

Christine Stetter, Artist, Instructional Materials Service, Texas A&M University, developed and illustrated this PowerPoint Presentation.

Vickie Marriott, Office Associate, Instructional Materials Service, Texas A&M University, edited the material in this PowerPoint Presentation.