A little while ago we reviewed the Cicerone Pocket Guide to Navigation, and this is its big brother; a much more in-depth guide to how to read maps, relate them to the land in front of you and find your way.
The same author – Pete Hawkins, who runs the Silva Navigation School – has a real knack of being able to explain the most complex parts of map-reading in a simple to understand way. This isn’t a weighty or challenging read at all, and serves as a brilliant practical guide for anyone getting started with maps.
It focusses mainly on OS maps, but gives nods to Harvey Maps and other types of map, explaining the principles behind how to interpret things, as well as the details.
I’m no expert at reading maps, but I can generally get by if I know where I’ve started and where I need to get to. Pete’s guide goes way beyond my level of knowledge and has been a genuine learning experience reading it. What I like is that he explains what can go wrong, and why, rather than just saying “this is how you do it”.
The book goes on to talk about using a compass and explains the different types, and how to use all those strange symbols and features that tend to scare off those who are new to navigation.
SUMMARY: If you need to know how to read a map, use a compass or find your way in the wilds then this book is an excellent way to learn. Easy to read, full of simple illustrations and examples and progressing from first-steps to advanced map-reading it should cater for all levels.