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The “field synonym” is a term that refers to the area of land that is used as a field. It can also refer to an area where something is grown or harvested, such as vegetables and crops.

Scout looking out over river estimating distance illustration.

When you’re out in the field, traversing the terrain or doing any number of outdoor chores and jobs, you may need to measure the heights and widths of things such as trees and rivers for a variety of purposes. But, in many cases, these things are so enormous and out of reach that using a tape measure to measure them would be foolish and impractical.

Fortunately, scouts have used a few simple field-expedient tactics for ages to estimate the height and breadth of things with nothing more than sticks and a little geometry. While there are smartphone applications that can perform the same thing, it’s always helpful to know how to do things without technology in order to become more antifragile. It’s also entertaining.

Note: Because pacing is necessary to establish the measures, you’ll need to know the length in feet and inches of a usual pace for you. Take a typical stride and measure from the heel of your back foot to the toe of your front foot to determine the length of your pace.  

In the Field, How to Estimate Height

If you’re falling trees, you’ll want to know their height ahead of time so they don’t fall on your vehicle or campground. But how can you get a tape measure up to the top of a tree and measure its height?

Here are a few old ways that lumberjacks and scouts used to estimate the height of trees and other large things, such as canyon walls and waterfalls.

The Felling Technique 

Felling method for estimating tree height.

  1. Back up to the point where you can see both the top and bottom of the thing you’re measuring. Hold a stick at arm’s length, so that the top of the stick seems to contact the object’s top. 
  1. Turn your arm 90 degrees so that it is parallel to the horizon, as if the thing had fallen, hence the word “felling.”
  1. Have your friend stand where the tip of the stick seems to terminate. Put something there to serve as a marker, such as a stone or another stick. 
  1. To determine the object’s height, measure the distance between the marker and the object’s base.

The Method of the Stick 

Stick method for estimating tree height illustration.

To achieve a fair estimate, this procedure needs reasonably level terrain.

  1. Find a stick that is the same length as your arm.
  1. Hold your arm straight out in front of you, the stick pointing straight up (90-degree angle to your outstretched arm).
  1. Reverse your steps until the tip of the stick aligns with the tree’s top. Your feet are about the same distance away from the tree as it is tall.

The Method of the Proportional Stick

Proportional stick method for estimating tree height illustration.

This is a version of the Stick Method that requires the assistance of a second person.

  1. Stand near the thing to be measured with a friend whose height is known.
  1. You should be able to see both the top and bottom of the item if you stand far enough away. Hold a pencil or stick at arm’s length and look over the top of it with one eye, as if it were touching the top of your friend’s head.
  1. Place your thumbnail where the stick seems to meet the tree trunk’s base. Now raise the stick to check how many times this measurement is included into the tree’s height.
  1. To estimate the approximate height of the item, multiply the value obtained in step 3 by your friend’s height. 

Method of the Shadows 

Thadow method for estimating tree height illustration.


This strategy is only effective when the weather is sunny. Any slope may throw off the measurement, thus the ground must be reasonably level.

  1. Measure the length of the tree’s shadow (from the base to the peak of the tree’s shadow) and mark it as AB.
  1. Calculate the length of a shadow produced by someone or something of known height. This length should be labeled as a CD.
  1. Calculate the tree’s height using the following formula: (AB x your body height)/CD = object’s height.

In the Field Width Estimation

Let’s pretend you’re conducting some land navigation and come upon a calm river you need to cross. You know you can swim 100 yards without difficulty, but the river seems to be much larger. How can you determine the river’s breadth without getting wet or using a tape measure?

Let’s assume you find yourself in a ravine. How can you figure out how long the other side is so you can put a bridge together to cross it?

Here are two approaches for resolving these conundrums and providing a reasonable estimate of widths.

Method of Napoleon/Salute

Napoleon salute method for estimate distance length illustration.

  1. Stand as near to the river’s edge as possible.
  1. Put your chin on your chest and bow your head. Place your hand on your brow, palm down (as if saluting).
  1. Move your hand down until the front edge of it seems to touch the coastline on the other side.
  1. Turn your whole body a quarter turn left or right to “transfer” the distance to the coast you’re on. Take note of where the edge of your hand seems to touch the coastline where you are standing. Maintain a steady pace. The breadth of the river is about equal to the distance between your hand’s edge and the place where it seems to contact.

Method of Stride 

Stride method for estimating distance across river illustration.

This approach requires some geometry, but it can provide a pretty accurate estimate of a river’s width.

  1. Mark an item on the other side of the river as “A,” such as a tree or a rock.
  1. Place a stick on the opposite bank of the river from landmark A. Make a “B” on that stick.
  1. For a particular amount of steps, go down the coastline at a 90-degree angle from Point B. Let’s assume there are 50 steps. Put a stick at that spot. Make a note of it as point “C.”
  1. Continue walking for half the distance you timed before. That would be 25 paces in our scenario. Put a stick here and write “D” on it.
  1. Turn aside from the river and walk in a straight path until markers C and A meet. Put a stick here and write “E” on it.
  1. From point D to point E, walk and count your steps. The distance between D and E is 12 times the river’s width. Double that amount to get the distance across the river in steps. To determine the distance in feet, multiply the number of steps by the length of your pace.



The “field meaning in hindi” is a word that is used to describe a part of the earth where crops are grown. It can also be used to describe an area that has been plowed and prepared for planting.

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