What Are Navigational Skills and Why Are They Important?

Navigation is a niche study involving the control and monitoring of the movement of vehicles, ships or boats from one place to another. It can be divided into 4 types, namely marine navigation, land navigation, air navigation and space navigation.

Navigation capabilities are techniques that determine the direction and position of a vehicle during navigation.

What are the basic navigation skills?

Navigation skills can range from simple to complex, and someone with decent navigation skills will stay safe and have fun while navigating. Here we look at some of the basic skills needed to navigate.

1. reading maps and scales

A map is a fundamental and important navigational tool, and you should read it carefully. Before you begin navigating, it is important that you learn to read the various basic elements of the map, such as valleys, ridges, rivers and roads.

Photo by Jay Hake on Unsplash.

Maps come in all shapes and sizes, so it’s worth looking for a good branded map like Harvey’s or OS Leisure’s. Both branded maps are waterproof, lightweight and easy to understand.

There are two main types of maps – 1:25,000 and 1:50,000 scale maps.

1:50,000 maps are less detailed but cover a larger area. 1:25000 maps are more detailed and ideal for navigation.

2. understand the dangers

To navigate safely, it is important to understand the hazards. It is therefore essential to acquire navigation skills to minimize risks. Weather conditions, especially in the mountains, must also be taken into account when navigating. Secondly, one must always observe and understand the danger signs used in the navigation area.

3. reading compasses

The compass is an important and fundamental navigational tool, and is important for your safety when navigating. It indicates your position at all times and informs you of important points such as east, west, north and south.

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Although GPS technology is very advanced today, it only works when satellite signals are available. Therefore, mastering a compass will help you stay safe in difficult conditions.

4. Understand how to interrupt a route.

The map gives you all the information you need. You can use the drawn contours to determine the slope and elevation of the terrain. You can also use different websites to explore the terrain and understand the landforms.

With all the information you have gathered, write it down on a piece of paper and determine a route. Each section of the route should contain detailed information and you should perform a risk assessment to ensure your safety.

5. calculated distances

Pacing is a powerful method for estimating distance, especially in poor visibility. To use pacing, first calculate the number of steps needed to cover a distance of 100 meters and then apply it while navigating.

Don’t count each step in the stride, but every other step, as this will make your calculation easier.

6. understand contours

Contours show the height and shape of the ground on a map. If you know how to interpret them, you can get a three-dimensional view of the terrain. If you follow a particular contour line, you will get the exact height of that part of the terrain above sea level.

In addition to knowing the elevation of the terrain, contour lines can be used to determine slope, type of slope, high and low terrain, etc.

7. reads key characters

Following signs or handrails when navigating is a good strategy for navigating quickly, accurately and safely. Handrails are various features on the map, such as coastlines, danger signs, fences, ditches, power lines, field edges, roads, overhead power lines, etc.

Important characters are shown on the cards if they make sense, and if they don’t make sense, they are omitted. In addition, each set of maps uses a different set of signs to represent the same thing. So you need to understand the signs or driveways before you start navigating.

Navigation by handrail requires less technical sophistication and is more accurate than a compass.

8. resection

‘Resection’ is a technique that allows you to calculate your position if you know the characteristics of the terrain. This technique takes practice and you must use a large scale map because it shows a large area.

This technique can be used when two or three land features can be identified on a map. After you have identified the terrain features, you must take a “bearing” and place it on the map to calculate your exact position on the ground.

9. download the GPS navigation application

If you are technically unable to read maps and compasses, you probably need a GPS navigation app. But it is only useful if your smartphone is always receiving GPS signals and has a charged backup battery.

Photo by Heinrich Perks on Unsplash

GPS applications not only help you determine your exact location, but also alert you to sudden weather changes or medical emergencies.

Types of navigation

Although there are several ways to navigate the sites, the most popular are the following: -.

Country Navigation

It is a form of navigation used primarily by mariners who use various benchmarks, such as ship stability, anchorages, ship speed, fuel consumption and tides. It is quite different from astronomical navigation, where navigation is based on the position of celestial bodies.

Navigation in the forest

Navigating in the woods can be scary, and there’s a good chance you’ll get lost in the woods. But with good navigation skills and mental training, it is possible to find your way through the forest.

Sailing in the desert

Navigation in the desert is quite difficult, as the sights and sand dunes of this region quickly disappear. But thanks to navigation technology, it is easy to navigate in the desert.

Navigating on the water

Shipping is the oldest method of moving people and goods from one place to another using boats and ships. Rivers, seas and oceans are the central bodies of water used for this form of shipping.

Mountainous terrain

Navigating in mountainous terrain is very difficult and dangerous because the weather in this terrain changes very quickly. However, with good navigation skills, you can easily find your way around.

Sailing at night

Although daytime sailing should be your priority, unforeseen circumstances may require you to sail at night. Sailing at night can be fun if you have a good headlamp and compass.

Navigate by day

Daytime sailing should be your priority, as visibility is better and the risk of getting stuck in extreme weather conditions is minimal.

Why is navigation training important?

Good navigation skills are essential for survival and finding your way in difficult outdoor conditions. However, there are powerful technological gadgets whose internet is not available or whose batteries are dead. Navigation skills can help you in the following ways.


Finding your way around any terrain is the most important aspect of learning navigation skills. The skills you need can also come in handy while hiking. The more you practice your skills, the better and faster you will find your way.

The proper use of map and compass is a basic requirement for finding your way when navigating. Once you have become familiar with these two basic tools, you can move on to more advanced methods that will help you in very technical terrain.


Safety is a basic need of all living things, so it is helpful to recognize escape routes if you have navigational knowledge. You can also quickly find or avoid obstacles and hazards such as mines, swamps and rocks if you know how to navigate.

To choose the best route

Using the compass and map, you can easily check the advantages and disadvantages of the different route options and choose the best one. You can easily decide whether to take the direct route or the detour to visit a certain place.

Understanding the landscape

A person with excellent navigation skills has an excellent knowledge of the landscape. Reading maps stimulates visual memory and visual processing skills, but it is also possible to easily identify the type of terrain, the name or lake, the river and city, the layout of paths and roads, etc.


If you have navigation skills, this will likely help you in your personal development. People with exceptional navigation skills have a better technical mindset. It also makes you a more creative and entrepreneurial person.

Reading maps, using a compass and other navigational aids will improve your visualization and imagination.

Last words.

Here we have discussed the navigation skills required and their importance. We have also tried to give you some knowledge about the different types of navigation. With this information, we are confident that you will understand the basic idea of navigation and that it will be useful in planning a camping trip.

Frequently asked questions

What are navigation skills?

1 the skill or process of planning a route and directing a ship, aircraft, etc. along that route. 2 the act or practice of navigation. Dredging made it possible to navigate a river. 3 (United States) rare navigation; navigation.

How do I learn to sail?

5 ways to improve your navigation skills – MBR

What is basic navigation?

Navigation is a field of study concerned with the process of tracking and controlling the movement of a vessel or vehicle from one place to another. The field of navigation includes four general categories: land navigation, ship navigation, air navigation, and space navigation.