This weekend I taught another Map & Compass class to 8 wonderful guys of incredibly varied ages. M&C is probably my favorite non kayaking topic to teach. In conversation with one of the students - a student that I happen to know outside of the class - I realized I have done a bunch of nav related topics here, and I thought I should put them in one place.
The most recent of course is The Declination Cheat which was just a few weeks ago. Before that there was a post about Declination. This is the section where people generally make the mistake that gets them lost.
There is of course, plotting a bearing on a chart, which in a kayak is one of the most common nav exercises used. Doing a crossing? Your plotting a bearing. Following a coast? Plot a bearing. Measuring a distance? Plot a bearing, and measure it. Remember though if you are plotting a bearing on a chart and following it in the real world, you have to account for declination. Unless of course you use the declination cheat mentioned above.
I think the most important skill is Orienting your map to your surroundings. Get it oriented and keep it oriented, tracking the world around you, and seeing how it lines up with the world on your map is the best way to not get lost.
People always ask me at the end of class "what is a good book that has these skills" and invariably I tell them the NOLS Wilderness Navigation is the way to go. Another book you must read is Deep Survival: Who Lives Who Dies and Why. Awesome read about the psychology of survival.
Is there something you want me to cover that is related to navigation? Let me know!