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Mapping Tools, Part 3: The Astrolabe

My next two tools have to do with measurement! When you do official land measurement, it’s important to use pre-measured chains or ropes that you can lay down evenly. For informal mapping though, it’s easy enough to either use a pre-measured length of rope OR… The power of feet! I actually measured my gait by walking …

Mapping Tools, Part 2: The Compass

On my mapping adventure, the compass is the real star of the surveying show! With a compass you can: – Find horizontal angles (super important) – Calculate which direction you’re facing – With an extra-fancy compass, you can also measure vertical angles accurately, so you can find elevations (the height of a feature) or even …

Mapping Tools, Part 1: The Notebook

I wanted to start this series with the single-most important tool for surveying an area and making a map. My first thought was the compass, but on second thought, the most important tool of all is… well, the most “boring:” The notebook. Especially important in the early days of mapping, the log book contained all …

What Do I Need? – Mapping Adventures

Beginning my quest to map a local nature reserve with pre-1500s mapping tools (learn more here), the first hurdle is figuring out exactly what I need. The first step is to figure out how areas were mapped in the 15th century. Really, you just pick a starting point, measure the angle and distance to another …