Using your watch as a compass

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
Cowsham
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Re: Using your watch as a compass

Postby Cowsham » 1 Aug 2020, 7:29am

Don't forget that a dog can smell better than you can see.

Jdsk
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Re: Using your watch as a compass

Postby Jdsk » 1 Aug 2020, 8:27am

Dog navigation is seriously understudied.

But exactly what's going on in the interactions between dogs and "owners" is very very complex. And it's always worth rereading the story of Clever Hans. And then once more.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clever_Hans

And I do see quite a lot of lost animal posters.

Jonathan

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Mick F
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Re: Using your watch as a compass

Postby Mick F » 1 Aug 2020, 8:51am

This is a news story locally here.

Dog following the scent of a deer falls off the cliffs near Chimney Rock and is wedged between the rock face and a tree. The poor doggie could be heard across the valley, but until the terrier found it, no-one was certain where she was.

It took three days before she was found, and it was only found by a terrier who refused to move from the spot above.

Rescued by friends of ours in Devon Cave Rescue.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-53593568
Mick F. Cornwall

Mike_Ayling
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Re: Using your watch as a compass

Postby Mike_Ayling » 1 Aug 2020, 8:52am

My Garmin Etrex 30 has a compass function but I have never tried to use it

Mike

Carlton green
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Re: Using your watch as a compass

Postby Carlton green » 1 Aug 2020, 9:00am

Cowsham wrote:Don't forget that a dog can smell better than you can see.


I did wonder about that, him picking up a sent from where we had already been. However on the outward leg I let him roam in front and he picked suitable trails that ended up in an area we had a little familiarity with.

Jdsk wrote:Dog navigation is seriously understudied.

But exactly what's going on in the interactions between dogs and "owners" is very very complex. And it's always worth rereading the story of Clever Hans. And then once more.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clever_Hans

And I do see quite a lot of lost animal posters.

Jonathan


Yep, I think that there ends up being some interaction between human and animal, but the whole thing is very complex and a relationship evolves over time. In the case of JRT’s there’s quite a large element of independence (I shall do as I please) thought ...

To an extent all animals are different and some might have had either their natural abilities suppressed or never had opportunity to develop them. My JRT had a habit of sneaking off for a couple of hours before bringing himself home. A farming friend had a Collie who’d roam for miles away from home (I live in a rural area) and always returned for his bed, food and farm duties.
Last edited by Carlton green on 1 Aug 2020, 9:06am, edited 1 time in total.

simonhill
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Re: Using your watch as a compass

Postby simonhill » 1 Aug 2020, 9:06am

To answer the original question, I think of it like a sundial.

Hold watch horizontal in sunlight.
Place vertical stick or pencil in centre of watch face.
The stick will cast a shadow.
Rotate watch till shadow is along the hour hand (note in GMT).
Top of watch (12) points North.
Only rough direction due to migration of sun's position winter to summer. It works the same in southern hemisphere and in the tropics, but difficult when sun directly overhead.

Not sure why the OP thinks the sun goes round a different way in the southern hemisphere.

ChrisF
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Re: Using your watch as a compass

Postby ChrisF » 1 Aug 2020, 9:08am

A few years ago (before smartphones and Garmins) a group of friends and I cycled Roscoff-Santander. Since I had planned the route (it wasn't the straightforward one down the coast) I was also deemed chief navigator. When in a French town it was often difficult to decide which was the correct road out, partly because signposts led to main road routes and partly because French towns only seemed to mention destinations in the same department.
Anyway I was usually successful and my cycling mates got to rely on my ability to choose, based on looking at the sun and knowing what time it was - until a few days from the end of the trip, when it got cloudy. They clubbed together and bought me a compass. I still have it, but don't think I've used it since!
Chris F, Cornwall

Jdsk
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Re: Using your watch as a compass

Postby Jdsk » 1 Aug 2020, 9:24am

simonhill wrote:Hold watch horizontal in sunlight.
Place vertical stick or pencil in centre of watch face.
The stick will cast a shadow.
Rotate watch till shadow is along the hour hand (note in GMT).
Top of watch (12) points North.
Only rough direction due to migration of sun's position winter to summer. It works the same in southern hemisphere and in the tropics, but difficult when sun directly overhead.

Any reason for preferring that to the pencil-free method?

Thanks

Jonathan

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Mick F
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Re: Using your watch as a compass

Postby Mick F » 1 Aug 2020, 9:26am

simonhill wrote:Not sure why the OP thinks the sun goes round a different way in the southern hemisphere.
I effect, it does.

Sun rises in the east and sets in the west, but in the northern hemisphere it goes via the south.
Say it's noon-ish, and you look towards the sun and it has risen to your left and will set to your right.

In the southern hemisphere and you look towards the sun at noon-ish, the sun would have risen on your right and will set on your left .............. meaning it goes in the opposite direction.

On the same subject, the moon is upside down as you see it in the southern hemisphere.
Northern.png
Southern.png
Mick F. Cornwall

Cowsham
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Re: Using your watch as a compass

Postby Cowsham » 1 Aug 2020, 9:33am

ChrisF wrote:A few years ago (before smartphones and Garmins) a group of friends and I cycled Roscoff-Santander. Since I had planned the route (it wasn't the straightforward one down the coast) I was also deemed chief navigator. When in a French town it was often difficult to decide which was the correct road out, partly because signposts led to main road routes and partly because French towns only seemed to mention destinations in the same department.
Anyway I was usually successful and my cycling mates got to rely on my ability to choose, based on looking at the sun and knowing what time it was - until a few days from the end of the trip, when it got cloudy. They clubbed together and bought me a compass. I still have it, but don't think I've used it since!


Are you Mick's young boy or bother?

Cowsham
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Re: Using your watch as a compass

Postby Cowsham » 1 Aug 2020, 9:36am

Carlton green wrote:
Cowsham wrote:Don't forget that a dog can smell better than you can see.


I did wonder about that, him picking up a sent from where we had already been. However on the outward leg I let him roam in front and he picked suitable trails that ended up in an area we had a little familiarity with.


To us it's probably like having long distance xray vision. A superpower a doge takes for granted.

simonhill
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Re: Using your watch as a compass

Postby simonhill » 1 Aug 2020, 9:38am

Jdsk wrote:
simonhill wrote:Hold watch horizontal in sunlight.
Place vertical stick or pencil in centre of watch face.
The stick will cast a shadow.
Rotate watch till shadow is along the hour hand (note in GMT).
Top of watch (12) points North.
Only rough direction due to migration of sun's position winter to summer. It works the same in southern hemisphere and in the tropics, but difficult when sun directly overhead.

Any reason for preferring that to the pencil-free method?

Thanks

Jonathan


It was because I didn't understand your explanation and sundials are fairly commonly understood.

Jdsk
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Re: Using your watch as a compass

Postby Jdsk » 1 Aug 2020, 9:42am

Thanks.

The bisecting the angle to noon method includes an inaccuracy because the plane of alignment isn't quite right, but it's very useful and much less fiddle. And, as above, you don't need an actual watch.

How about trying it?

Jonathan

simonhill
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Re: Using your watch as a compass

Postby simonhill » 1 Aug 2020, 10:28am

I'll give it a go, but don't usually use my analogue watch when cycling. Prefer my cheapo Casio. In the sundial method, you can use a finger instead of stick, but the shadow isless clear.

I happily use sun as a general direction guide. Nonetheless, I carry a compass when touring, but often find it most useful in urban areas when on foot. Exiting metro stations can be a problem if there are multiple exits. I first got into the urban compass in the big souk in Marrakech. Using a basic map and compass I managed to wander freely and then exit without the need for a guide.

Of course a smartphone and GPS has rendered much of this obsolete, but still useful to know.

As I do much of my cycling in the tropics, I am conscious of how the sun can be to the south, or the north, or overhead at the same place at a different time of year, but have never thought of it going a different way. East to West rather than clock or anti.

thirdcrank
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Re: Using your watch as a compass

Postby thirdcrank » 1 Aug 2020, 10:39am

Evolution has meant that different species have all sorts of capabilities but I'm at a loss to see what relevance dogs' sense of smell has to do with what I suppose is termed orientation. (Thinks: why orientation? Why not a word like borealisation? )

The navigation capabilities of migrating birds, marine mammals and fish seem more relevant here.