Be Expert with Map and Compass: The Complete Orienteering Handbook

Be expert with map and compass has been in print for over fifty years and remains one of the leading guides to land navigation and orienteering. In easy-to-follow sections, the book explains how to reliably navigate using a compass, read and interpret a topographic map, set waypoints and bearings for extended hikes, give map instructions in a standardized format so others can follow your route, and much more. Each section is accompanied by practical exercises well suited to use by a family or a group of more or less experienced sailors. The last third of the book is dedicated to explaining the sport of orienteering, which seems like a fun combination of cross-country running and treasure hunting.

I was born tragically without a sense of direction, as this book was a revelation to me. Also – in surprising synchronicity – the training topographic map included on the back was from an area I had traveled only days before finding this title at a library sale!

I read the 1994 edition for this review, but the book was revised in 2009 with updated GPS information and web resources. If you just want the skills the title promises, first editions can be had for a few bucks (and you can save the rest to buy a compass).

–William Smith of Hangfire Books

Be Expert with Map and Compass: The Complete Orienteering Handbook

by Björn Kjellström


2009, 256 pages, 8.2 x 9.9 x 1.5 inches

$13 Buy a copy on Amazon

Dino J. Dotson