The drawing of Maps

An essential skill

What to draw your map on.

  • write in the rain notebook
  • oversized blank shipping label slapped on your map case (only good in fair weather)
  • easily accesisble notebook
I do not like to draw on the back of my topo map as I need to compare it to my hand drawn map frequently.  Keep your hand drawn map in an easily accessible location.  You will be needing to access it frequently.

The map is a wonderful tool before going on a task.

search map

A map can be used to plan out how you will walk your sector.

First, Draw your sector including major landmarks:

  • roads
  • trails
  • drainages
  • water features
  • man made objects
Next, measure the length of the boundaries of your sector
Record the coordinates of your boundary corners
Then, while keeping in mind how you plan to work your sector, measure the distance to each major landmark.
Finally, take the bearings of your sector boundaries and major landmarks.
Write all of these on your map and you will have everything you need at a glance.
I like to use my hand drawn map to record not only map related things, but also for task notes.

Be sure to put on your map:

  • Date
  • Search ID #
  • Team ID #
  • Full Name
  • Task #
  • Task Start time
  • The direction of North
  • Map scale
  • Task end time

While you are walking on your task here is what you should record:

  • Direction of travel (draw your exact path on the map)
  • clues (record with coordinates)
  • Dog alerts or signs of interest and the direction he was facing at the time (coordinates)
  • wind direction along your route
  • differences between what the map says and what is actually there
  • anything else you would like to tell base when you get back
You will have everything you need right in front of you as you are doing your task.  When you return to base, copy your hand drawn map on a large sheet of paper to hand in with your task.  Simply record everything you believe base will need directly from your hand drawn map.  Clean it up so everyone can understand and you will have provided an invaluable piece of information to the search.

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