Advanced Land Navigation

This training is designed for those who want to take their understanding of land navigation to the next level.

Our Advanced Land Navigation course is designed for those who already possess a solid understanding of the fundamentals of using a map and compass and want to take their skills and abilities to the next level in an intellectually and physically challenging format.  Your training will begin immediately with a series of checkpoints to assess your abilities so that we can then continue to work to fine tune your skills.  You’ll learn to use tools as pace-counting, hand-rails, backstops, and aiming off; you’ll learn to use coordinate systems (with an emphasis on UTM) and triangulation; and you’ll gain a better understanding of  navigation psychology.   More importantly, you will apply and practice what you’ve learned while navigating over a variety of terrain types to a variety of challenging destinations.  When you are finished you will be able to plot and follow courses over different types of terrain, communicate your position, and develop a foundation for navigation by terrain association.

This course is geared towards participants of all skill levels and backgrounds, so no particular outdoor experience, prerequisites, or athletic ability is necessary, but we require that you already possess a solid understanding of navigation basics.  You must already know how to read a map and use a compass; you must already know how to determine a bearing from one location to another; and you must already know how to dead-reckon there without assistance at a reasonable pace.  Please check out the “Level of Physical Difficulty” description down below for this course so that you and the rest of the group can get the most out of the it.

Here is an overview of the program:

  • Start / End Times: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Fee: $150 per person
  • Location: Hartwood Acres County Park (roughly 15 miles north of Downtown Pittsburgh).
  • Maximum Group Size: 6
  • Minimum Group Size: The course requires a minimum of four persons to run this training.  If we are unable to meet this size, True North will fully refund your payment with as much advance notice as possible.
  • Minimum Age: Children 15-17 years old are welcome when accompanied by a parent or guardian.  In our private courses, there is no set age requirement as it depends on the specific group’s needs and goals.
  • Description of the Level of Physical Difficulty – Moderate:  This course involves hiking with laden backpacks, walking, and other activities over varying distances at a steady pace over varying terrain that will include off-trail sections, rough spots, unexpected obstacles, and low to steep inclines and declines.  This course is conducted in varying weather conditions, including hot, cold, humid, rain,  wind, and snow, or a mixed combination.  This course is best suited for those in good physical condition.
  • Required Minimum Skill Level – Prior Land Navigation Training & Recent, Ongoing Practice:  This course presumes that you already possess a solid understanding of using a map and compass.  You should possess such minimum skills as finding your location on a topographic map, setting an appropriate bearing between two points, determine the distance between them, then be able to dead-reckon to your objective at a reasonable pace that allows the instructor to maintain the pace of the course for the entire group.  So, while your instructor will happily refresh certain skills in an effort to fine tune your ability, this course is NOT intended to be a dedicated “refresher course.”  In as much, if it’s been six (6) months or more since you last used a map and compass, or your navigation experience is limited to hiking trails, we strongly encourage you transfer to our Basic Land Navigation course.  If you wish to discuss if this course is the right one for you, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Check Out these Answers to Commonly Asked Questions:

What happens when I register?   One of our instructors will personally follow up with you regarding your contact information, basic medical information (for safety purposes), and our waiver.  Then we will send you a detailed course information sheet which will contain all of the applicable details, like required and recommended gear, exact gathering point, general driving directions.  For an overview of the gear list now, check it out further down.

Can I register for your Basic Land Navigation and Advanced Land Navigation courses in the same weekend?  Yes, but we do not recommend it, especially if Basic Land Navigation is your first exposure to using a map and compass.  Rather, we generally recommend that you get in some good practice time before then taking Advanced Land Navigation so that you get the most out of it and not slow down the class for the rest of the group.

Do you run this course for private groups?  Yes, just contact us for information and details.

Are bathroom facilities available?  Bathroom facilities are available at this location.

What about the Coronavirus?  True North continues to follow all Center for Disease Control and Pennsylvania Department of Health guidelines to minimize transmission of COVID.  We recommend that you bring a face-covering to wear for those brief handful of times when you cannot socially distance.

What kind of gear do I need to bring?  True North will provide all of the needed training supplies, including maps and compasses.

AWN Equipment

Course equipment list – Click to enlarge.

If you would like a better sense of what additional gear that you need to bring on the course, or optional gear to consider, then check out the equipment list that will be included with the course information sheet (just “click” on the image to enlarge) when you register.

However, since one of our course goals is to teach you about various gear, plus offer you a chance to “test drive” it before you buy it, if you don’t have an item, don’t necessarily feel compelled to buy it right away … especially if it’s expensive.  Instead, contact us to see if we can loan you an item or make a recommendation for purchase.