Map Making after SHTF

Posted: November 8, 2011 in Survival, Thoughts

Finding north is useful, but map making is actually more useful. especially in the long term,

-decide the area you wish to map,
-choose a useful scale,
-Draw a grid with the scale on the paper you want to make a map out of i.e 1 block is 100m
-Now decide on where you want to create the map from
-Find 2 points that are the same distance as the grid scale (100m in this case) apart.
-or if you can find them 100 m apart Draw 2 dots on the map that you know the distance between in real life – i e 2 trees that are 50 m apart and make sure they are 50 m in scale apart on your map.

-now walk to the one tree/point and lay the map down with a reference point to the other tree/point, pointing to that tree.
-For each thing you would like on the map draw a light construction line to each land mark sighting across the map and keeping the ref point pointing at the other tree.
-now walk to the other tree and use the other tree as a reference – and draw the lines again – this time from the other tree’s point — where the lines intersect is where the land mark point should be on the map in the scale you chose.

-if you want you can add a north pointer if you know how to find it – use the sun as a reference.

If you don’t know where you are and would like to keep track of where you go a map is useful to construct as you go to explain to others where you have been.

I know you can get pretty good maps even on line but what if you don’t have a map (which is often the case in Africa) use the above technique

Learning a new skill couldn’t hurt you give it a try you might actually find drawing remote objects to scale might be something useful you can use the same techniques when laying out fortifications.

Also remember that current maps are only useful with landmarks that are clear, which may not be the case if the buildings in an area are destroyed and the landmarks are gone, as well as, street names.

When trying to re-establish a society in any form, a map of your new surroundings would be a useful thing when planing defenses or sending out scavenger teams. so that everyone knows where they are and how to get back and to tell others where to go and plot where dangerous area’s are.

when planning fortifications, in my military career, it was even considered prudent to build a small model … using sand bags for the border and string to represent grid lines . we used colored powder paint mixed with sand to make hills and other land marks and mark enemy positions and firing lines .. ETC … was actually very useful for planning defenses … laying out firing plans and killing lanes/zones … and to document mines and traps.

You can also use a custom map for secured coms between radio operators using code names established and marked on maps for grid references… if you have the same maps with the same grid codes … then you can talk on unsecured channels more securely

Quoted from

A sketch is a free-hand drawing of a map or picture of an area or route of travel. It shows enough detail and has enough accuracy to satisfy special tactical or administrative requirements.

Sketches are useful when maps are not available or the existing maps are not adequate, or to illustrate a reconnaissance or patrol report. Sketches may vary from hasty to complete and detailed, depending upon their purpose and the degree of accuracy required. For example, a sketch of a large minefield will require more accuracy than a hasty sketch of a small unit’s defensive position.

The scale of a sketch is determined by the object in view and the amount of detail required to be shown. The sketch of a defensive position for a platoon or company normally calls for a sketch of larger scale than a sketch for the same purpose for a division. Military sketches also include road and area sketches.

a. Field Sketches. A field sketch (Figure A-1) must show the north arrow, scale, legend, and the following features:

Power lines.


Main roads.

Towns and villages.


Rail lines.

Major terrain features.

b. Road Sketches. These sketches show the natural and military features on and in the immediate vicinity of the road. In general, the width of terrain sketches will not exceed 365 meters on each side of the road. Road sketches may be used to illustrate a road when the existing map does not show sufficient detail.

c. Area Sketches. These sketches include those of positions, OPs, or particular places.

(1) Position Sketch. A position sketch is one of a military position, campsite, or other area of ground. To effectively complete a position sketch, the sketcher must have access to all parts of the area being sketched.

(2) Observation Post Sketch. An OP sketch shows the military features of ground along a friendly OP line as far toward the enemy position as possible.

(3) Place Sketch. A place sketch is one of an area made by a sketcher from a single point of observation. Such a sketch may cover ground in front of an OP line, or it may serve to extend a position or road sketch toward the enemy.


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