Orienteering Information

The art of using a magnetic compass to navigate is known as orienteering, and this is closely linked to knowing how to read and use a topographic map.

You can learn more about this activity by going to the website of the US Orienteering Federation, and clicking “Education” on the left side navigation menu.


You just need a compass, which can be obtained at most camping goods stores.

Some cell phones or GPS receivers have a built-in compass, but that's overkill and can distract you from the task at hand. For this reason, we urge you to obtain a traditional manually-operated magnetic compass. They don't cost much, are relatively simple devices, easy to learn to use, and you will enjoy understanding how they work.

Free USGS Topographic Map

For city hikes you do not need a topographic map, but you might want to have one with you for fun and to learn topographic map skills.

The United States Geological Service produces topographic maps that can be downloaded free-of-charge. Start at http://store.usgs.gov/, click “Map Locator” in the upper left, then search for “Baton Rouge” in the search box to the right of the map. The map should zoom to Baton Rouge and show a red place marker. Click on the red place marker. This will bring up a box showing various maps that can be downloaded. You most likely want the 1995 version: a traditional PDF with the traditional USGS topographic map of Baton Rouge.

Instead of downloading and printing the map yourself, you can purchase a copy at most camping goods stores.