Land Navigation and Military Map Reading
What is the Field Manual for map reading and land navigation?
What are the basic colors of a map, and what does each color represent?
• Black - Indicates cultural (man-made) features such as buildings and roads, surveyed spot elevations,
and all labels.
• Red-Brown - The colors red and brown are combined to identify cultural features, all relief features,
non-surveyed spot elevations, and elevation, such as contour lines on red-light readable maps.
• Blue - Identifies hydrography or water features such as lakes, swamps, rivers, and drainage.
• Green - Identifies vegetation with military significance, such as woods, orchards, and vineyards.
• Brown - Identifies all relief features and elevation, such as contours on older edition maps, and
cultivated land on red-light readable maps.
• Red - Classifies cultural features, such as populated areas, main roads, and boundaries, on older
• Other - Occasionally other colors may be used to show special information. These are indicated in
the marginal information as a rule.
What are military symbols?
Figures used to represent types of military organizations, installations, and activities
Where is the Legend of the map found?
Lower left margin
What are contour lines?
Imaginary lines on the ground connecting equal elevation, they represent high and low ground elevation.
What are 3 types of contour lines?
How many Mils are in one Degree?
How many Norths are there on a military map?
1. True north
2. Magnetic north
3. Grid north
What shape are the contour lines that indicate a hill?
A hill is shown on a map by contour lines forming concentric circles. The inside of the smallest closed circle
is the hilltop.
What shape are the contour lines that indicate a saddle?
A saddle is normally represented as an hourglass
What shape are the contour lines that indicate a valley?
Contour lines forming a valley are either U-shaped or V-shaped.
What shape are the contour lines that indicate a Ridge?
Contour lines forming a ridge tend to be U-shaped or V-shaped. The closed end of the contour line points
away from high ground.
What shape are the contour lines that indicate a depression?
Usually only depressions that are equal to or greater than the contour interval will be shown. On maps,
depressions are represented by closed contour lines that have tick marks pointing toward low ground.
What shape are the contour lines that indicate a draw?
The contour lines depicting a draw are U-shaped or V-shaped, pointing toward high ground.
What shape are the contour lines that indicate a spur?
Contour lines on a map depict a spur with the U or V pointing away from high ground.
What shape are the contour lines that indicate a cliff?
Cliffs are also shown by contour lines very close together and, in some instances, touching each other.
What shape are the contour lines that indicate a cut?
This contour line extends the length of the cut and has tick marks that extend from the cut line to the
roadbed, if the map scale permits this level of detail.
What shape are the contour lines that indicate a fill?
This contour line extends the length of the filled area and has tick marks that point toward lower ground. If
the map scale permits, the length of the fill tick marks are drawn to scale and extend from the base line of
the fill symbol.
What must be done to a map before it can be used?
It must be oriented.
What are 5 major terrain features found on a map?
What are the 3 minor terrain features found on a military map?
What are the 2 supplementary terrain features found on a military map?
What is a map?
A map is a graphic representation of a portion of the earth’s surface drawn to scale, as seen from above.
What is an azimuth?
A horizontal angle, measured in a clockwise manner from a north base line, expressing direction.
What is vertical distance?
The distance between the highest and lowest points measured.
What is a contour interval?
The vertical distance between adjacent contour lines on a map.
What is the distance between grid lines on a combat map?
1 kilometer or 1000 meters
How many mils are there in a circle?
6400 mils in 360 degrees
Which north is used when using a military map?
Magnetic north when using a compass, and grid north when using the map
How would you hold a lensatic compass?
Away from metal (weapons, electrical devices), level and firm
Name two ways to hold a compass?
1. Compass-to-Cheek Method
2. Center-Hold Method
Are topographic symbols drawn to scale? No
What do topographic symbols represent?
Man-made and natural features
In military symbols, what colors are used for a map overlay and what do they represent?
• Blue- Friendly forces
• Red-Enemy forces
• Black- boundaries
• Yellow-contaminated area both friendly and enemy
• Green- engineer obstacles, both friendly and enemy
What is Back Azimuth?
The opposite direction of an azimuth.
How do you figure out a back azimuth?
To obtain a back azimuth from an azimuth, add 180 degrees if the azimuth is 180 degrees or less; subtract
180 degrees if the azimuth is 180 degrees or more
What is a declination diagram?
Shows the angular relationship between the magnetic north, grid north and true north
What is the general rule for reading military grid coordinates?
Right and UP
How many sights does a compass have?
What is a benchmark?
A man-made marker showing points of elevation
What are parallels of latitude?
Measured distances going north or south of the equator
What is an aerial photograph?
An aerial photograph is any photograph taken from an airborne vehicle (aircraft, drones, balloons,
satellites, and so forth)
What does UTM stand for?
Universal Transverse Mercator
The lensatic compass has a bezel ring; each bezel ring click is equal to how many degrees?
How many times would the bezel ring click if it were fully rotated?
Large cities on a map are represented by what color?
Name two ways to orient a map?
Use a compass and terrain association
What is the Field Manual for Operational Terms and Graphics?
The arrow on a compass always points what direction?
What does the term FLOT mean?
Forward Line Of Troops
What are the alternate colors on a map and what do they mean?
Gray- alternate color for brown, Yellow- built up areas, and Pink- political boundaries
What is longitude?
Imaginary lines that run north to south originating in Greenwich, England and measured in degrees
What s a topographic map?
Portrays terrain and land forms in a measurable way as well as horizontal features of the positions
What is a small-scale map?
Those maps with scales of 1:1,000,000 and smaller are used for general planning and for strategic
studies. The standard small-scale map is 1:1,000,000. This map covers a very large land area at the
expense of detail.
What is a medium-scale map?
Those maps with scales larger than 1:1,000,000 but smaller than 1:75,000 are used for operational
planning. They contain a moderate amount of detail, but terrain analysis is best done with the large-scale
maps described below. The standard medium-scale map is 1:250,000. Medium scale maps of 1:100,000
are also frequently encountered.
What is a large-scale map?
Those maps with scales of 1:75,000 and larger are used for tactical, administrative, and logistical planning.
These are the maps that you as a soldier or junior leader are most likely to encounter. The standard large-
scale map is 1:50,000; however, many areas have been mapped at a scale of 1:25,000.
What does the term intersection mean?
Finding the location of an unknown point by sighting two or more known points
Why is a map so important?
When used correctly, a map can give you accurate distances, locations and heights, best routes key terrain
features and cover and concealment information.
What does the term resection mean?
Resection is the method of locating one’s position on a map by determining the grid azimuth to at least two
well-defined locations that can be pinpointed on the map.
If you find a symbol on a map that is unknown to you, where would you look?
The marginal data, located on the outside lower portion of the map
How many scales are there on a compass, what are they?
There are two;
What are the 4 quadrants on a map?
What are the three elements for a land navigation process known as Dead Reckoning?
1. Known starting point
2. Known distance
3. Known azimuth
What is the feature that makes the lensatic compass work well at night?
The dials and needles are luminous
What is a polar coordinate?
Plotting or locating an unknown point using an azimuth and a distance from a known starting point
What is the name of the map system that the U.S. uses?
On a lensatic compass there are two rings, an outer black ring and an inner red ring, what are
they used for?
The inner red ring is used to find degrees, and the outer black ring is used to find mils
Name 3 field expedient methods of determining direction
The shadow-tip method, the watch method, and the North Star method
What is a contour level?
It is the vertical distance between contour lines. The amount of the contour level is located in the Marginal
Information on the map.
The border line around the edge of the map is called the what?
Name the different slopes found on a map.
You must find at least how many known locations on a map and the actual ground in order to
plot your location accurately?
At least 2
What are the three main map sizes?
What are two methods of measuring an azimuth?
Compass and a protractor
How close will an eight-digit grid get you to your point?
How close will a six-digit grid coordinate get you to your point?
What would you use on a map to measure actual ground distance?
The bar scale