1 August, 1997

Nevins Journal 08/01/97

We spent today trying to get the online contacts with glacier working and then setting up some maps that show the polar region and our study area in Alaska. There is not much to report concerning that process but when you read this it means that I got through. We are still working on contact with my e mail server.

Part of the afternoon I went out with a G.P.S. system and tried to run a course with the system. It is not quite as easy as it is billed. I think I figured out what has been going wrong so far though and I'll try the correction tomorrow. If I had to rely on it now though it would be a good way to get lost. Think about what it would be like to navigate with a compass and clock for your main tools.

Question: How much would you miss your destination by in a 100 km trip if you made a 1 degree error in your compass direction ?

Contrary to what many people think, a magnetic compass does not point north. It points to where the North magnetic pole is located. This is the same as true north only along the agonic line and in all other places the compass points East or West of true North. The agonic line goes through Wisconsin near my home but I still have a 1.5 degree east error. The angle East or West of true North is called the magnetic declination. This angle is given on some U.S.G.S. Maps so that users can navigate from the map. Here in Albany the declination is about 13 degrees west and when we get to Alaska the declination will be near 25 degrees East. Better quality compasses have an adjustment on the face so that you can set a correction into the compass dial. On the Silva Ranger compass that we used today, that adjustment is a small screw that turns the dial face in an East or West angle separate from the scale on the outer edge of the compass.

Tomorrow we plan to visit another of Mike's sites about 3 hours from here. More tomorrow.

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