Old versus New: Land Navigation course pilot

May 20, 2014

Land Navigation with a compass

"In 320 feet, turn left onto Airport road. Your destination will be directly ahead."

Imagine the familiar sound of a GPS navigation system's voice in your car or phone guiding you to the New York State Preparedness Training Center for a course to enhance your response capabilities in your field of choice. Without much thought you plugged in the address, 5900 Airport Road, and city; Oriskany, NY, into the navigation software.

What if it didn't work and you had to travel there without technology?

Suddenly you become aware of how dependent we are on technology for even simple navigation. This is a very real consideration for first responders, law enforcement, EMS, support personnel, as well as civilians. The navigation systems and apps on our phones and handheld devices rely upon a signal from a GPS satellite, and sometimes an active cell or data signal, to accurately place and direct us to our desired destination. If for some reason that signal is unavailable, or unreliable, could you navigate your way to that destination using analog methods including map reading, compass and route planning, and pace count skills?

If your answer is "no," then consider attending the upcoming Pilot of the Land Navigation course developed by the National Center for Security & Preparedness (NCSP) in support of the State Preparedness Training Center (SPTC). The Land Navigation course provides first responders with basic land navigation and survival skill-sets for use in operating in rural and wilderness terrain.

Land Navigation checks all the boxes: fundamental map reading concepts, proper utilization of a compass, precise route planning techniques, correct use of intersection and resection methods, and essential survival skills in rural or wooded terrain such as: creating improvised fires and shelters, water filtration, and analyzing and following tracks. These concepts are vital for all members of the first responder community if they are ever lost or in a situation that requires a level of response or rescue in wilderness or rural terrain.

Through a combination of classroom discussions, field instruction, and skill lanes, students will be able to successfully navigate an approximately five-mile course that will require them to apply the skills learned from the classroom modules and instructor-led discussions. The skills course was designed by Subject Matter Experts to fully utilize the facilities, terrain and features, and geographic size of the State Preparedness Training Center.

To register for the upcoming June 3 - 4, 2014 pilot of Land Navigation, please contact the SPTC at or (315)-768-5689.