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Knowing your pace - Mapping skills

How to use pace count to measure ground distance.

A pace is equal to one natural step, about 75cm long but obviously changes considerably from person to person, whether you are a man or women, short of tall.

One way to measure ground distance is the 'pace count'. To accurately use the pace count method, you must know how many paces it takes you to walk 100 meters. To determine this, you must walk an accurately measured course and count the number of paces you take. It might be worth doing this a few times to check your consistency. The pace course must be on similar terrain to that you will be walking over when you are making your map. It does no good to walk a course on flat terrain and then try to use that pace count on hilly ground.

Certain conditions affect your pace count in the field and you must allow for them by making adjustments.

(a) Slopes.

Your pace lengthens on a downslope and shortens on an upgrade. Keeping this in mind, if it normally takes you 120 paces to walk 100 meters, your pace count may increase to 130 or more when walking up a slope.

(b) Winds.

A head wind shortens the pace and a tail wind increases it.

(c) Surfaces.

Sand, gravel, mud, How to use pace count to measure ground distance.

(d) Elements.

Falling snow, rain, or ice cause the pace to be reduced in length.

(e) Clothing.

Excess clothing and boots with poor traction affect the pace length.

Having this skill under your belt can be a useful skill when creating your map in the field.

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