Day 2: Learning to Map with a Compass

Students mapping in front of the EERC on Michigan Tech’s campus.

Today was mostly spent on campus learning about and practicing the art of making a map.

First a quiz was given, and although the scores were pretty good we still need some work getting the basics of early Cliff and Keweenaw history down. Luckily we have a few weeks to prepare for public tours.

After the quiz, mapping was discussed and then the students went out in front of the EERC (Electrical Engineering Building) and mapped the sidewalks, building edges, and green spaces. They took to the work and the reasons why we do it pretty quickly. The idea was to use a compass and tape measure to accurately draw a bird’s-eye view of the area in front of the EERC. Using one or more datums (measuring/control points), they took multiple measurements, recorded the angle off north those measurements were made, and then noted it in their field notebooks along with a working sketch.

Back in the  classroom they then transferred those measurements and angle readings onto graph paper. For the most part, the drawings worked out pretty nicely. Tomorrow we’ll try to replicate that success in the field, where trees, slopes, and poor sight lines make measuring a tad more difficult.

One of the team’s finished plan map. The circle in the center was a problem for everyone. They all thought it was sitting equidistant from the left and right half-circles. Turns out it WAS placed off-center.


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About Sean Gohman

Currently a PhD Degree seeking student in the Michigan Tech University's Industrial Heritage and Archaeology program.

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