Aiming-off is a compass related navigational technique that can reduce your error rate when walking in poor visibility



Aiming-off is a navigational technique used in poor visibility, that gives you a better chance of reaching your destination, when that destination is situated on a line feature.

When you walk on a bearing, even when using best practice (sight on rocks etc, rather than trying to hold a compass and walk on a bearing), there is a reasonable change that you will deviate slightly from your intended course. This situation is particularly true over a greater distance, or if you forgot to add magnetic variation (or added an incorrect value) to your map calculated bearing. When you arrive at your line feature – in poor visibility – there is the possibility that you won’t know whether you need to turn left or right to reach the specific part of line feature for which you were aiming, a bridge over a stream maybe.

Remember, if you don't add magnetic variation you will arrive off course. For every 1km you will be 35m out (base on broad value of 2° magnetic variation).

The solution is quite simple. Rather than take a bearing from your map directly to the feature that you want to get to, you intentionally aim to the left of right of that feature. Once you reach the line feature, you will know which direction to walk to reach your true intended destination. Simple!


Aiming-Off Technique