REMEMBER when we used to go bushwalking armed with a map and a compass?
Today, with the advent of digital navigation, through smartphone apps and GPS technology, many of us have forgotten the traditional skills needed to guide our path.
One woman determined to change all that is passionate Caro Ryan, who says one of the most fundamental skills needed for a hike or bushwalk is knowing how to navigate.
"It's up there with knowing what equipment, food, water and clothes to take and telling someone where you're going," she said.
A leader with the Sydney Bush Walkers Club and search manager with NSW SES Bush Search and Rescue, Caro says it is easy for people to overlook the downsides of digital navigation, the most obvious being battery drain or a broken phone. "This can render it useless - leaving you in the middle of nowhere... with no clue."
Caro said many intricate and complex systems are at play when it comes to using digital navigation, from what's in our hand to the satellites circling above us. "There are so many opportunities for something along the line to let us down.
"A compass is a simple device, of which little can go wrong. It doesn't need a battery, works inside a deep canyon or back country white-out, and with a bit of knowledge, can take us on the most amazing adventures... and get us out of trouble."
Caro has now written a book, How to Navigate, a straight-talking, modern approach to map reading and compass navigation, to educate people how to find their way around the bush without the help of digital aids.
The book starts with the basics of map reading and doesn't make assumptions. It's jargon-free and uses plain everyday English to describe the concepts.
Aimed at hikers, bushwalkers, trekkers, canyoners, climbers, weekend campers - anyone who ventures into the bush - it is available from wwww.lotsoffreshair.com.au for $24.95 plus shipping and handling. Multiple copies for bushwalking and other groups can be bought for $19.95 each.