Activity | Map reading
Think you know your neck of the woods? Try our five fun ways to practise map reading and discover more about your local area. These are great activities for Scouts of all ages...
1) The Degree Confluence Project
Did you know you’re never more than 49 miles away from a confluence line? This worldwide project aims to visit each of the latitude and longitude intersections in the world, and to take pictures at every one. The lines occur in the most unlikely of places and using your map-reading skills and/or digital apps you can locate the closest one to you and contribute to this amazing project. Find out more at confluence.org.
2) The coin toss
What’s the easiest way to explore your community? Simply flip a coin! Heads, you go right; tails, left. This fun trip adds an unexpected nature to your exploring and, with correct supervision, safety and provisions, can become a random but affordable way to explore parts of your community your Group has never before seen.
3) Virtual exploration
Here, Scouts use Google Earth or Google Street View to navigate through their neighbourhood. It’s also a great way to explore other communities, for instance why not encourage your Scouts to explore Japan or Brazil They can use Google Earth to wander the streets and landscapes fulfilling an adventurous set of tasks, such as ‘climb Mount Fuji’ or ‘hike along the Amazon river’!
4) QR-code treasure hunts
The familiar fun of a treasure hunt gets a gadgety makeover in this fun activity. A great way to re-familiarise your Scouts with the local community, you simply need a phone or device with a QR code generator/reader. There are heaps of free apps available online.
Once you have this, you can turn your treasure hunt clues into QR codes, print them out and distribute them along your route. Your clues don’t need to be instruction-based – they can lead to websites or videos, contain mobile numbers or picture clues.
Divide your Group into teams, making sure each team has a QR code reader and a map, and away you go! Scouts will love scanning the QR codes to access the clues concealed within and with a little creativity many badges can be completed along the way. Check out your options at members.scouts.org.uk/badges.
Scouts can navigate themselves to a stash of goodies when geocaching!
With over two million active geocaches worldwide, this is a great way to explore the world around you, both at home and away. The aim is to navigate your way to a series of geocaches (hidden containers) using GPS coordinates. Often these caches contain little treasures, to which you can help yourself, and a logbook. All you need is a GPS-enabled device or phone and a free membership to geocaching.com. Once you’re registered, you can search for nearby caches, enter the coordinates into your GPS device, and off you go.
There are a few rules: if you take something, you need to exchange it with an item of equal value, and note down your find in the logbook. Afterwards, you should log your experience on geocaching.com. It’s that simple! Now you can plot your adventure and let your Scouts lead the way.
Let us know how you get on. Post pics of your map reading adventures on our Facebook page.
Want to know more? Find out how mountaineering legend Sir Chris Bonington began his career in adventure by Scouting.