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An Animated Guide to Nature’s Best Wayfinding Secrets

 
gardener
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I recently came upon this little article about wayfinding with clever little animations. Stuff probably a lot of people know, but I learned a few things — I had no idea the moon crescent could show you South!

 
master steward
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My favorite example of Wayfinding is not used by nature.  It is that used by architecture, best seen in hospitals where they use a different color floor tile to lead to different parts of the hospital,  Kinda like following the yellow brick road.

What are ways others are using wayfinding other than maps, compass and gps?
 
master steward
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I'm constantly amazed by the number of people who don't remember that the sun rises in the East, sets in the West and is South at mid day (in the Northern Hemisphere).  Granted the sun rises more Northeasterly in summer and Southeasterly in the winter but you get the drift.

Same is true of the moon regarding the direction of rising/setting/etc.

 
pollinator
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Mike Jay wrote:I'm constantly amazed by the number of people who don't remember that the sun rises in the East, sets in the West and is South at mid day (in the Northern Hemisphere).  Granted the sun rises more Northeasterly in summer and Southeasterly in the winter but you get the drift.

Same is true of the moon regarding the direction of rising/setting/etc.



Yes that is true too, but my first thought is that north is already some steps removed from nature in the same way as a map is. I happen to love maps and consult a map even if someone has given me directions for a first trip. but after a first trip I don't use them again. I look for landmarks. It does not matter which direction a stream goes so long as one is aware the place they are seeking is up or down. A certain shape of mountain or tall tree could be any direction from me so long as I know where the place I want to get to is from there. So there are more than one kind of wayfinding.

  • Finding a known place for the first time.
  • finding a known place subsequent times.
  • Finding a kind of place by looking at nature.
  • Finding your way back from the above place.


  • I think most of us have learned about the first and second, The third Is useful for hunting, fishing or gathering and the forth is about remembering how one got where they are and probably the hardest. Maybe there are more kinds of wayfinding.
     
    pollinator
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    I don't know if maybe I was born with a natural ability to find a way. Or maybe from a very young age I got this from my parents, so it feels like some natural part of me. Sometimes I wonder if people can have that 'feeling' for the Earth magnetic fields, like birds have. Anyway: for me it's impossible to get lost. I tried several times, in the forest and in unknown towns. But I always know which way to go. I consider it 'a gift'.

    I like 'reading maps' too. When seeing a map I have an image in my mind of how it looks there (when it's a good map). The first image, before I really visited that place, is vague. But afterwards, watching the map is like watching photographs or a film of the place I visited.

    I have friends who are the opposite. They can visit a place many times and still every time they don't know how to get there, turn the wrong direction, or have to use their car navigation system again. Maybe that navigation system is the problem. People get used to it, to listen to a voice telling them how to go, they forget to use their own brains. And I am not a car driver (no driver's licence), I am used to find my way myself.
     
    Posts: 131
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    I too have a gift for direction, I can walk into a forest or a mall and maintain north within 10 or so degrees. My first day in Berlin we took a subway and got out and I found my place on a map, we walked for several hours and my buddy got worried we should head back. We were less than 2 blocks away, I just figured he knew were were heading back to the hostel.

    Time works in a similar way for me if I can keep track of the light, I'm usually within 10 minutes without a watch or cellphone (2 years free of a phone!)
     
    Posts: 16
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    I have an incredible internal compass.  My sister tests me by driving to strange places and tells me to find my way home....hmmm...maybe an ulterior motive in there??  One time, lost in Minneapolis, I found our way back to our hotel, in the dark and no map.  She still tells people that story, I call it "Driving by feel".
    I am from the True North and have navigated by stars, moon and good old compass.  All three helped me hone my sense of direction.  Neither of my children inherited this trait, so I think it is probably a skill to learn, although most of my family is "directionally challenged".
     
    Rick Howd
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    I don't think it's something you can teach. I was in SAR for 10 years and taught GPS, map and compass along with many other skills. Orientation was tough, maybe 1/10 of the people took to instinctively, maybe 50% were very comfortable with their learned skills and the rest just nod and  really shouldn't leave camp without a buddy.

    Direction sense is different tho, I can point out what I see and even talk about how it effects me but my wife and kids don't get it, I've tried multiple times. They ask me what time it is when they have watches or cell phones, then check their devices and just shake their heads when I'm a few minutes off.
     
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