Recta - More Than 100 Years of Heritage


A map is a reduced picture of the terrain. The determined proportion between the distances on the map and the corresponding distance on the ground is called a map scale. To obtain the corresponding distance in the field, the distance on the map must be multiplied by the divider of the scale.

The most common scales are 1:10 000, 1:15 000, 1:25 000 and 1:50 000. For example, the scale 1:10 000 means that 1 cm on the map corresponds to 10 000 cm = 100 m in the terrain.

The features of the terrain cannot be shown on the map exactly as they appear on the field. Therefore, “map language” is used, i.e., colours and symbols to indicate the details of the landscape on the map.

There are many types of maps produced for various purposes. A topographic map is perhaps the best choice for a person who wants to explore the outdoors and learn the use of the map and compass. The specific property of a topographic map is that it shows the shape and elevation of the terrain by brown contour lines.

Obtaining a travel direction from a map

Use the following procedure to obtain an exact travel direction towards your desired destination:

  • Place the compass on the map so that the long edge connects the starting point with the desired destination. Make sure that the direction arrow is pointing from the starting point to the destination - not the opposite way.

  • Hold the compass firmly on the map in order to keep the baseplate steady. Turn the capsule until the North-South line on the bottom of the capsule is parallel with the magnetic meridian lines on the map. Check that the “N” marks on the bottom of the capsule points to North on the map, i.e., direction marked with “N” at the top of magnetic meridian lines on the map.

  • Hold the compass in your hand in front of you. Make sure that the baseplate is in a horizontal position, and that the direction arrow is pointing straight ahead.

  • Rotate your body until the “N” marks on the bottom of the capsule lines up directly under the magnetic needle.

  • The travel direction can now be read along the direction arrow.

Contour lines

Contour lines can be thought of as a map connecting points of equal elevation. Each contour line represents one specific level of elevation. The contour interval, which is shown in the map margin, (e.g., 3 m), is the constant difference in elevation between two adjacent contour lines.

When travelling in the woods, you cannot actually see the contour of the terrain. The shapes that they form on the map and on the terrain indicate their approximate location.

Orientation of a map

To be able to read a map, you must first orient it to the direction of your travel. To do this, turn your map until the details of the map correspond with the landscape in front of you. Keep the map oriented with the landscape at all times while proceeding along your route.