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How to create a makeshift compass

By Michael Borg, 11 Sep 2016 Gear

How to create a makeshift compass

Which way to go when technology fails?

WITH smartphones and sat-nav systems guiding us to our destinations, there’s not a lot of need to plot one’s journey by hand anymore.

But what happens when technology fails and you’re stuck in the bush?

Well, you could make a bush compass, and all you need to do that is a cup of water (even a puddle of still water will do), an intact leaf, and a small strip of steel, like a piece of wire or a needle.

You will also need a magnet to magnetise the steel. So if you’ve still got access to a vehicle you’re in luck, as an audio speaker has a magnet at the back.

To magnetise the steel you’ll need to glide it backwards and forwards over the magnet several times.

Place the leaf in the water and the steel on top so it still floats, and watch as the needle pulls the leaf around to find north – if you’ve done it correctly.

The next step is to determine which side of the needle is pointing north. Australia is in the southern hemisphere, so the shadows cast by the sun will always be pointing towards the south.

Once you have figured out due north, you will able to navigate your way to safety… if you know which direction that’s in.

That’s why it’s always important to carry paper maps as a back-up to a sat-nav system. You might never need it, but when you do, it could be a life-saver.