Undoubtedly, you’re either reading this on a smartphone or you’ve got a smartphone in your pocket or sitting on the table or desk in front of you. Most likely, that device features a compass. In fact, the digital app version of one of the most ancient navigational tools in the world comes standard with most cell phones and other mobile devices these days.
Toss in Google Maps, Pacer, Apple Maps, MapMyWalk, Waze, and other directional apps that rely on GPS technology and you’ve got to ask yourself, “Why the heck should I bother using unwieldy paper maps and a handheld compass to explore the backcountry?”
Of course, there are plenty of good reasons to master traditional map and compass skills, the most obvious being, “Damn, I got no signal.”
Here at The National Center for Outdoor and Adventure Education (NCOAE), we include lessons in basic map and compass skills on every expedition we lead. In fact, it’s part of our “First 48” programming, which teaches students important technical skills they’ll need to know within the first two days of any NCOAE backcountry expedition.
During the Fist 48, NCOAE course participants learn the basics of a baseplate compass, as well as how to (more…)
As an accredited outdoor and adventure education provider, we here at The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE) know that people are diligently doing their homework in their search to find the best guided wilderness trips for their children or for themselves.
And topping their list of questions is this query: What makes NCOAE different from programs like Outward Bound, programs like NOLS, and even traditional summer camps? How do you make a well-informed choice between our outdoor education company’s offerings and those offered by a summer camp, tour operator, GAP semester provider, or an unaccredited outdoor adventure programming company?
Many organizations like ours seek to set themselves apart from the top two standard bearers, namely, The National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and Outward Bound (OB). Truth be told, NCOAE’s similarities to those organizations far surpass our differences. In fact, like so many other organizations, we trace our pedigree back to programs like Outward Bound and NOLS.
NOLS and OB are leaders in the field, and for very good reason. They’ve been around longer than most every other outdoor education and adventure programming organization out there. Both brands are highly recognizable and trusted, and each has trained hundreds of thousands of people — many of whom have gone on to found outdoor recreation companies of their own.
In addition, these two organizations play leading roles within the outdoor education industry, from convening the annual (more…)