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Knowing Your Location

Table of Contents
7.0 Knowing Your Location
7.1 Risks and Hazards
7.2 Topographic Maps and Map Grids
7.3 Air Photographs and Satellite Images
7.4 Compasses
7.5 Global Positioning Systems (GPS)
7.6 Emergency Locator Devices (ELTs, PLBs)
7.7 Batteries 
7.8 Resources

Introduction

Every employee who traverses or works in the field away from the immediate project site should know how to use a compass and develop good topographic map reading skills to help navigate and keep track of their location. Reliance on global positioning system (GPS) technology should not be the only method used to determine location, as GPS instruments can fail electronically and because the batteries they require can go flat. 

In addition to knowing your location, it is very important to follow safety guidelines before heading out to work each day. 

1. Tracking system: There should be a tracking system in place to record planned travel routes and off site work locations on a centrally located map. Record all routes, whether they are traverses on foot or trips using vehicles, snowmobiles, ATVs, aircraft, or boats. Indicate the destination, planned route, drop off point, pick up point, estimated time of arrival and return, etc. Leave grid coordinates whenever possible. See Safe Traversing Practices

2. Check in system: There should be a communication system in place to keep in contact with employees. Field employees should check in at prearranged time intervals and notify the appropriate person whenever they change plans. Check in schedules should include all employees who work off site, including those who work from a hotel or are travelling in other countries. See Safe Traversing Practices, Travel Safety and Security, and Communications

3. Emergency Response Plans (ERPs): Each project should develop site specific ERPs that addresses local risks and hazards. Each employee should be familiar with the ERPs and carry contact numbers and/or radio frequencies to use if an emergency situation develops. See Emergency Response.