Land Navigation Tutorial

Soldier conducting land nav training with a map and compass 

Land Navigation Classes

Field Manual 21-26 - Map Reading and Land Navigation: This is one of a series of quick find, 1-click Army Powerpoint listing of popular Army pre-made Powerpoint Classes. Don't forget to check our Latest Uploads page where we add all our uncategorized classes, or check our By Subject listing for all of them.

A map is a graphic representation of a portion of the earth's surface drawn to scale, as seen from above. It uses colors, symbols, and labels to represent features found on the ground. The ideal representation would be realized if every feature of the area being mapped could be shown in true shape. Obviously this is impossible, and an attempt to plot each feature true to scale would result in a product impossible to read even with the aid of a magnifying glass.

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A map provides information on the existence, the location of, and the distance between ground features, such as populated places and routes of travel and communication. It also indicates variations in terrain, heights of natural features, and the extent of vegetation cover. With our military forces dispersed throughout the world, it is necessary to rely on maps to provide information to our combat elements and to resolve logistical operations far from our shores. Soldiers and materials must be transported, stored, and placed into operation at the proper time and place. Much of this planning must be done by using maps. Therefore, any operation requires a supply of maps; however, the finest maps available are worthless unless the map user knows how to read them.


The map of choice for land navigators is the 1:50,000-scale military topographic map. It is important, however, that you know how to use the many other products available from the DMA as well. When operating in foreign places, you may discover that DMA map products have not yet been produced to cover your particular area of operations, or they may not be available to your unit when you require them. Therefore, you must be prepared to use maps produced by foreign governments that may or may not meet the standards for accuracy set by DMA. These maps often use symbols that resemble those found on DMA maps but which have completely different meanings. There may be other times when you must operate with the only map you can obtain. This might be a commercially produced map run off on a copy machine at higher headquarters.

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