Home>Scouts>Programme>Navigator Proficiency Badge

Complete the requirements in one of the following alternatives:

  Alternative A - Land  
  1. Using 1:50 000 and 1:25 000 scale Ordnance Survey maps:
    1. Show that you understand the meaning of scale, true, grid and magnetic north and can recognise conventional map symbols.
    2. Interpret contour lines in terms of shape and steepness of terrain. Know the meaning of topographical features such as valley, col, ridge, spur, etc.
    3. Show how to set a map with and without a compass. Be able to use and give six - figure grid references. Demonstrate the use of a romer to improve accuracy.
    4. Show how to measure distances on a map and how to estimate timings for a particular route.
    5. Show how to find north without the aid of a compass, by day or night.
    6. Demonstrate your awareness of the latest developments in electronic technology such as the Global Positioning System.
  2. Be familiar with traffic signs and signals as illustrated in The Highway Code.
  3. With other Scouts, accompany a motorist on a journey of at least 30 kilometres, taking it in turns to act as navigator to a stated destination. The route should avoid motorways and major roads and if possible should be cross-country, using a variety of roads and lanes. There should be no prior route preparation.
  4. Walk two compass routes of at least 2 kilometres each. One route should have start and end points defined on a map by an adult and the second by the Scout.
  5. Demonstrate an ability to:
    1. Convert grid bearings to magnetic bearings and vice versa.
    2. Use back bearings to check the route.
    3. Estimate current position using a compass.
    4. Walk on a bearing, including 'deviating from course', (the four right angles technique to circumvent an obstacle).
  Alternative B - Air  
  1. Given three headings and corresponding tracks, work out in each case the type and the amount of drift in degrees. Illustrate each case by a simple diagram.
  2. Demonstrate with a compass how an aircraft can be turned on to various compass headings.
  3. Choose one of the following activities:
    1. Draw on a topographical air map a track for an imaginary flight of not less than 80 kilometres. Point out the landmarks that would show up on both sides of the track in clear visibility at an altitude of about 600 metres.
    2. Identify on a topographical air map landmarks seen during a flight of about half an hour's duration in clear weather
  4. Illustrate by means of a simple diagram how a fix can be obtained from two position lines. Describe briefly two ways in which bearings can be obtained in an aircraft.
  5. Show an understanding of compass headings by completing the following two tasks:
    1. Given the true heading and the variation and deviation, work out the compass heading on which the pilot should be flying.
    2. Given two sets of true, magnetic and compass headings, work out the variation and deviation in each case.
  6. Illustrate latitude and longitude by simple diagrams.
  7. Draw on a topographical map the track between any two places not less than 100 kilometres apart and measure the exact distance. Given the aircraft's air speed as 130 km/h, work out the time of flight from overhead starting point to overhead destination in each of the following conditions:
    1. With no wind at all.
    2. With a head wind of 30 km/h.
    3. With a tail wind of 50 km/h.
  8. Demonstrate your awareness of the latest developments in electronic technology such as the Global Positioning System.
  Alternative C - Water  
  1. Have a good working knowledge of charts, chart datum and symbols used.
  2. Display an aptitude in compass work by completing the following three activities:
    1. Read a mariner's compass marked in points and degrees and have knowledge of compasses generally.
    2. Know about variation and avoiding deviation. Be able to correct a magnetic compass course for variation and deviation to obtain a true bearing. Given a true bearing, successfully adjust this to obtain a compass course.
    3. Understand how compass error can be found from a transit bearing.
  3. Complete two of the following:
    1. Understand how a position may be found from two intersecting position lines.
    2. Understand what is meant by a 'cocked hat' position and how to use it safely. Plot a position from any three cross bearings
    3. Plot a position using the 'running fix' method.
    4. Plot a position using a combination of compass bearings and any one or more of the following:
      • Satellite navigation system.
      • vertical sextant angle.
      • horizontal sextant angle.
      • line of soundings.
      • transits.
  4. Be able to use tide tables and tidal stream atlases.
  5. Understand the use of the marine log to obtain distance run and speed.
  6. Understand the buoyage system for United Kingdom coastal waters and other methods of marking dangers and channels.
  7. Demonstrate your awareness of the latest developments in electronic technology such as the Global Positioning System and electronic charts.
  8. Undertake a coastal voyage of between four and six hours acting as navigator. A log should be kept showing courses steered, distance run, navigation marks passed and weather experienced. During the voyage:
    • Plot the estimated position every hour by keeping up the dead reckoning.
    • Whenever appropriate, and not less than once per hour, plot an observed position by bearings or other means of obtaining a fix.


The voyage should be planned on the chart beforehand using tidal streams to the best advantage and giving hourly courses to steer for an assumed speed.

  Alternative D - GPS Navigation  
  1. Demonstrate an awareness of the Global Positioning System (GPS) to include:
    1. How it works.
    2. Ownership and control of the system.
    3. Benefits to society.
    4. What factors affect accuracy?
  2. Programme a hand-held GPS receiver to perform the following functions:
    1. Find your location (grid reference and latitude/longitude) and record it
    2. Enter the grid reference of a local landmark and navigate to the waypoint
    3. Enter the latitude/longitude coordinates of a nearby point and navigate to the waypoint, checking the accuracy
    4. Walk on a bearing using the GPS and a map.
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of the difference between Ordnance Survey and latitude/longitude coordinates.
  4. Using an Ordnance Survey map (1:25 000 or 1:50 000 scale) plan a route of at least 4km that contains a minimum of 10 waypoints. Discuss the features and challenges that exist along the route. Programme the route into a hand-held GPS and undertake the journey.
  5. Sign up to a geocaching website. Find out about geocaching and demonstrate an understanding of what is involved in both locating and placing a geocache.
  6. Demonstrate an understanding of the safety and environmental aspects of geocaching, e.g. relevant Activity Rules in chapter nine of Policy, Organisation and Rules; Highway Code; Countryside Code and guidelines produced by the Geocaching Association of Great Britain (GAGB).
  7. Find five geocaches using a GPS, at least 3 of which must be 'multi-caches' with at least two waypoints. Discuss the accuracy of the information provided and of the GPS receiver you used.
  8. With adult assistance where necessary:
    1. Plan, assemble and hide 2 caches, one of which should be a multi-cache. The planning should involve making sure the location is suitable and that other navigators have proper access to the land and terrain
    2. Either submit your caches to a geocaching website, or give the details to other Scouts to successfully find the caches.


Reference should be made to the Activity Rules in chapter nine of Policy, Organisation and Rules and the Adventurous Activity Permit Scheme


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