How to walk straighter and further with less effort when conducting ground geophysical surveys.

Some walk the line straighter than others. Walking straighter lines when conducting ground geophysical surveys increases the production l-km in a day. Alternatively, if there is a fixed amount of work to do in the day, then straighter lines means less walking and less stress on the body. Walking straight in thick vegetation is never easy. Once you weave around an obstacle it can be difficult to get back on track and walking straight.

On the straight and narrow. Walking a straight geophysical survey line.

On the straight and narrow. Walking a straight geophysical survey line.

Try using these tricks to walks straighter lines:

  1. If you have a shadow, use it as a bearing marker. That is, notice the angle of your shadow from your body when you are on line and walking directly toward the end of the line. When you get back on line having been forced off line, rotate your body until your shadow is in the straight line position. You will have to note the position many times per day as the sun tracks across the sky, and adjust for the different line directions. I physically point to the shadow with my arm, to help remember the optimal shadow position.
  2. When you are on line and walking straight, pick objects as far in the distance as possible to walk towards. Anything on the horizon is good, but unusually tall trees or any man-made objects are ideal. Failing this, clouds can be used as markers for short periods when there is little wind.
  3. If you are working with a partner, then compare how far each of you walked in the day for lines of the same length. This could help you work out if you are “weaving” too much. If your partner walks fewer line-km for the same straight line distance, then consider “pushing through” scrub more.

Pushing through scrub is made easier by the new Modern Mag equipment. We now sell backpacks designed for thick vegetation. The GPS antenna and magnetic sensor are below head height so they are less likely to act as tree hooks. Compared to Geometrics and Scintrex equipment, the Modern Mag gear is lighter, safer, smaller and obtains better quality data. Our degaussed PDA is in development and this will have superior navigation aids for walking straighter lines including audible guides, so that the operator can focus on walking the line rather than the equipment.

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