Lost and Found... the newsletter of Volume 9, Issue 7
8 July 2004
Editors: David Dixon, Mike Dugger, and Tom Russo

Cibola Search and Rescue
"That Others May Live..."
Top of the Hill Boots and Blisters Business as Usual:Meeting Minutes
Pinching Pennies Who's Who and New Feature Article
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Top of the Hill by Larry Mervine , President
Cibola Search and Rescue has been very good at accepting the challenge of increasing our SAR knowledge. When asked to take Wilderness First Aid, 23 members did, and 14 others continued on by taking the Wilderness First Responder class. Also, when asked to take HAM, ICS, and Section Chief classes many did. We were one of the first teams to make PACE a requirement for team membership, and to establish training and evaluation standards. With this tradition of leadership in the SAR community in mind, let us embark on another quest. Many of our team's standards were adapted from the NASAR training books. Now that we are members of NASAR, we should consider taking NASAR exams. In the next 6 months I want to setup a NASAR training or the FUNSAR exam.

Now that most of the National Forests areas are closed and searches less likely, we should concentrate our efforts on attending trainings and evaluations. Only two called for the last litter eval. Remember also to continue some sort of physical fitness. The next mission could be a long haul, so be ready.

See you out there.

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Boots and Blisters by Tony Gaier, Training Officer

WOW! Six months have gone by already and it is time for a new six month training period to begin. This means everyone needs two trainings between now and 31 Dec 2004. Yes, everyone is training deficit as of the 1st of July. Please start planning your schedule as of today. The full training schedule is on the web page at: Training Calendar 2004.

There is only one training opportunity between now and the next business meeting. July 10th, at 9:00AM there will be a Search Techniques Training at Embudo Trailhead.

Thank you to everyone who has helped out so far this year with trainings. If you would like to help with an upcoming training please email or call me. If there is a different type of training you would like to see or if you would like to put an additional training together let me know.

If you have any questions concerning training events please call me at home or on my cellular phone.

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Business as Usual:Meeting Minutes by Aidan Thompson, Secretary
Minutes of 10 June 2004 Meeting

The meeting kicked off at 19:22.

Training Officer's Report

Tony reminded members that June marks the end of the training period and noted members that will be training deficient unless they go to the June 13th training. He had training status forms and evaluation forms for members to review to ensure that they will not be deficient by the end of the year.

Tony also passed out a list to update member address, email and phone information - to be passed out to update names and email addresses.

Next training June 13 at REI Litter handling, then Search techniques 2nd week of July

The Summer bivy - was attended by 4 members, 2 climbed the mountain, 2 left earlier. Cool at night - one member reported a partially frozen water bottle in the morning. No tents were used, all shelters were built with what they had in their packs.

Litter eval on June 27th, call the hotline if you plan to attend by Friday 5:00 pm. Last eval was cancelled due to lack of attendance.

Secretary's Report

The secretary was not present, but was very grateful to Lili for taking these minutes.

Treasurer's Report

The year-to-date net income is a loss. We should be able to catch up again later in the year.

This amount jumped due to reimbursement of members for medical certification courses and Escape conference attendance.

All the Escape expenses were reimbursed at this meeting, excepting the gas reimbursements that were submitted to the state and should be paid soon.

Membership Officer's Report

Pace will be offered on June 30th in Espanola, or the 19th in TAOS. Kevin M. is joining the Peace Corp in Senegal, West Africa, will return to Albq in 2006 and plans to rejoin CSAR at that time. Wish him well on his ventures.

Gear Committee Report

2 team radios available for checkout, also 2 GPS receivers available. Draft of speedy litter tie in was emailed to members. Mike D. was going to get a hold of Carl to see if he has samples of different straps or suggestions before we invest. Carl may attend the litter training on Sunday to discuss and demonstrate.

Public Relations Committee Report

Sunday parking available on freeway side of REI and will also have a booth set up for shoppers to learn about CSAR. Bright orange jackets are in for those that ordered them. Adam said we could put in another order if we could get 12 folks interested, cost is $20, 12 per case, 5$ for stitching. Polo shirts are also available in a mute gray color with orange stitching. Contact Adam or Alex for more info.

Medical Committee Report

WFR class attendees have not yet received their certifications.

Larry's Old SAR Lore

Old Issues

New Issues

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Pinching Pennies by Lili Ziesmann, Treasurer
Below is the cumulative percentage of the annual budget spent so far so that each committee can see how they are doing:

% Of Annual Budget Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun
Other Inc0%15%15%15%19%19%
Gas Vouchers0%31%31%31%31%31%
Training Exp0%0%0%0%70%81%
Medical Exp0%0%0%0%37%50%
Equip Exp0%1%1%1%9%10%
Membership Exp0%0%0%0%48%48%
PR Exp0%5%18%18%31%31%
Total Exp1%12%15%16%40%45%

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Who's Who and New by Bob Baker, Membership Officer
Congratulations to Bryan Wilcox, our newest prospective member, he passed the PACE exam in Espanola 30 June. Way to go Bryan! There is another opportunity for the PACE exam on 10 July in Taos and Larry is working with Apache SAR to set up a PACE exam in the August timeframe. Any questions, give me a call.

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Terrain Identification for Land Navigation by Aaron Hall


Land navigation is a fundamental skill for search and rescue. In fact, it's so important, that as a team we train on it extensively and we require that our members demonstrate their land navigation skills during annual evaluations. During those evaluations members must demonstrate their ability to read, shoot, and follow a compass bearing, estimate distances while hiking, and identify their location on a map using resection techniques and a GPS. The ability to coordinate nearby terrain features with a topographic map is critical to successful land navigation. It's also critical to successfully using a topographic map and a GPS. This article is focused on helping you develop these skills. It's more difficult than it sounds, and the only way to really get good at it is to practice. You have to get out in the field with your map, your GPS, and your interpolator and try this stuff to really get it. Once you are good at it, you should be able to easily locate your position on a map by looking at the terrain features around you. You should also be able to read UTM coordinates from a map and locate a specific UTM coordinate on a map.

The Basics: Reading a Topographic Map

A topographic map is a three-dimensional representation of a landscape projected on a two-dimensional piece of paper. The most important feature of a topographic map that you should understand is a contour line. A contour line represents a constant elevation on the landscape. It twists and turns as the landscape changes and gives you an idea of the shape of the terrain features. If you walked along a contour line you would not go uphill or downhill. The contour lines on a topographic map are drawn at a specified contour interval. A contour interval is the vertical distance between adjacent contour lines. On a 1:25,000 scale topographic map the contour interval is typically 40 feet. If the contour lines are close together, the terrain should be very steep. If the contour lines are widely spaced the terrain should be very flat. Round contour lines should be associated with hills, peaks, or depressions; "U" shaped contour lines should be associated with valleys and ridges.

Terrain Identification: Coordinating Terrain Features with a Topographic Map

A great way to familiarize yourself with your topographic map is to go into the field and compare the terrain features around you to the contour lines on your topographic map. This is called terrain identification. Terrain identification is the skill of coordinating nearby terrain features (hills, peaks, ridges, valleys, saddles, flats, and slopes) with the contour lines on a topographic map. When you practice terrain identification, start at a landmark that you can easily locate on your map. Then get out your compass and orient your map with the terrain around you. If you don't have a compass, use the Sun or the North Star to get your bearings. Once you know where North is, rotate your map so that North on the map is approximately aligned with North in the world. Now the terrain features that you see around you will be arranged in the same way as the terrain features indicated by the contour lines on your map. This is one of the most important habits to develop when reading any map.

To identify terrain, start matching things up. Pick a prominent terrain feature and find the contour lines on your map that you think represent this feature. Now look carefully at your map for three or four smaller features that are nearby the prominent feature that you are trying to identify. Look out in the world and try to find these smaller terrain features. You should be able to find these smaller terrain features where your map suggests that they should be. If you can't find them, or if you can't convince yourself that they are in the right place, you probably aren't matching things up correctly, try again. If you can match up three or four features on your map with the terrain in front of you, congratulations, you've identified the terrain feature you are looking at. Now use your map to plan the next segment of your hike.

GPS Skills: Relating UTM Coordinates and Topographic Maps

Global positioning systems are powerful tools, but like any tool you need to understand how to use them in order to get the most from them. A GPS can be thought of as a radio receiver that uses signals from 3 or more satellites to triangulate its position any where on the surface of the earth. A typical civilian GPS can locate its position within 10 meters, plenty accurate for hiking or search and rescue. Your GPS uses a coordinate system to tell you where it and you are. Most of us have heard of the Latitude/Longitude coordinate system made up of "parallels" of latitude and "meridians" of longitude. Any point on the planet can be described by a unique Lat/Lon coordinate. It's great for navigating things like ships and airplanes, but its sort-a unwieldy for hiking or search and rescue. The UTM coordinate system can also uniquely describe any point on the surface of the earth, and it is excellent for hiking or search and rescue. The UTM coordinate system is based on a rectangular grid system that covers the entire world except for the Artic and Antarctic circles. Since Cibola rarely has missions near the North and South poles we won't worry about the details of the "Universal Polar Stereographic" coordinates used there. UTM coordinates consist of three groups of numbers and look like this:

 13S  0123456
The first number of the group (actually a number and a letter) designates the UTM "zone," which is six degrees wide in longitude and 8 degrees high in latitude. The second and third numbers are called the "Easting" and "Northing." Taken all together the three groups of figures specify a position on the surface of the Earth to the nearest meter.

The numerical part of the UTM zone is defined by the zone's "central meridian," the meridian of longitude running down its center. The central meridian of zone 1 is 177 degrees West longitude, the central meridian of zone 2 is 171 degrees West, and so forth. Zone 13 has 105 degrees West longitude as its central meridian, and covers 108 to 102 degrees. The alphabetic part of the zone designator refers to the 8 degree high band of latitude in which the point lies; band C covers 80 degrees South latitude to 72 degrees South, band D covers 72 to 64, and so forth, skipping the letters I and O. Band S covers 32 degrees North latitude to 40 degrees North. Albuquerque, being at roughly 35 degrees North, 106 degrees West, lies in UTM zone 13S. The boundaries of zone 13S are near Bluewater (just West of Grants) to the West; Amarillo, Texas to the East; Mexico to the South; and Boulder, Colorado to the North.

The second number (0123456 in our example) is your Easting, in meters. The Easting of the central meridian is defined arbitrarily as 500000 meters. This number will always increase as you move East and decrease to the West, and the difference between the Easting coordinate and 500000 is the distance from the central meridian.

The third number (1234567) is your Northing. It is measured in meters from the Equator. It will always increase as you move North (coordinates in the Southern hemisphere have a "false northing" of 10,000,000 added to prevent their northing coordinates from being negative numbers, but coordinates in the Northern hemisphere are actually distances from the equator with no offset applied). This means that the UTM coordinate in our example is 376,544 (i.e. 500,000-123,456) meters West of the central meridian and 1,234,567 meters north of the Equator. (You will never see this particular set of coordinates on your GPS: when converted back to latitude/longitude this point is at 11.14828 degrees North latitude and 108.44662 degrees West longitude --- it lies slightly to the West and far to the South of UTM zone 13S.)

So how do UTM coordinates and a GPS help you navigate and identify terrain with a topographic map? The answer is: there are UTM coordinates on your USGS topographic map! If you look at the edges of your USGS topographic map you will see a series of equally spaced tick marks with 3 or 4 digit numbers next to them. They look something like this:

The numbers will increase to the East and North. This is a 1000 meter UTM grid. If you draw lines across your map and connect matching numbers you will have a 1000 meter UTM grid on your map. Your GPS interpolator will allow you to overlay a 100 meter grid on each 1000 meter square on your map. Now you can read the location of any feature on your map in UTM coordinates. Just use the grid that you have drawn and your interpolator to read the digits of your Easting and Northing. It is important to recognize that when you are using an interpolator with a 100 meter resolution you cannot read the two rightmost digits of your Easting and Northing numbers. This shouldn't make much difference since the numbers that you can read will locate the position of the feature within 100 meters, and with a little practice you can learn to estimate points within the 100 meter boxes to get an extra digit of precision. You can also use your interpolator to locate a UTM coordinate on your map. It's just the reverse of reading a coordinate from the map. Start with the leftmost digits of your Easting and Northing and use them to locate the appropriate 1000 meter square on your map. Use your interpolator to find the position within 100 meters, then estimate the 10 meter digit within the 100 meter box of your interpolator. Now you can use your GPS to verify your position on a map and to identify terrain features on your map.

Exercises in Terrain Identification

As I mentioned earlier, the best way to develop your terrain identification skills (and your topographic map reading skills) is to get out in the field and practice. Try the following exercise: Go to your favorite trailhead and use a compass to orient your map (align it with North). Now identify the following terrain features around you. Each time you identify a terrain feature, you should make sure to use three or four smaller features around it to verify your identification. Now that you've found a few terrain features, go hiking! As you are hiking to each feature, follow your progress on your topographic map. Try to notice other terrain features around you and find them on your map. Watch to see how features like peaks, saddles, and valleys look different from different observation points. While you are hiking pay attention to the layering of the terrain around you. Layering of terrain occurs when one ridge or peak partially blocks your view of the features behind it. Layering can help you to figure out which features are close to you and which features are farther away. Try to follow a contour line along a terrain feature using your map. Try to hike perpendicular to the contour lines on a relatively steep slope. You should notice a big difference! Stand on top of a peak and try to pick out terrain features below you. Things will look a lot different from high up and may be a lot easier to identify.

As you are hiking use your GPS and your interpolator to practice reading UTM coordinates from your map and plotting UTM coordinates on your map. Try using your interpolator and GPS to plot your current location on your map. You should be able to look at your map and convince yourself that you are in the location you plotted. Next use your interpolator to read the UTM coordinates of terrain feature that you plan to hike to. Make a note of the coordinates that you read from your map and use your GPS to check and see how close your coordinates were once you hike to the terrain feature.


Terrain identification is an important part of land navigation using a topographic map. The most important feature of a topographic map to understand is the contour line. The contour lines on a topographic map tell you what the terrain around you looks like. When you are trying to coordinate terrain features with the contour lines on a topographic map it is important to match up three or four features to be sure that your identification is correct. Orienting your topographic map so that it is aligned with the terrain around you is also important; and will make terrain identification much easier. Your GPS and interpolator can also be used to find your location or the location of terrain features around you on your map. Using a GPS to locate your position on a map is powerful, especially at night when you can't see the terrain around you. The best way to develop your terrain identification and GPS skills is to get out in the field with your map and GPS and practice, practice, practice!

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Disclaimer and Copyright notice the Editors
The contents of this newsletter are copyright © 2004 by their respective authors or by Cibola Search and Rescue, Inc., and individual articles represent the opinions of the author. Cibola SAR makes no representation, express or implied, with regard to the accuracy of the information contained in these articles, and cannot accept any legal responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions that may be made. Articles contained in this newsletter may be reproduced, with attribution given to Cibola SAR and the author, by any member of the Search and Rescue community for use in other team's publications.