Introduction to Map Reading and Land Navigation (MGRS)

The first thing you should know about a map is that it is nothing more than a drawing of a section of the earth’s surface as you would see it if looking straight down from an airplane.

Maps show man-made objects such as roads, buildings, and bridges. All of these manmade objects are represented by a symbol, and the symbols are explained in the lower left hand corner of every map in a section called the “legend”‘.

Besides giving symbols for man-made objects, the legend gives the color coding used on the map and explains the meaning of other symbols, which gives you a better idea of what the ground actually looks like. Be sure to always look at the legend before using your map.

Below you will see an example of a Map Legend from a typical map.



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**Information adapted from the United States
(U.S.) Army Training Support Centers (TSCs)
Graphic Training Aid (GTA) GTA 05-02-013,
How To Avoid Getting Lost.