6 ways to never get lost in a city again (w/o GPS or compass) #teechy UK-focused!

11 Oct

BBC News – Six ways to never get lost in a city again.

Blank direction signs in city

  1. TV satellite dishes

    Dishes point at a geostationary satellite, one that stays over the same point on the Earth’s surface. In the UK, all point SE. Web site DishPointer can help you figure out the general direction satellite dishes point in your area

  2. Religious buildings

    Christian churches are normally aligned west-east, with the main altar at the eastern end to face the sunrise. Gravestones, too, are aligned west-east.

    To find direction from a mosque, you need to go inside and look for the niche in one wall, which indicates the direction for prayer. This niche, known as al-Qibla, will be the direction of Mecca, wherever you are in the world.

    And synagogues normally place the Torah Ark at the eastern end, positioned so worshippers face towards Jerusalem. (Synagogues in countries east of Israel will face west.)

    3. Weathering

    Revailing winds carry rain and pollution. These then hit the buildings, leaving patterns.

    The wind comes from the southwest in the UK more often than from any other direction. This results in asymmetrical weathering patterns on buildings – similar to the erosion seen in nature.

    4. Flow of people

    Following a crowd in the late afternoon will take you towards a station or other transport hub. In the mornings, walk against the flow to find these stations.

    At lunchtime in sunny weather, crowds move from office blocks towards the open spaces of parks and rivers.

    5. Road alignment

    Roads do not spring up randomly, they grow to carry traffic – and the bulk of traffic is either heading into or out of a town. So the biggest roads tend to be aligned in a certain way, depending on whether you are in the centre or on the outskirts.

    In the north or south of town, the major roads will tend to be aligned north/south. In the northwest or southeast, they will have a bias towards northwest/southeast. This is why road maps of big towns show a radial pattern.

    6. Clouds

    Note the direction the clouds are moving.

    The wind pushing the clouds will remain fairly constant, providing there’s no dramatic change in the weather.

    This technique really earns its keep on underground journeys, especially to a new part of town. Simply look up before you head underground, and remember the direction of the clouds. When you emerge in a strange part of the city, look up again and you’ll be able to work out which way is which from the clouds overhead.

     

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