Pacing is the simplest and easiest method for measuring distance. Pacing is the process of walking the distance and counting the number of steps "paces" to cover the distance. The distance is determined by multiplying the number of steps taken between two points by one's pace factor. A person's pace factor is determined by pacing (walking) a measured distance, usually 300 to 500 ft, several times and determining the average length of pace (step). With practice it is possible to pace a distance with an error of less than 2 ft per 100 ft. To achieve that level of precision a person must learn to adopt a pacing step that is different from their normal walking step because many factors can cause variations in the length of a person's pace. Three of these are the roughness of the surface, the slope of the ground, and the type of vegetation. Care must be taken to ensure that a consistent pace factor is used.
One advantage of pacing for measuring distance is that it doesn't require any specialized equipment. The biggest disadvantage is that it requires being able to walk the route. It is not very useful for measuring distance in rough terrain, across swamps or any other terrain where an individual could not walk the distance or walk in a straight line.
Problem: An individual paces a 200.0 ft distance three times and counts 62, 60, and 64 paces. What is the person's pace factor (PF)?
Solution: To determine a pace factor, divide the measured distance by the average number of paces. The average number of steps (x) is:
and the pace factor is:
62 paces pace
Once the pace factor is known, the length of an unknown distance can be determined
FIGURE 12.1. Odometer wheel.
FIGURE 12.1. Odometer wheel.
by counting the number of paces required to cover the distance and multiplying the number of paces by the pace factor.
Problem: An individual with a pace factor of 3.2 ft/pace, measures a distance at 375 paces, what is the distance in feet?
Solution: The distance, in feet, equals the number of paces times the pace factor. Or:
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