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Foot Mapping

by Tom Brown Jr.

Once and for all, I am getting out the information for an advanced tracking seminar and have standardized all my notes, measurements, and techniques for tracking. One technique that has given trackers the edge is called "foot mapping". This technique is an easy way to keep records and pressure release studies, and to communicate to each other the nuances of each track.

Foot mapping is a technique I use to convey exacting pressure release information in my notebooks or to advanced tracking students. As you will see in the future, a new class is coming into existence that will surpass the teachings of the Advanced Tracking and Nature Observation Course. (My survival classes have an advanced, so why not tracking.) What I am describing here will be of utmost importance if you are considering the Advanced Tracking and Nature Awareness Class. Most of the new standard students are learning this advanced way of mapping during their standard class.

The first thing you must do when you are conveying the information on paper or to other trackers over the phone is to state what kind of track it is, whether it is right or left, front or back, and the length and width. For human tracks you will want the width in two places.

Next, draw the track to scale on a clean sheet of paper, using the proper measurements. Now divide the track down the center with a vertical line, which will be called the vertical axis. Next divide the track in half with a horizontal line which will be called the horizontal axis (see illustration), As you can see, we are using a human footprint but this technique will work for any animal track.

Starting on the top left, that portion of the track is known as Quadrant 1, the top right is Quadrant 2, the bottom left is Quadrant 3, and the bottom right is Quadrant 4. Next, we divide each quadrant with 20 equally spaced horizontal lines. To do this, begin at the tip of the track and equally space 20 lines that end before reaching the horizontal axis. The lower part of the track is done the same way, starting just below the horizontal axis with line 1 and continuing on to the heel of the track with line 20, all of them. equally spaced (see illustration). So you can see that each quadrant has 20 equally spaced lines running in the order of 1 to 20 from the top of the quadrant to the bottom of the quadrant.

Now, we must complete the grid by putting in the vertical lettered lines and this is where most people have a little trouble. Starting from the outermost part of the track in each quadrant and working to the vertical axis there will be equally spaced lines. The outermost part of the track will be the letter H and run to line A which lies next to the vertical line (see illustration).

Of course, with very small tracks, you must scale up the track so that you can fit in all the grid systems. For instance, if you have a track that is only an inch long, you would draw the track a. foot long, then fill in the grid. Later, in future editions of the newsletter, I will be covering how to grid out the various smaller animal tracks, but this basic one will suffice for now.

The beauty of this tracking technique is he way in which intricate pressure release systems and indicators can be conveyed over the phone or onto paper without any mistakes. Remember, that there are 85 external pressure releases, 85 internal pressure releases, and 65 indicator pressure releases that one can read from a track. The 65 indicator pressure release systems are the ones that you will want to convey to other trackers or into your notebook and this foot mapping is the only way to do it precisely.

For instance, using the sample illustration, if I have a man with a rolling, negative pitched spiraling pock pressure release covering Quadrant 2, number 2, 3 & 4, letters F, G & H, you can, easily see where it belongs on the chart. This, of course, means that the person has stopped to pick up a coin or small object, but if the pressure release was found an inch back, it would have meant he had just bent over. That is why this mapping technique is so important in the exchanging of information. Doubly important when we find ourselves tracking lost people.

From The Tracker magazine, Summer 1983, published by the Tracker School.
For more articles from The Tracker magazine, visit the Tracker Trail website.