You may ask, “Is that like origami?”
No, no it isn’t. Paper Traversing is using a map or plat in lieu of a compass to determine the direction you want to travel. People do it all the time and didn’t know what it was. The term Paper Traverse is one I coined many moons ago. (At least I think I did. I don’t remember anyone telling me this but if I am wrong, please correct me)
What it is is quite simple. You stand at a known point (known as in, you know where you are in relation to the map and the ground) and align the map to meet with some other known reference. So, if you know
where the front corner of your property is and you have the road to align with. You stand on (or near) the known corner, turn the map to align with the road, and the point you want to fine (the back corner) is being pointed at by the line on the map.
I know this sounds silly, but this is how many surveyors I know look for property corners. You can’t depend on lot lines being perpendicular to the road, or even to run in a logical direction. You could use a compass but then you have to adjust for declination and you also have to refresh yourself in converting bearings to azimuths (unless your compass is in quadrants) and then more math… By they time you figure out how much to adjust the compass (or map) and do the calculations, I have already set out and quite possibly found the next point.
So, next time you are on a piece of property and can’t decide what angle the side lines run at, just whip out your handy map (or phone with GIS) and line it up and head out.