As you know, if you’ve read any of my other posts, I’m a firm believer in keeping paper maps handy for emergencies, and for tactical operations, the ability to “battle-track” on a paper map overlay is crucial.
Just before Christmas, I became aware of the BattleBoard Scout, available at BattleBoard.us.
It’s a small day-planner sized case with a map sleeve that has a polycarbonate cover, so that you can write on a map folded inside. The Scout version is small sized, and optimal for my work as a Certified Fraud Examiner in the private sector, enabling me to carry a map of the area of any surveillance or executive protection detail we are doing and make notes right on it.
Recently, during a major protest event, I used the BattleBoard Scout to battle-track in real time and it was a great tool to understand what was going on during the event.
In this article, first we will discuss the Scout and how I have mine set up, and then we’ll discuss how it was used to conduct tracking.
The Medium Scout is 7×9 inches, which makes it fit perfectly in my Bail-Out Bag or in the front pouch of my backpack.
On the left half inside, there are 7 pen loops. I keep a standard pen, a mechanical pencil, and a Rite In The Rain pen in the loops full time. This area is the only drawback I’ve found, because if you fill all 7 pen loops, with a notebook inside, it doesn’t close evenly. I solved this by only keeping a minimal amount of pens inside, and keeping a pouch of dry erase pens in the bag, next to the Scout.
On the right hand side, there are a few great features. First, there is a lengthwise opening, where you can store documents inside, as well as sliding a notebook back cover in. Inside this pouch, I keep blank 6×8 forms, like Observation Logs for surveillance, Note Sheets, etc. I also keep in here one Rite In The Rain stapled notebook for general note-taking.
I also slide the back cover of a Rite In The Rain Tactical Fieldbook inside that slot, allowing me to use the book as a general note book as well.
There is also a half-page pouch across the width of the left hand side. Here I store a map protractor and a supply of large index cards for note taking.
The entire Scout is covered in tough nylon, and closes with a durable YKK zipper.
When you are making the purchase, there is an option to add a LokSak, which is a zip-lock waterproof bag to place a map inside. I cannot recommend this highly enough to do it justice. I wavered before making my purchase, but I’m glad that I did. The LokSak makes the map inside more secure from the weather, and makes it easier to slide the map in and out of the polycarbonate window. Also, If you need to view a larger area of the map, you can do that while keeping the map still inside the LokSak, since it fits inside the polycarbonate window folded in half. Additionally, you can write directly on the LokSak with dry erase markers.
I use mine daily as a general notebook, because it’s easy to carry and professional-looking.
During a recent protest event, I put a map of a downtown area inside the polycarbonate window and tracked the event. I was able to list areas of conflict and traffic issues, and relay that data to other team members, maintaining a big picture overview of the situation as the day progressed, using wet erase markers. I chose wet erase so that any markings wouldn’t be accidentally wiped off. At the end of the day, after over 12 hours of tracking, the window was wiped cleaned with nothing more than a paper towel and a drop of water.
Attached is a photo of the completed map. At the beginning of the day, our observation post on top of the parking garage was noted on the map as a blue triangle, and the Capitol grounds were crossed in red to denote the area of the protest. Since the main protest was intended to block traffic, as the event unfolded, I marked off the areas of stopped traffic with red X’s.
Later in the day, as the police began blocking roads leading into the area to reduce the congestion, I marked those areas as black bars with X’s on the map.
The location of the only arrest for the day was marked with a black A.
This map gave us a great situational awareness of how we could get help into the area in an emergency, and on routes out of the area that were not impacted by the protest, in case we needed to evacuate.
In conclusion, on a day when I needed outstanding situational awareness of a potentially volatile situation, the BattleBoard Scout performed admirably and exactly as advertised.
I highly recommend the BattleBoard Scout.