“If we do not change our direction, we will end up where we are headed.” – Chinese Proverb
Getting from point A to point B seems like an easy enough task. That is as long as while at Point A you can see Point B, and can see point B at all times during your journey. What happens when the journey is much harder. Through wooded areas, down valleys, and around rivers? In that case we need a tool – a compass. And a skill known as orientation.How does it work?
A compass works because of the magnetic poles of earth. The needle of the compass is magnetized to be attracted to the North Pole. The actual North is slightly different than the Magnetic North, but that is for another article.
What do you measure with a compass?
Simply, you measure direction. The compass is a very exact way to measure difference. The compass is divided into 360 degrees. North is at 0/360 degrees, East is at 90 degrees, South is at 180 degrees, and West is at 270 degrees. With a little deduction we realize that every 90 degrees is a new direction.
In between North and East is Northeast. In between East and South is Southwest. In between South and West is Southwest. And in between West and North is Northwest. These directions can even be broken down further as seen in the picture below:
Why do I need a Compass?
A compass can be invaluable when you know that you are East North East of a destination, but you know that there are many different obstacles in between you and the destination. With that knowledge you can use your compass and set out toward your destination by shooting an azimuth in the directions of West South West. But we will get into that more on the next post.