How to Read a Compass

Last Updated on August 29, 2018

How to Read a Compass

In a compass is in principle a needle-shaped bar magnet, very easily rotatably mounted on a tip. Because this magnetic needle is suspended freely movable, it aligns parallel to the field lines of the earth’s magnetic field in the direction of the earth poles. To know how to read a compass properly, you need to know some physical conditions.

Understand a compass correctly

The pole pointing north is called the North Pole pointing south, South Pole. The North Pole is often marked red for identification, the South Pole green.

The two magnetic poles change their position continuously, albeit very slowly. You walk around the geographical poles in about 960 years. At the beginning of the last century, the magnetic North Pole was still on the Canadian peninsula of Boothia Felix and has meanwhile traveled almost more than 600 km.

Of the two poles of the earth magnet, the magnetic north pole in northern Canada actually has the character of a magnetic south pole because it attracts the north pole of the magnetic needle in the compass.

The magnetic north pole is therefore not identical to the geographic north pole. This deviation is called a misrepresentation or declination. You can neglect these in our latitudes, however, because it is between zero and 2 ° deviation. Columbus, on the other hand, had to take this misconception into account as it rises to -30 ° in the Atlantic. However, it is constantly shifting about 6 km west each year.

This is how to read the compass information

On a compass, the four main celestial directions are marked. Depending on the manufacturer, there are different representations. N stands for north, E (east) for east, S for south and W for west.

For further subdivision then either numbers or letters or both are on the compass. Between north and east then lies exactly northeast (NO) and southwest between south and west (SW).

These areas are again subdivided. Between north and northeast lies north-northeast (NNO) and between south and southwest lies south-west (SSW).

For a good compass, these letters are assigned numbers that indicate the number of degrees. The north direction is 0 ° below 360 °, east 90 °, south 180 ° and west 170 °. North East has 45 °, northwest 315 °.

If you want to point the compass north, pick up the compass and turn the compass or compass until one needlepoint points to the north and the other to the south. Now you know where the magnetic north pole is. Let the magnet needle patience patiently.

Now bring the compass rose at N or 0 ° with the magnetic needlepoint in coverage.

Use the compass to aim at a target

If you want to reach a certain target, aim it with the sighting device of the compass, turn the compass rose to N and cover the magnetic needlepoint. Now you can correctly read the number of degrees you have to go in the direction of the goal.

Knowing the number of degrees your target is in, turn the compass rose until the grading target coincides with the sighting device. Then turn the compass or yourself until N on the compass rose matches the magnet needle tip. Go in sighting direction to the goal.

If you have a card, you must order it. The north of a map is always up. Place the compass on the map and turn the map with the compass resting on it until it points to N. If you want to reach a destination, read the compass direction of the degree direction. Now march taking into account the above clues to the goal.

Since you are unlikely to be able to reach your destination by hurdles, you need to navigate regularly and keep checking your destination.

Before you start, practice the process of reading a compass correctly, a few times, preferably outdoors.


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