Compass: North, South, East and West
Directions on the "Compass Rose"
A Compass Bearing tells us Direction
The 4 main directions are North, South, East and West (going clockwise they are NESW).
How to remember?
With North pointing ahead, "West" and "East" make the word "WE"
Halfway between North and East is North-East (NE).
There is also South-East (SE), South-West (SW) and North-West (NW).
And in between all of those are:
- NNE (North-North-East),
- ENE (East-North-East),
- ESE (East-South-East),
- SSE (South-South-East),
- SSW (South-South-West),
- WSW (West-South-West),
- WNW (West-North-West),
- NNW (North-North-west)
Example: in the morning there was a strong North wind, but later it swung around to the North-East
Example: they were sailing mainly South-West, but sometimes a little towards South-South-West.
Three-figure bearings are an alternative to compass bearings that are much more precise. They are measured in a special way:
- Start measuring from the direction North
- Measure clockwise
- Give the bearing using three figures (or more than three if there's a decimal)
Airline pilots and ships' helmsmen use three-figure bearings so that they can point their craft in exactly the right direction to safely reach their destination.
Example: East is 090 (in other words 90° clockwise from North)
Example: South-West is 225 (in other words 225° clockwise from North)