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# Compass Bearings

In the diagram shown here, the direction of point Y from an original point X is known as the bearing of Y from X.

There are two ways of expressing the bearing of Y from X, namely true bearings and compass bearings.

# True bearing

In true bearing, the bearing of Y from X is the angle between the interval XY and the north line as measured in a clockwise direction. In the above figure, the true bearing of Y from X is 030°, which is the angle between XY and the North line.

Note that the true bearing is always given in three significant figures, and is always measured in clockwise direction.

# Compass bearing

The compass bearing is the angle between the interval XY and the direction line from where it is referenced.

In the above figure, the compass bearing of Y from X is given as –

N30°E. This is read as from North 30° towards East direction going clockwise direction, OR

E60°N. This is read as from East 60° towards North direction going anti-clockwise direction

The drawing below shows the compass bearings for the 8 directions. The numbers in brackets are the true bearing readings.

Now let us look at some examples of writing compass bearings and true bearings.

Example 1:

Compass bearing of Y from X is N50°E.

And true bearing of Y from X is 050°

Example 2:

Compass bearing of Y from X is E50°S, or S60°E.

True bearing of Y from X is 90° + 30° =  120°

Example 3:

Compass bearing of Y from X is W40°S, or S50°W.

True bearing of Y from X is 270° – 40° =  230°

Example 4:

Compass bearing of Y from X is W32°N, or N58°W.

True bearing of Y from X is 270° + 32° =  302°

Now, let us solve some problems in bearings.