North, South, West, East: Map and Compass Location

There are many ways to determine the sides of the world. Using compass – the simplest of them. But sometimes it happens that there is no compass at hand, or it is lost, broken. In this case, the location of the north, south, west and east can be learned through other methods.

  • North, South, West, East: Location on the map
  • North, South, West, East: Location on a compass
  • Orientation according to the heavenly bodies
  • Orientation using the clock
  • Determination of the cardinal points by natural phenomena

North, South, West, East: Location on the map

North is always on top of the map
To find the sides of the world on the map, you need to remember that, regardless of scale and purpose, the north, south, west and east are always the same: the north side is always on top, the south bottom, west on the left, and the east on the right. If there is a compass, the task is even more simplified: it is necessary to combine the route with its arrows, laid out in accordance with the map, and follow it on the ground. Map orientation is possible without a compass. To do this, go to any object marked on the map: the railway track, road, natural reservoir, then compare the picture of the area with the one shown on the map, and then lay your further route along it. Going to a large object, you need to check your direction with what is indicated on the map. This way you can check if there are any deviations from the route.

North, South, West, East: Location on a compass

The side of the arrow with the letter N indicates north
Compass detection – The task is simple, provided it is used correctly. First you need to remember what symbols marked the side of the world. North is denoted by the English letter N, i.e. «north»south – S («south»), west – W («west») and east – E («ost»). To determine the north, you need to turn the arrow to the main side (usually it is painted blue or just marked as the main one) in the direction of N.

To correctly determine the direction of the light by a compass, you must follow the rules:

  • The device must be kept strictly horizontally, so as not to cause errors in determining the cardinal points.
  • The compass must be rotated carefully until the arrow marked at the end stops at the N mark. The line of the arrow points in this way to the north and south direction.
  • Some models of compasses are equipped with a special arrow, which is fixed in the direction of a given route. It is enough to twist and follow the direction.
  • Built-in compass will help calculate the azimuths.

In order not to deviate from the route, it is necessary to choose a large structure as a reference point and follow it. Reaching the object, again check with the compass direction and follow on.

Orientation according to the heavenly bodies

Orientation in the stars in the northern hemisphere
When there is no map or compass with you, the heavenly bodies will help orient yourself on the terrain: the moon, the sun, and the stars. The North Pole is where the North Star is located, if you face it. Accordingly, the South Pole will be behind him. To find the Polar Star, no special effort will be required. – in the sky it shines brighter than the other stars. It is located at the end of the bucket constellation Ursa Minor. Then you need to outline a large landmark in order to correlate its location with the star indicating the parts of the world. Moving on this landmark, you can build the desired route. When you are in the southern hemisphere, the constellation Southern Cross should be oriented. It consists of five stars, four of which create a cross slightly offset to the side. If you mentally extend the long axis of the cross, formed by two bright stars, to the ground, it will indicate the southern direction. Based on this guide, it is not difficult to determine the rest of the world.

It’s also easy to navigate the Sun, knowing the fact that it rises in the East and sets in the West. However, this should take into account seasonal variations: in the winter it rises in the direction of the north-east, and at sunset it will be located in the north-west. In the summer, the sun shifts closer to the south. To determine the directions of the world, you can use the easiest way: get up at noon with your back to the sun, so that the shadow of it falls clearly in front of your face. Thus, in front there will be the north side of the light, behind – south, left and right, west and east, respectively. The same method works with a pole stuck into the ground.

If you need to navigate the summer afternoon, you can use the following method: two pegs are stuck into the ground with an interval of 15-20 minutes. On the ground is marked the place where the shadow of the peg ends. Then put a stick connecting the two marks between them. The perpendicular drawn to this line will indicate the north direction.

At night, you can also determine the location of the cardinal points, while the moon will help. To do this, determine the phases of the moon: in the first quarter the moon grows, «horns» months will point to the left. Second quarter – this is the full moon, and the third – decreasing «horns» the month will be turned to the right, resembling the letter C. The moon, located in the first quarter, will be in the south by seven o’clock in the evening, and by one in the morning – in the West. If the moon is full, by seven o’clock in the evening it will be visible in the east, and by one in the morning – on South. The waning moon is in the east at one in the morning, and by seven in the morning – on South.

Orientation using the clock

Orientation in the northern hemisphere using a clock
If there is no compass, you can navigate with another instrument. – mechanical watches. To do this, on a sunny day, holding the clock horizontally, direct a large arrow to the sun. The angle between this position of the arrow and the 12 o’clock position should be divided in half, the bisector of this angle will be the direction of the North-South line. This definition of north and south refers to the location in the northern hemisphere, where the sun is exactly in the south at noon. If the clock is switched to summer time, you should not focus on the 1 o’clock position, but 1 hour, and divide the angle between it and the position of the sun.

Determination of the cardinal points by natural phenomena

Most branches tend to grow on the warm, south side
Using the natural landmarks located in a forest or other locality, one can easily determine their belonging to different parts of the world. In the forest, you can navigate through the anthill. Their flat side is always facing the south, and the anthills themselves are located on the south side of the trees. If you pay attention to the location of the moss on top of tree trunks, stumps, you can see that the moss grows mainly from the north side. The slopes of the mountains on the south side are covered with heat-loving trees and plants, for example, oaks, pines. The northern slopes are characterized by fir and spruce growing there.

You can watch the fir trees: when the weather is hot, tar begins to stand out on the south side of the trunks. Most often, the mushrooms grow on the north side near the trees.

It is also interesting to observe sunflowers: when the flowers bloom, they turn to the east. In the morning, the soil of large stones is more moist from the north than from the south. You can find a stump and watch the location of the annual rings: most often they are shifted to the north.

Focusing on natural features and phenomena, it is necessary to remember that these sources are not 100% accurate, but if you put them together, you can make a clear picture for orientation in parts of the world.

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