Questions tagged [compasses]

Compasses are a navigational instrument utilising a magnetized needle giving a frame of reference based on North, South, East and West, as well as their intermediate directions such as SE, NW etc. This is based on Magnetic North, and not True or Grid North.

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Navigational gear worldwide

Is there any difference in navigational equipment between the northern and southern hemisphere? We live in the northern hemisphere but will be emigrating to the southern in the next few weeks. We'll ...
Sirex's user avatar
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52 votes
6 answers
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I never adjust for true north. Is this bad practice?

This question (Calculate true north with a compass and map) got me thinking. I rarely bother adjusting compass bearings for magnetic north. Is this bad? I understand the theory but I just rarely ...
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49 votes
10 answers
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How can you navigate without a compass or GPS

What are the ways you can navigate when you don't have a compass or a GPS? For example how can you tell which way is north.
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15 votes
2 answers
4k views

Is it normal for a compass to develop an air bubble at high altitude?

I live in Denver, Colorado. Going above 10,000 ft. (3,000 metre) always results in an air bubble large enough for me to want to tilt the compass to prevent the bubble from interfering with the needle....
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27 votes
3 answers
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How much distance is there between True North and Magnetic North Poles?

This question is not as simple as it seems, and a few minutes of googling did not drop the answer in my lap. A comment at I never adjust for true north. Is this bad practice? suggesting that: ...
James Jenkins's user avatar
12 votes
3 answers
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Calculate true north with a compass and map

We've a map and a functional compass. A compass shows of course the magnetic north and the map provides us with the correct and current declination. The North Magnetic Pole is the point on the ...
OddDeer's user avatar
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11 votes
1 answer
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Taking and using bearings

How would I go about taking a compass bearing of a distant peak and then relate this to the information on a standard map?
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10 votes
1 answer
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Is a compass generally accurate in only one hemisphere, or both? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Navigational gear worldwide I'm not that well travelled (never been outside of Europe!) but at some point I'd love to head elsewhere to perhaps hike somewhere a bit more ...
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What is dead reckoning when navigating with a map and compass?

There is a technique for navigation known as dead reckoning, what is this technique exactly and when would it be useful?
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
8 votes
4 answers
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Can a compass be thrown off by its surroundings?

Would it be possible for a compass be affected by its surroundings, such as a large iron deposit or other rocks to the point where it is not working correctly? I am not talking about declination but ...
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
1k views

I have a compass but no watch, how can I tell when it will get dark?

I was reading all of the answers to Are there any situations while backpacking that would require a watch? and surprised at the number of answers that said you need a watch so you would know how long ...
James Jenkins's user avatar
21 votes
2 answers
6k views

Can a compass needle become de-magnetized over time?

My compass has become increasingly untrustworthy. Over the past couple years I had noticed that it often pointed pretty close to magnetic South, but it corrected after a light tap. In two recent ...
orangejewelweed's user avatar
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7 answers
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Is there an easy way to remember if you add magnetic declination to magnetic bearings or true bearings?

For some reason, once in a while I get confused if you add magnetic declination to magnetic bearings to get true bearings, or if you add magnetic declination to true bearings to get magnetic bearings. ...
End Anti-Semitic Hate's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
2k views

Can a compass reverse polarity?

Can a compass have its polarity reversed so that the end marked "north" points south and vice versa? If so, what could one do to prevent and fix this problem?
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
9k views

How to identify latitude & longitude with a compass?

I am not exactly sure where I am in the world. It could be that I am in a boat on the ocean, been in a plane crash, or suffered some other calamity. In any case I either have a compass with me or ...
James Jenkins's user avatar
6 votes
3 answers
455 views

Making a compass from magnet and needle -- which end is north?

I was watching one of those Discovery Channel wilderness survival shows last night and one of the "survivors" made a compass from a piece of wire tie and an earbud's magnet. He stripped the plastic ...
rrauenza's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
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Why do compasses develop bubbles?

Please note I am not asking 'in what conditions some compasses can develop a bubble', what I am asking is, why can't manufacturers make liquid filled compasses that will not, ever, develop bubbles. ...
user1256923's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
340 views

Are there bubble free handheld compasses?

We have one question asking where it is normal for a compass to have bubbles and another asking why compasses get bubbles, but we do not have a question clearly asking if handheld compasses exist that ...
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar