The compass rose is the name given to the circular graph that is used in cartography and maps, which is used to indicate the directions or bearings on the horizon constituted in circumference, that is, north, south, east and west.

The compass rose, also known as the nautical rose, is also an instrument used on navigation charts. It also appears on magnetic compasses, the equivalent of earth compasses that aid orientation. This drawing is the representation of the circumference of the horizon, divided into 32 parts symbolized by diamonds joined at their ends, in which the clockwise direction must be followed and with a value in degrees.

Its name is due to the fact that the rhombuses of its scheme simulate a rose, together with this, it marks the possible directions and magnitudes of the wind. Many times in this same scheme the fleur de lis can be represented, which is used to represent north.

What is the function of the compass rose?

The compass rose is based on the circumference of the horizon in order to know the direction of the winds. That is why it is used in navigation and orientation, having its origin in navigation charts.

But how does the compass rose work? this has four main edges; these represent the four cardinal points: north, south, east and west. In turn these are subdivided twice. One of these subdivisions shows the lateral directions, which are northeast, southeast, southwest, and northwest.

The other subdivision represents the eight collateral courses, that is, the combination of each of the aforementioned courses. All these directions and directions that are marked by the compass rose help a boat to orient itself and guide it to reach its destination. Provides direction and certainty on long trips.

What is the compass rose for?

As we mentioned previously, the main use of the compass rose is to provide orientation in navigation. But, let’s see in detail the use at home:

Wind orientation

Wind is the mass of air that moves through the seas and continents due to changes in temperatures in the different seasons of the year and due to the presence of the sun.

Thus, the compass rose or nautical rose makes it possible to determine towards which direction said wind is moving, whether it is cardinal, lateral or collateral direction. The compass rose remains static to set the course, while next to it a weather vane is used that moves in the direction of the wind.

This developed a fundamental mechanism for sailors, who relied on the direction of the wind for the thrust or propulsion of boats moved by sail, before the invention of the mechanical motor boats that we know today.

North representation

With the compass rose, the north is established as the main point of reference, from which the other directions will be established. This is because the north represents the zero degree of the circumference, and from this the degrees begin to run until they reach 360, that is, the end of the horizon circumference.

This allowed sailors orientation, starting in the 13th century, when it is believed that the compass rose was invented, taking into account that other orientation equipment that we know today had not yet been developed.

Measure wind speed

Determining the wind speed is very important, because in this way you can know if this speed represents a risk for the boat or people. For this reason, the compass rose is also used for this purpose. Wind speed is measured in knots and a piece of equipment called an anemometer is used.

Aeronautical application

The compass rose is also used in aeronautics, since airplanes, being between air currents and clouds, also use an orientation and navigation system. For the orientation of the planes, it is therefore essential to know the direction and speed of the wind in the area where it will fly.

In addition, the compass rose has been used for the construction of airports, since it allows us to know the air currents that are regularly in a geographical area.

Importance of the compass rose

The compass rose was a fundamental tool for the development of navigation. Thanks to this, the sailors were able to achieve an orientation in the seas thanks to the direction of the wind.

In addition, thanks to this it was possible to read the maps in a simpler way, taking the cardinal points as a reference. Anyone who wants to follow them only has to take the direction of the wind to guide their fixed course.

It could be said that the wind rose was the predecessor of the compass, since it was created much earlier and helped to achieve different discoveries.

The compass rose can be used in seas and on flat terrain, but it will not work in mountains or valleys. In addition, to know the wind speed is a bit more difficult, since other instruments are required.

Finally, the compass rose is an instrument thanks to which it was possible to build the most efficient airports since it has allowed the exact study of the wind in certain places, its speed and direction. This is how it is possible to determine the right place for the construction of airports.

Indications of the compass rose

The compass rose allows us to know the cardinal, lateral and collateral directions and the combination of these with each other. Thus, it offers fundamental indications for orientation. Between these:

The names of the winds

  • SW – Southwest – Lebeccio
  • O – West – West
  • NW – Northwest – Mistral
  • N – Norte – Tramontana
  • NE – Nordeste – Gregarious
  • E – This – Raise
  • SE – Southeast – Sirocco
  • S – South – Midday

The Cardinal points

  • N – North
  • S – On
  • It’s this one
  • The West

The four lateral directions

  • NE (North-East) – Northeast
  • SE (Sur-Este) – Sudeste
  • SW (South-West) – Southwest
  • NW (North-West) – Northwest

The eight collateral directions

  • FOUR (Nornordeste)
  • ENE (Southeast)
  • ESE (East-Southeast)
  • SSE (Sudsudeste)
  • SSO (Southwest)
  • OSO (West Southwest)
  • ONO (Oestenoroeste)
  • NNO (Nornoroeste)

The collateral directions

  • NpE (North + North + East + North) – North by East
  • (Northeast)
  • NEpN (North-North-East-East) —North East by North
  • NEpE (East-North-East + North) – Northeast by East
  • (East-northeast)
  • EpN (East-North-East-East) – East by North
  • EpS (East-South-East-East) – East by South
  • (Southeast)
  • SEpE (East-South-East-South) – Southeast by East
  • SEpS (South-South-East-East) – Southeast by South
  • (Sursureste)
  • SpE (Sur-Sur-Este-Sur) – Sur por el Este
  • SpO (South-South-West-South) – South by West
  • (Sursuroeste)
  • SOpS (South-South-West-West) – Southwest by South
  • SOpO (West-South-West-South) – Southwest by West
  • (West Southwest)
  • OpS (West-South-West-West) – West by South
  • OpN (West-North-West-West) – West by North
  • (Oestenoroeste)
  • NOpO (West-North-West-North) – Northwest by West
  • NOpN (North-North-West-West) – Northwest by North
  • (Nornoroeste)
  • NpO (North-North-West-North) – North by West

Sectors corresponding to each wind in sexagesimal degrees

  • North or tramuntana wind (N): from 337.5 ° to 22.5 °
  • Northeast or gregal (NE) wind: from 22.5 ° to 67.5 °
  • East or east wind (E): 67.5 ° to 112.5 °
  • Southeast wind or xaloc (SE): from 112.5 ° to 157.5 °
  • South wind or migjorn (S): from 157.5 ° to 202.5 °
  • Southwest wind, llebeig or garbí (SW): from 202.5 ° to 247.5 °
  • West or west wind (W): from 247.5 ° to 292.5 °
  • Northwest wind or mistral (NW): from 292.5 ° to 337.5 °

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