What Are the Different Types of Compasses?

Different Types of Compasses

Compasses are a tool for navigating various areas of life. From casual hikers through nature to huge ships overseas, the compass helps all kinds of people and objects reach their final destination.

There are different types of compasses made differently and serve different purposes. However, there are two main types of compasses, and here are they:

The two main types of compasses are the magnetic compass and the gyrocompass.

The first has a magnetic element (needle or card) that aligns with the magnetic lines of the Earth’s magnetic field to direct it to the Earth’s magnetic poles.

The gyrocompass has a rapidly rotating wheel, the rotation of which interacts with the revolving of the Earth until its centerline of the cycle is parallel to the Earth and points to the Earth’s rotational poles.

This compass indicates the actual poles of the Earth.

1. Baseplate compass

The baseplate compass is one of the most common and affordable types of compasses. The liquid-filled compass rests on a rectangular transparent plastic base.

The baseplate often includes a map-reading magnifier, lighting components for low light conditions, and various scales for use around the world.

The motherboard compass is suitable for drawing, but the lack of advanced aiming features makes it difficult to detect a distant object.

2. Card Compass

The chart compass or nautical compass, commonly used on ships and boats, differs from most other compasses in that it uses a fixed needle, which relies on a movable compass map to read directions.

Because the moving map absorbs most of the vessel’s movement, it is easier to read than a needle compass.

3. Thumb Compass

Competitors in various orienteering sports quite use thumb compasses, also known as competition compasses.

The compass sticks to the user’s thumb, allowing the competitor to hold the map and compass in one hand while traveling at high speed, whether on foot, bicycle or canoe.

4. Lensatic compass

The Lensatic Compass consists of three primary parts. The base forms the body of the compass and contains the needle, dial, and rotating scale.

The cover includes an observation cable and protects the compass when closed. The rear lens is ejected when the compass is opened and used to read the dial.

The US military often uses accurate compasses designed to be sturdy.

5. Prismatic compass

The Prismatic Compass is a complex device designed for high-precision navigation. The target prism layout allows the user to read the compass direction while observing distant objects.

6. Gyrocompass

According to the Navis website, the gyro uses the force of gravity on a spinning wheel so that the wheel’s axis always seeks a line from north to south.

This sophisticated compass always finds true north, not magnetic north. It is also not affected by external magnetic fields, unlike magnetic compasses.

Most large seagoing vessels use a gyroscope as part of their navigation system.

7. Electronic compass

Electronic compasses provide guidance in digital reading. They provide reasonably accurate readings and include several unique features, including the ability to store instructions in memory and the ability to notify users if they deviate from the course.

However, electronic compasses are not ideal for working with maps. They also need a power source, which makes reliability an issue.

8. Astrocompass

Astrocompass uses the positions of various astronomical bodies to search true north. It is applicable in polar regions where magnetic compasses and gyroscopes are unreliable. Uses the current time and geographic position as latitude and longitude.

Based on this information, each astronomical object with a known position is observed to give an extremely accurate reading.

9. Qibla compass

Muslims use the Qibla compass to point the way to Mecca so that they know who to turn to while they pray.

10. Solid-state compasses

These solid-state compasses are found in electrical devices. They frequently have two or three magnetic field sensors from which the microprocessor reads orientation data from the device.

They are usually found on watches, cell phones, and tablets.

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