Online Google Maps Compass Application

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Types of bearings used in land navigation

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There are four types of bearings most commonly used in land navigation:
  • true bearings.
  • grid bearings.
  • magnetic bearings.
  • compass bearings.
A true bearing is measured using the direction toward the geographic north pole as a reference point.

A grid bearing is measured using the direction northwards along the grid lines of the map projection as a reference point.

A magnetic bearing is measured in relation to magnetic north, using the direction toward the magnetic north pole (in northeastern Canada) as a reference point.

A compass bearing uses magnetic north as a reference point, adjusted to compensate for the magnetic variation or declination between magnetic and geographic north.