Types of modern compases


A compass is an instrument used to identify the direction of horizontal component of the magnetic field of the earth at any point of observation. Residents of many countries were used a compass to navigate for many centuries.

There is a diagram called as a compass rose used to show all four directions on the compass face as abbreviated N S E and W to represent north, south, east and west directions. The following details assist you know about compass history and types.

Classic compass

Compass history

The first compass was made of Iodestone that is naturally magnetized of ore of iron. This compass was used in ancient Han dynasty in China.  In the 11th century, the compass was used for navigation.  All dry compasses began to appear around 1300 in Islamic world and Medieval Europe.

The north end of any compass magnet is automatically drawn to align with the magnetic field of the earth. This is because North Pole magnetic of earth attracts north ends of other magnets.

Compass types

There are loads of compasses available worldwide in our time. These compasses are mainly categorized into the following.Classic marine compass

  • Magnetic compass
  • Gyro compass

A magnetic compass has a magnetic element in terms of a card or a needle to align itself with magnetic lines of magnetic field of the earth to the magnetic poles of the earth.

On the other hand, a gyro compass has a spinning wheel that can be spun rapidly. The rotation of this spinning wheel interacts with the earth’s rotation as long as rotation’s axis is parallel with the earth’s rotational poles.  This company is recognized worldwide because it points to the real poles of the earth almost immediately.

Liquid compass

A liquid compass has a card or needle with magnetic nature is fully immersed in fluid.  The main benefit of this liquid compass is its design to lessen excessive swing and wobble. This compass enhances the overall readability and reduces wear.

A card compass

A card compass is also known as a marine compass. This is because this compass is used on boat. The moving card in this compass absorbs the maximum motion of a boat and easy to read better than a usual needle compass. There is a fixed needle and compass card mounted in the fluid in this compass. This element rotates as per orientation.


Astro compass uses positions of different astronomical bodies to find the real north. This compass is mostly used in Polar Regions. This is because unreliable nature of other compasses in Polar Regions. This compass uses the present time as well as geographical position by using latitude and longitude.

GPS compass

Global Positioning System (GPS) compass efficiently use satellites in the geo synchronous orbit over the earth and shows accurate location as well as the direction of movement of its user.

Qibla compass

Qibla compass is used by Muslims worldwide to findQibla compass
out the direction to Mecca and pray in such direction as convenient as possible.

Solid state compass

A solid state compass is found in almost every advanced electric device. There are more than a couple of magnetic field sensors in this compass. Microprocessor reads data regarding the device’s orientation from such sensors.