Introduction
Navigating through the streets of a city can be a simple affair. 'Take the third street on your right. Go straight over at the first set of traffic lights, and take a left at the second set onto the bridge'.
When there are no set paths to follow, navigation becomes a little more difficult. Think about finding your way through thick jungle or sailing across the ocean to a coast line that you can't even see. In such cases we need maps and some idea of distance and direction. We will be looking at just such information in this unit.
Navigating through the streets of a city can be a simple affair. 'Take the third street on your right. Go straight over at the first set of traffic lights, and take a left at the second set onto the bridge'.
When there are no set paths to follow, navigation becomes a little more difficult. Think about finding your way through thick jungle or sailing across the ocean to a coast line that you can't even see. In such cases we need maps and some idea of distance and direction. We will be looking at just such information in this unit.
Compass points
The four main, or cardinal, compass points are north, south, east, and west. The directions between these are called northeast,
southeast, southwest, and northwest. These are the directions that are represented on compasses and maps.However, even eight compass points do not provide the level of precision required by many navigators. We can double the number of directions by creating more 'inbetween' points. Halfway between north and northeast we have northnortheast, for example.
When we look at a compass with all these directions marked, it may seem that we have enough points to direct, say, a ship accurately. But there are many occasions when we need to refer much more accurately to the direction between two points.
To give greater directional precision, we split the compass into 360 degrees. This provides just the same accuracy that we have with
angle
An angle is a measure of turning. Angles are measured in degrees. The symbol for an angle is .
angle measurements.Direction using bearings
One way of using degrees with compass directions is to measure clockwise or anticlockwise from north or south. For instance,
look at the following map.
The information that we see above can be represented in words in the following way:
'The road extends in a direction N34°W from the hotel.'
'N34°W' is shorthand for '34 degrees measured from north in a westerly direction'. When giving bearings in this way, the angle is always measured from north or south, never from east or west.
This is a useful way of giving directions, but it is a little more complicated than it needs to be. Why not standardize the angle which is measured and where it is measured from? In fact, this is what is usually done. Bearings are generally given as a threefigure angle that is measured clockwise from north.
So east has a
bearing
A bearing is the direction (as an angle measured clockwise from north) that a point lies from a given location. It is usually
given as a threefigure bearing, e.g. 087°.bearing of 090°, south has a bearing of 180°, and west has a bearing of 270°.Look at the radar screen below. Click on the button and use the protractor to answer the question.
Direction and distance
Giving a direction is not always enough to direct someone to a position. Sometimes a distance is needed too. For example,
if a ship needs to be directed to the site of a shipwreck, there might be no visible landmarks, so the captain would need
to know how far to go in a particular direction.
Fig.8 shows a survey ship that must clear the straits and arrive safely at a place designated for a geological survey. Use
the directions given here to guide the ship to its destination. If you follow them accurately enough, you will be told that
you have arrived at the correct position. Click on the dot representing your ship to begin the journey.85 km at 333° 
90 km at 029° 
95 km at 068° 
60 km at 141° 
95 km at 111° 
70 km at 134° 
45 km at 173° 
If somebody travels 20 km at a bearing of 240° from a pointP to a pointQ, can we work out how they should return to their original position? If we put this information into diagrammatic form, we can find the answer.
Since the two northpointing lines are
parallel
Two lines, curves or planes are said to be parallel if the perpendicular distance between them is always the same.parallel we know that:

Since is the bearing from Q to P, we know that the person will need to travel at a bearing of 060° for 20 km to return to P. If 240° is the forward bearing from P to Q, then 060° is known as the backbearing from Q to P.
In the figure below the forward bearings (A to B, C to D, E to F ) are marked.
Do you notice anything about the forward and
backbearing
A backbearing provides a return direction for a given bearing, e.g. 080° is the backbearing of 260°.backbearing pairs? In fact, there is always a difference of 180° between them. Construct a few examples for yourself to verify this.Triangulation
We don't always need to start off knowing the exact distance of a position from a fixed point to be able to locate it. For
instance, imagine you are trying to make a map of a dense area of rainforest.There is rumour of a lost temple in the heart of the forest. You and your companions can see the temple's towers rising above the forest from each of the two mountain peaks that overlook the area. However, on descending into the forest to find it, the thick vegetation and uneven land make judging distance impossible and the temple remains undiscovered.
With a little thought, however, its location can be pinpointed. Taking bearings of the position of the temple from each of the peaks and marking them on the map, we see that they cross only at one point. So this must be the site of the temple and we can mark it on our map.
This process of finding an unknown position from the bearings of this point taken from two known positions is called triangulation.
Try your hand at triangulation with the following example. You are sailing a ship in dangerous waters around a rocky cape and need to find your exact position to avoid disaster. To check the readings from your instruments, you ask the two lighthouses marked on the map in Fig.12 below to give you simultaneous measurements of your bearing from their positions. These are 124° from lighthouse A and 194° from lighthouse B. Move and rotate the lines given to find out exactly which of the three marked positions is your own.
In practice, it is a good idea to take bearings from three or more known locations, as this improves the accuracy of the triangulation.
Summary
Bearings can be given in the form N30°W (meaning 30° from north measured in a westerly direction).
Bearings are more usually given in the form 330° (meaning 330° from north measured in a clockwise direction).
For every bearing there is a backbearing that represents the bearing required to return to the original position.
Pinpointing an unknown position by measuring its bearing from two or more known positions is called triangulation.
Bearings can be given in the form N30°W (meaning 30° from north measured in a westerly direction).
Bearings are more usually given in the form 330° (meaning 330° from north measured in a clockwise direction).
For every bearing there is a backbearing that represents the bearing required to return to the original position.
Pinpointing an unknown position by measuring its bearing from two or more known positions is called triangulation.
Well done!
Try again!