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Microlight » Navigation » Direction on the Earth

Direction on the Earth


  • Direction is defined as the course, track or line along which an object (eg an aircraft) can move along, or which must be taken by the object, to reach a destination, without reference to distance.
  • For precise navigation purposes, we use a circle and divide it into 360 degrees with True North at the top of the circle. 
  • This can be referred to as 000° or 360°. 
  • We then number each degree starting at True North going clockwise until we are back at True north again. 
  • Each degree we pass is expressed as a three-figure group, e.g. 045° (northeast), 180° (south), 345° (northwest) and so on.


 True North;

  • At any place, it is the direction along the earth's surface towards the geographic North Pole.


True Direction;

  • The direction measured with reference to True North.  It forms the basis of aviation maps and charts.


Magnetic North;

  • At any given place, it is the actual direction of the horizontal component of the earth’s local magnetic field to the north magnetic pole.


Magnetic direction;

  • The direction measured with reference to Magnetic North as indicated by the Magnetic Compass


The Cardinal Directions and the Inter-Cardinal Directions of the Earth;

  • The four cardinal directions are;
    • North (N), 360º or 000°
    • East (E), 090º
    • South (S), 180º and
    • West (W). 270º
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