We have probably all at some point, either in school, or in scouting, or just on a road trip come upon a time when we’ve needed to use a compass. (Or maybe not, if you own a smartphone and were born in the 2000s!) But regardless, even google maps uses the system of the compass to navigate you to your chosen destination.
Originally invented by the Chinese using lodestone, the compass was first used for divination – only later in the Song dynasty was it adopted for navigation. In Western Europe, the compass appeared in Italy along the Amalfi Coast in the 14th Century (possibly brought by the Chinese via trade or shipping). A large challenge of the compass was the difference between “true north” and “magnetic north” and how these applied to navigation. Learn more about magnetic declination.
Although we have mostly replaced direct compass navigation with GPS & other tools, it is still a useful skill and can be learned fairly easily.
Do you know how to use a compass to navigate?