What is a compass?

Andrey Kresrerev
Andrey Kresrerev
February 19, 2015
What is a compass?

Almost everyone knows and represents what a compass looks like. However, certainly not everyone understands the principle of its action. Therefore, in this article we will look at what a compass is and what types of compasses are currently used.

A compass is a ground guidance aid that indicates the directions of the world using an arrow that operates under the influence of a magnetic, electromagnetic field, or gyroscope.

The first compass was invented in China and was a small tile on which the arrow was located, shaped like a spoon. This compass was made of magnetic iron ore and was used for fortune telling. The marine compass, which became the prototype of the land compass, appeared around the thirteenth century of our era in Europe.

Types of compasses

There are three main types of compass, namely magnetic compass, electromagnetic and gyro compass.

  • The principle of operation of the magnetic compass is based on the interaction of the field of permanent magnets of the device and the horizontal component of the magnetic field of our planet.In the magnetic compass, the needle always remains parallel to the direction of the magnetic field lines and is always directed north.
  • The electromagnetic compass uses an electric generator, in which the magnetic field of the planet plays the role of a stator. Rotor are several frames with windings.
  • As for the gyrocompass, its use is based on the use of a gyroscope. Now gyrocompasses are used everywhere in the navigation systems of ships, in aircraft, as well as airliners.