Magnetic North and Declination
Magnetic north is of interest because it is the direction indicated as north on a properly functioning (but uncorrected) magnetic compass. The difference between it and true north is called the magnetic declination (or simply the declination where the context is clear). For many purposes and physical circumstances, the error in direction that results from ignoring the distinction is tolerable; in others a mental or instrument compensation, based on assumed knowledge of the applicable declination, can solve all the problems. But simple generalizations on the subject should be treated as unsound, and as likely to reflect popular misconceptions about terrestrial magnetism.
Maps intended for usage in orienteering by compass will clearly indicate the local declination for easy correction to true north. Maps may also indicate grid north, which is a navigational term referring to the direction northwards along the grid lines of a map projection.
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Famous quotes containing the words magnetic and/or north:
“We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
“Exporting Church employees to Latin America masks a universal and unconscious fear of a new Church. North and South American authorities, differently motivated but equally fearful, become accomplices in maintaining a clerical and irrelevant Church. Sacralizing employees and property, this Church becomes progressively more blind to the possibilities of sacralizing person and community.”
—Ivan Illich (b. 1926)