<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

Social sciences


Grade 8


Module 11

Direction and bearing

1. Why should we be able to read a map?

A map is a reduction of reality as it seen perpendicularly from above and drawn to a certain scale. The scale indicates the number of times by which reality is reduced.

A good map provides information with regard to location, direction, distance, relief, routes and more. The reader can therefore read the information with ease and draw precise conclusions from it.

The series of 1:50 000 topographic maps of South Africa will be used for our studies. This is a collection of maps that cover the whole of South Africa. Each map in the series has a number to indicate its exact location and what its coordinates are. (see section 2.2.3)

A topographic map does not present phenomena of the landscape only, but also pictures the topography (relief) of the landscape by means of contour lines (see section 2.5.3).

These maps are all drawn to a scale of 1:50 000. This means that each centimetre on the map in reality represents 50 000 centimetres of the landscape. The true size is therefore reduced 50 times (see section 2.4).

To be able to read the map, you have to know and understand the symbols that are used in mapping (see section 2.5).

2. The basic elements of a map

2.1 Direction and Bearing

To be useful, a map needs to indicate the direction in which North is located. If such an indication is missing, the map must be rotated to make it readable, i.e. to have words running from left to right. This will position the northern part of the map in the position that is furthest from the reader.

2.1.1 Direction

The position of different places on the map in respect of one another can be determined by

The direction of the compass

Activity 1:

Complete figure 2 by labelling the 16 main compass points.

[lo 1.1]

Always take careful note of the point FROM which and the point TO which you have to work.


What is the direction FROM A to B = ENE

What is the direction FROM B to C = S

What is the direction FROM C to D = W

What is the direction FROM C to A = NW

What is the direction FROM B to D = SW

What is the direction FROM D to A = NNW

What is the direction FROM A to D = SSE

2.1.2 Bearing

Bearing is a more accurate measurement that direction, because it is expressed as an ANGLE.

All bearings are taken to the right (clockwise) from NORTH by means of a protractor.

Take good note of the points FROM which and TO which you have to work to determine bearing.

The steps you have to take are:

Connect the relevant points by means of a pencilled line.

Draw the line to North through the point FROM which you have to take the measurement.

Position the protractor by placing 0º against the north line, with the centre on the point from which you have to measure.

Measure the angle from the north line to the connecting line (pencilled line of Step 1) to the right (clockwise).

Example 1:

What is the bearing from A to B?

Example 2:

What is the bearing from A to B?

Activity 2:

Study the map and calculate the direction and the bearing.

[lo 1.1]

What is the direction?
a) From A to B?
b) From C to B?
c) From C to D?
d) From D to E?
e) From E to B?
What is the bearing?
a) From A to B?
b) From C to B?
c) From C to D?
d) From D to E?
e) From E to B?


Learning Outcomes(LOs)
LO 1
Geographical EnquiryThe learner will be able to use enquiry skills to investigate geographical and environmental concepts and processes.
Assessment Standards(ASs)
We know this when the learner:
  • identifies and selects a variety of
geographical and environmental sourcesthat are relevant to the research;
  • interprets information from maps and
atlases, as well as graphic and statisticalsources;
  • calculates distance from maps and
compares it to real distance;
  • identifies physical features and features
created by people and aerial photographsand maps.




The Direction

  1. SW
  2. WSW
  3. ENE
  4. SSW
  5. WNW

The bearing is

  1. 180 + 33 = ± 213º
  2. 180 69 = 249º
  3. ± 75º
  4. ± 23º
  5. ± 94º

Questions & Answers

a perfect square v²+2v+_
Dearan Reply
kkk nice
Abdirahman Reply
algebra 2 Inequalities:If equation 2 = 0 it is an open set?
Kim Reply
or infinite solutions?
Embra Reply
if |A| not equal to 0 and order of A is n prove that adj (adj A = |A|
Nancy Reply
rolling four fair dice and getting an even number an all four dice
ramon Reply
Kristine 2*2*2=8
Bridget Reply
Differences Between Laspeyres and Paasche Indices
Emedobi Reply
No. 7x -4y is simplified from 4x + (3y + 3x) -7y
Mary Reply
is it 3×y ?
Joan Reply
J, combine like terms 7x-4y
Bridget Reply
im not good at math so would this help me
Rachael Reply
how did I we'll learn this
Noor Reply
f(x)= 2|x+5| find f(-6)
Prince Reply
f(n)= 2n + 1
Samantha Reply
Need to simplify the expresin. 3/7 (x+y)-1/7 (x-1)=
Crystal Reply
. After 3 months on a diet, Lisa had lost 12% of her original weight. She lost 21 pounds. What was Lisa's original weight?
Chris Reply
preparation of nanomaterial
Victor Reply
Yes, Nanotechnology has a very fast field of applications and their is always something new to do with it...
Himanshu Reply
can nanotechnology change the direction of the face of the world
Prasenjit Reply
At high concentrations (>0.01 M), the relation between absorptivity coefficient and absorbance is no longer linear. This is due to the electrostatic interactions between the quantum dots in close proximity. If the concentration of the solution is high, another effect that is seen is the scattering of light from the large number of quantum dots. This assumption only works at low concentrations of the analyte. Presence of stray light.
Ali Reply
the Beer law works very well for dilute solutions but fails for very high concentrations. why?
bamidele Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
Got questions? Join the online conversation and get instant answers!
QuizOver.com Reply

Get the best Algebra and trigonometry course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, Geography grade 8. OpenStax CNX. Sep 11, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11036/1.1
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Geography grade 8' conversation and receive update notifications?