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Bearings are simply a way of giving directions (a bit more accurately than just relying on North, South, East and West!).

If they are given with a distance as well then you have an exact position.


1. Bearings are always measured from North, which is 0000 (or 3600). Always draw a North line at each point to give a guide for your protractor.

2. They are always measured clockwise and must have three figures. So East is 0900, South is 1800 and West is 2700.

If you are given the bearing and position of something from a point and asked to mark it in (after which you may be asked to measure something else) then here's what you do:

1. Draw a North line at the point you are measuring from.

2. Put your protractor on this point and line up 00 with the North line. Always lean right over the paper when you're doing this even though you might think you look a bit stupid!

3. Read round the protractor clockwise until you reach the angle you want and mark it with a pencil.

4. Draw a pencil line from the point you are measuring from right through your angle point.

5. Check your scale (if there is one) and measure the distance you need along this line. Put a cross to show your position.

Don't rub any of your pencil lines out. These help to show what you've done.

Here's the kind of diagram you might have for a ship which is 8 km away from a lighthouse on a bearing of 1250 using a scale of 1 cm = 1 km.


To measure the bearing of something, call it B, from something else, call it A, here's what you do:

1. Draw a North line at A (because that's where you're measuring from).

2. Draw a pencil line connecting A to B. This acts as a guide for your protractor!

3. Place your protractor on A and line up 00 with the North line.

4. Read round clockwise until you reach the line going to B. There's your Bearing! Don't forget to write it with three figures (if the angle is only two digits put a zero in front!).