Cardinal Directions and Ordinal Directions

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Cardinal directions are the four main points of a compass: north, south, east, and west which are also known by the first letters: N,S,E, and W.  These four directions are also known as cardinal points.  A cardinal direction can also be referred to by first using the word “due”.  For example, the cardinal direction of north can also be referred to as due north.

Ordinal directions refer to the direction found at the point equally between each cardinal direction.  Ordinal directions are: northeast (NE), southeast (SE), southwest (SW), and northwest (NW).  Ordinal directions are also known as intercardinal directions.

Directions midway between each cardinal and ordinal direction are referred to as secondary-intercardinal directions.  Examples of  secondary-intercardinal directions are: NNW, NNE, and ENE.

Compass rose showing cardinal, ordinal, and secondary-intercardinal directions.

Compass rose showing cardinal, ordinal, and secondary-intercardinal directions.

 

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Geocentric Direction Systems
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Understanding Direction Based on the Sun
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