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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

what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
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Source:  OpenStax, Geography grade 8. OpenStax CNX. Sep 11, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11036/1.1
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