When it comes to orienteering, the compass becomes an indispensable assistant. A compass is a device that allows you to determine the cardinal points and the correct direction of movement using the constant magnetic field of the Earth. True, in order for the compass to really be an assistant in orientation, it is important to be able to use it correctly, otherwise there is a chance to choose the wrong direction.
The principle of the compass is its ability to indicate the cardinal points: north, south, west, east. The compass is usually equipped with one or two arrows. If there is only one arrow, then it will always point to the north. If the compass has two arrows, the one that points to the north is marked in blue, or made shorter. The red arrow will point south.
Sometimes the north arrow is in the shape of an arrow, but in any case it will be highlighted. Having determined the northern direction, you can orient yourself according to the cardinal points: the south direction will be directly opposite to the north, east to the right of the north, and west to the left.
In order to fix the position of the arrow, the compass has a special brake lever. This feature makes it much easier to use the compass in the field.
In order to accurately determine the location of the cardinal points, you need to make sure that the compass is strictly horizontal, and its arrows do not touch the inner surfaces of the compass. The compass lock must be removed, the arrow must rotate freely. There should be no iron objects near the compass, and no power lines in the immediate vicinity of the place of use, since they affect the distortion of the magnetic field, and, consequently, the readings of the device. Subject to these rules, the compass will always indicate the north direction, wherever you are at that moment.
Before using the compass in a real-world environment, a basic functional test must be performed. To check, the compass is placed horizontally, removed from the retainer, and waited until the arrow points to the north. Then you need to bring any iron object to the compass. The needle will deflect as the magnetic field is distorted. After the iron is removed, the arrow should return to its original position. This is a sign that the compass is working properly and that its readings are reliable.