Welcome to Compass Rose Art


Nautical Chart Compass RoseLearn All About Compass Rose, Its Types and Its Use As a Decor Item

Ever noticed a small figure on one of the four corners of a map, somewhere along the edges? One that depicts the cardinal directions of north, south, east, and west? This little drawing is known as a compass rose. Apart from maps, a compass rose is also commonly used in compasses, nautical charts, navigation systems, global-positioning systems, and even monuments to show the cardinal points along with their intermediate points. In most paper maps, the compass rose displays north pointing up, south pointing down, east pointing right, and west pointing left. The calibrated direction markings on a traditional magnetic compass can also be termed as compass rose.

Difference Between Compass and Compass Rose 

A compass and a compass rose are different from one another. A compass is a magnetic hand-held instrument that helps in determining the direction of magnetic north, and thus for navigation, by the means of a freely rotating needle. Whereas, compass rose is the diagram in the compass that displays the north, south, east, and west directions as initials N, S, E, and W respectively. The compass rose acts as a featured display on the compass, and other navigational systems too, guiding people on which direction they should be going in to reach a certain desired geographical location.


The Main Types of Compass Rose 

There are basically 4 types of compass roses demarcated on the basis of the number of principal winds they use:

4-point Compass Rose4 point compass rose

These compass roses showcase the 4 cardinal directions or basic winds of North, South, East, and West. The directions are all separated at an angle of 90 degrees from each other. This is the most basic type among all compass roses.


8-point Compass Rose

Most modern compass roses today are 8-point compass roses. This type of compass rose uses 8 principal winds, which include the 4 cardinal directions of North, South, East, and West, and also 4 ordinal, or intermediate, directions of Northeast, Southeast, Southwest, and Northwest. The ordinal directions, also known as inter-cardinal directions, lie halfway between the 4 cardinal directions. The angle of difference between any of these 8 principal winds is 45 degrees.

16-point Compass Rose16 point compass rose

When the angles between all of the 8 principal winds are bisected to get more intermediate points, you get a 16-point compass rose. These newly created intermediate compass points are called half-winds and are located at angles of difference of 22.5 degrees. The name of each half-wind is a combination of the principal winds between which it is lying, where the name of cardinal is followed by the name of ordinal. So, for instance, the name of half-wind between East cardinal direction and Northeast ordinal direction would be East-northeast, or ENE.

32-point Compass Rose32 point compass rose

A 32-point compass rose is formed by bisecting the angles even furthermore. The resulting intermediate points are known as quarter-winds which lie at 11.25 degrees of angles of difference. The names of the quarter-winds follow the reading pattern of X by Y, that translates to one quarter wind from X toward Y. Here X is 1 of the 8 principal winds and Y is 1 of the 2 neighboring cardinal directions.


Compass Rose for Decor 

A compass rose is more than just a functional object. It is also used as a decorative furnishing item in home and office decor. The reason that makes it a popular decor item is its intrinsic charm and simplicity. It is one of those decor accessories that can work well anywhere, whether it’s the living room, children’s bedroom, patio, kitchen, or porch. A compass rose in the form of a wall mounting can add an elegant and chic touch to any living space. Especially if someone wants to design their decor according to maritime theme, then using a compass rose can be a stunning addition to the whole theme. 

As one of the most distinctive wall decorative pieces, compass rose quickly catches the eye and piques the interest of the gazer. It can easily get the guests talking about and admiring the unique beauty that it is. It doesn’t matter if you’re a travel aficionado or not, you’ll still love how something so simple can at the same time be so ornate that it uplifts the look and feel of the entire room. 

Compass roses come in all sizes, colors, designs, styles, and materials. You have a wide range of options to choose from depending on what kind of visual appeal you want to render to your room. For example, if you are going after an all-Americana theme, then opt for a vintage-inspired compass rose. But if you have a contemporary theme going on, then look for simple, sleek, and metallic pieces that offer the modern look. 

Regardless of the way you use this nautical essential for your decor, you will find that it perfectly serves its purpose of being a remarkable and sophisticated decor item.