Cardinal direction

The four cardinal directions, or cardinal points, are the directions north, east, south, and west, commonly denoted by their initials N, E, S, and W. East and west are perpendicular (at right angles) to north and south, with east being in the clockwise direction of rotation from north and west being directly opposite east. Points between the cardinal directions form the points of the compass.

The intercardinal (also called the intermediate directions and, historically, ordinal) directions are northeast (NE), southeast (SE), southwest (SW), and northwest (NW). The intermediate direction of every set of intercardinal and cardinal direction is called a secondary intercardinal direction, the eight shortest points in the compass rose that is shown to the right (e.g. NNE, ENE, and ESE).

Brosen windrose
A compass rose showing the four cardinal directions, the four intercardinal directions, and eight more divisions.

Locating the directions

Direction versus bearing

Polar bears near the Pole
Latitude circles near the North Pole are shown in red. For A and B to face each other, A has to look East but B not to the West. If B were to look West, she would see a bear eyeing her as his next meal. For A and C to face each other, both would have to face North.

To keep to a bearing is not, in general, the same as going in a straight direction along a great circle. Conversely, one can keep to a great circle and the bearing may change. Thus the bearing of a straight path crossing the North Pole changes abruptly at the Pole from North to South. When travelling East or West, it is only on the Equator that one can keep East or West and be going straight (without the need to steer). Anywhere else, maintaining latitude requires a change in direction, requires steering. However, this change in direction becomes increasingly negligible as one moves to lower latitudes.

Magnetic compass

Compass and map
A compass and map

The Earth has a magnetic field which is approximately aligned with its axis of rotation. A magnetic compass is a device that uses this field to determine the cardinal directions. Magnetic compasses are widely used, but only moderately accurate. The north pole of the magnetic needle points towards the geographic north pole of the earth and vice versa. This is because the geographic north pole of the earth lies very close to the magnetic south pole of the earth. This south magnetic pole of the earth located at an angle of 17 degrees to the geographic north pole attracts the north pole of the magnetic needle and vice versa.

The Sun

The position of the Sun in the sky can be used for orientation if the general time of day is known. In the morning the Sun rises roughly in the east (due east only on the equinoxes) and tracks upwards. In the evening it sets in the west, again roughly and only due west exactly on the equinoxes. In the middle of the day, it is to the south for viewers in the Northern Hemisphere, who live north of the Tropic of Cancer, and the north for those in the Southern Hemisphere, who live south of the Tropic of Capricorn. This method does not work very well when closer to the equator (i.e. between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn) since, in the northern hemisphere, the sun may be directly overhead or even to the north in summer. Conversely, at low latitudes in the southern hemisphere the sun may be to the south of the observer in summer. In these locations, one needs first to determine whether the sun is moving from east to west through north or south by watching its movements—left to right means it is going through south while the right to left means it is going through north; or one can watch the sun's shadows. If they move clockwise, the sun will be in the south at midday, and if they move anticlockwise, then the sun will be in the north at midday.

Because of the Earth's axial tilt, no matter what the location of the viewer, there are only two days each year when the sun rises precisely due east. These days are the equinoxes. On all other days, depending on the time of year, the sun rises either north or south of true east (and sets north or south of true west). For all locations, the sun is seen to rise north of east (and set north of west) from the Northward equinox to the Southward equinox, and rise south of east (and set south of west) from the Southward equinox to the Northward equinox.

Watch dial

Using watch and sun as compass
A method to identify north and south directions using the sun and a 12-hour analogue clock or watch set to the local time, 10:10 a.m. in this example.

There is a traditional method by which an analogue watch can be used to locate north and south. The Sun appears to move in the sky over a 24-hour period while the hour hand of a 12-hour clock dial takes twelve hours to complete one rotation. In the northern hemisphere, if the watch is rotated so that the hour hand points toward the Sun, the point halfway between the hour hand and 12 o'clock will indicate south. For this method to work in the southern hemisphere, the 12 is pointed toward the Sun and the point halfway between the hour hand and 12 o'clock will indicate north. During daylight saving time, the same method can be employed using 1 o'clock instead of 12. The difference between local time and zone time, the equation of time, and (near the tropics) the non-uniform change of the Sun's azimuth at different times of day limit the accuracy of this method.

Sundial

A portable sundial can be used as a more accurate instrument than a watch for determining the cardinal directions. Since the design of a sundial takes account of the latitude of the observer, it can be used at any latitude. See: Sundial#Using a sundial as a compass.

Astronomy

Astronomy provides a method for finding direction at night. All the stars appear to lie on the imaginary Celestial sphere. Because of the rotation of the Earth, the Celestial Sphere appears to rotate around an axis passing through the North and South poles of the Earth. This axis intersects the Celestial Sphere at the North and South Celestial poles, which appear to the observer to lie directly above due North and South respectively on the horizon.

In either hemisphere, observations of the night sky show that the visible stars appear to be moving in circular paths, caused by the rotation of the Earth. This is best seen in a long exposure photograph, which is obtained by locking the shutter open for most of the intensely dark part of a moonless night. The resulting photograph reveals a multitude of concentric arcs (portions of perfect circles) from which the exact center can be readily derived, and which corresponds to the Celestial pole, which lies directly above the position of the true pole (North or South) on the horizon. A published photograph exposed for nearly 8 hours demonstrates this effect.

The Northern Celestial pole is currently (but not permanently) within a fraction of 1 degree of the bright star Polaris. The exact position of the pole changes over thousands of years because of the precession of the equinoxes. Polaris is also known as the North Star, and is generically called a pole star or lodestar. Polaris is only visible during fair weather at night to inhabitants of the Northern Hemisphere. The asterism "Big Dipper" may be used to find Polaris. The 2 corner stars of the "pan" (those opposite from the handle) point above the top of the "pan" to Polaris.

While observers in the Northern hemisphere can use the star Polaris to determine the Northern celestial pole, the Octans constellation's South Star is hardly visible enough to use for navigation. For this reason, the preferred alternative is to use the constellation Crux (The Southern Cross). The southern celestial pole lies at the intersection of (a) the line along the long axis of crux (i.e. through Alpha Crucis and Gamma Crucis) and (b) a line perpendicularly bisecting the line joining the "Pointers" (Alpha Centauri and Beta Centauri).

Gyrocompass

At the very end of the 19th century, in response to the development of battleships with large traversable guns that affected magnetic compasses, and possibly to avoid the need to wait for fair weather at night to precisely verify one's alignment with true north, the gyrocompass was developed for shipboard use. Since it finds true, rather than magnetic, north, it is immune to interference by local or shipboard magnetic fields. Its major disadvantage is that it depends on technology that many individuals might find too expensive to justify outside the context of a large commercial or military operation. It also requires a continuous power supply for its motors, and that it can be allowed to sit in one location for a period of time while it properly aligns itself.

Satellite navigation

Near the end of the 20th century, the advent of satellite-based Global Positioning Systems (GPS) provided yet another means for any individual to determine true north accurately. While GPS Receivers (GPSRs) function best with a clear view of the entire sky, they function day or night, and in all but the most severe weather. The government agencies responsible for the satellites continuously monitor and adjust them to maintain their accurate alignment with the Earth. There are consumer versions of the receivers that are attractively priced. Since there are no periodic access fees, or other licensing charges, they have become widely used. GPSR functionality is becoming more commonly added to other consumer devices such as mobile phones. Handheld GPSRs have modest power requirements, can be shut down as needed, and recalibrate within a couple of minutes of being restarted. In contrast with the gyrocompass which is most accurate when stationary, the GPS receiver, if it has only one antenna, must be moving, typically at more than 0.1 mph (0.2 km/h), to correctly display compass directions. On ships and aircraft, GPS receivers are often equipped with two or more antennas, separately attached to the vehicle. The exact latitudes and longitudes of the antennas are determined, which allows the cardinal directions to be calculated relative to the structure of the vehicle. Within these limitations GPSRs are considered both accurate and reliable. The GPSR has thus become the fastest and most convenient way to obtain a verifiable alignment with the cardinal directions.

Additional points

Cardinal points (in degrees)

The directional names are routinely associated with the degrees of rotation in the unit circle, a necessary step for navigational calculations (derived from trigonometry) and/or for use with Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) receivers. The four cardinal directions correspond to the following degrees of a compass:

  • North (N): 0° = 360°
  • East (E): 90°
  • South (S): 180°
  • West (W): 270°

Intercardinal directions

The intercardinal (intermediate, or, historically, ordinal[1]) directions are the four intermediate compass directions located halfway between each pair of cardinal directions.

  • Northeast (NE), 45°, halfway between north and east, is the opposite of southwest.
  • Southeast (SE), 135°, halfway between south and east, is the opposite of northwest.
  • Southwest (SW), 225°, halfway between south and west, is the opposite of northeast.
  • Northwest (NW), 315°, halfway between north and west, is the opposite of southeast.

Other

These eight directional names have been further compounded, resulting in a total of 32 named points evenly spaced around the compass: north (N), north by east (NbE), north-northeast (NNE), northeast by north (NEbN), northeast (NE), northeast by east (NEbE), east-northeast (ENE), east by north (EbN), east (E), etc.

Usefulness of cardinal points

With the cardinal points thus accurately defined, by convention cartographers draw standard maps with north (N) at the top, and east (E) at the right. In turn, maps provide a systematic means to record where places are, and cardinal directions are the foundation of a structure for telling someone how to find those places.

North does not have to be at the top. Most maps in medieval Europe, for example, placed east (E) at the top.[2] A few cartographers prefer south-up maps. Many portable GPS-based navigation computers today can be set to display maps either conventionally (N always up, E always right) or with the current instantaneous direction of travel, called the heading, always up (and whatever direction is +90° from that to the right).

Beyond geography

In mathematics, cardinal directions or cardinal points are the six principal directions or points along the x-, y- and z-axis of three-dimensional space.

In the real world there are six cardinal directions not involved with geography which are north, south, east, west, up and down. In this context, up and down relate to elevation, altitude, or possibly depth (if water is involved). The topographic map is a special case of cartography in which the elevation is indicated on the map, typically via contour lines.

In astronomy, cardinal points of the disk of an astronomical body may be four points defined by the direction in which the celestial poles are located, as seen from the center of the disk.[3][4]

A line (here it is a great circle on the celestial sphere) drawn from the center of the disk to the North celestial pole will intersect the body's limb at the North point. Similarly, a line from the center to the South celestial pole will define the South point by its intersection with the limb. The points at right angles to the North and South points are the East and West points. The North point will then be the point on the limb that is closest to the North celestial pole.

Germanic origin of names

During the Migration Period, the Germanic languages' names for the cardinal directions entered the Romance languages, where they replaced the Latin names borealis (or septentrionalis) with north, australis (or meridionalis) with south, occidentalis with west and orientalis with east. It is possible that some northern people used the Germanic names for the intermediate directions. Medieval Scandinavian orientation would thus have involved a 45 degree rotation of cardinal directions.[5]

  • north (Proto-Germanic *norþ-) from the proto-Indo-European *nórto-s 'submerged' from the root *ner- 'left, below, to the left of the rising sun' whence comes the Ancient Greek name Nereus.[6]
  • east (*aus-t-) from the word for dawn. The proto-Indo-European form is *austo-s from the root *aues- 'shine (red)'.[7] See Ēostre.
  • south (*sunþ-), derived from proto-Indo-European *sú-n-to-s from the root *seu- 'seethe, boil'.[8] Cognate with this root is the word Sun, thus "the region of the Sun".
  • west (*wes-t-) from a word for "evening". The proto-Indo-European form is *uestos from the root *ues- 'shine (red)',[9] itself a form of *aues-.[10] Cognate with the root are the Latin words vesper and vesta and the Ancient Greek Hestia, Hesperus and Hesperides.

Cultural variations

In many regions of the world, prevalent winds change direction seasonally, and consequently many cultures associate specific named winds with cardinal and intercardinal directions. For example, classical Greek culture characterized these winds as Anemoi.

In pre-modern Europe more generally, between eight and 32 points of the compass – cardinal and intercardinal subdirections – were given names. These often corresponded to the directional winds of the Mediterranean Sea (for example, south-east was linked to the Sirocco, a wind from the Sahara).

Particular colors are associated in some traditions with the cardinal points. These are typically "natural colors" of human perception rather than optical primary colors.

Many cultures, especially in Asia, include the center as a fifth cardinal point.

Northern Eurasia

Northern Eurasia N E S W C Source
Slavic [11]
China [12][13]
Ainu [14][15]
Turkic [14]
Kalmyks [16]
Tibet [14]

Central Asian, Eastern European and North East Asian cultures frequently have traditions associating colors with four or five cardinal points.

Systems with five cardinal points include those from pre-modern China, as well as traditional Turkic, Tibetan and Ainu cultures.

In Chinese tradition, a five cardinal point system is a foundation for I Ching, the Wu Xing and the five naked-eye planets. In traditional Chinese astrology, the zodiacal belt is divided into the four constellation groups corresponding to the four cardinal directions.

Each direction is often identified with a color, and (at least in China) with a mythological creature of that color. Geographical or ethnic terms may contain the name of the color instead of the name of the corresponding direction.[12][13]

Examples

East: Green ( "qīng" corresponds to both green and blue); Spring; Wood

Qingdao (Tsingtao) "Green Island": a city on the east coast of China
Green Ukraine

South: Red; Summer; Fire

Red River (Asia): south of China
Red Ruthenia
Red Jews: a semi-mythological group of Jews
Red Croatia

West: White; Autumn; Metal

White Sheep Turkmen
Akdeniz, meaning White Sea: Mediterranean Sea in Turkish
Balts, Baltic words containing the stem balt-, "white"
White Ruthenia
White Croatia

North: Black; Winter; Water

Heilongjiang "Black Dragon River" province in Northeast China, also the Amur River
Kara-Khitan Khanate "Black Khitans" who originated in Northern China
Black Hungarians
Black Ruthenia

Center: Yellow; Earth

Huangshan: "Yellow Mountain" in central China
Huang He: "Yellow River" in central China
Golden Horde: "Central Army" of the Mongols

Arabic world

Countries where Arabic is used refer to the cardinal directions as Ash Shamal (N), Al Gharb (W), Ash Sharq (E) and Al Janoob (S). Additionally, Al Wusta is used for the center. All five are used for geographic subdivision names (wilayahs, states, regions, governorates, provinces, districts or even towns), and some are the origin of some Southern Iberian place names (such as Algarve, Portugal and Axarquía, Spain).

Native Americans

In Mesoamerica and North America, a number of traditional indigenous cosmologies include four cardinal directions and a center. Some may also include "above" and "below" as directions, and therefore focus on a cosmology of seven directions. Each direction may be associated with a color, which can vary widely between nations, but which is usually one of the basic colors found in nature and natural pigments, such as black, red, white, and yellow, with occasional appearances of blue, green, or other hues.[17] In some cases, e.g., many of the Puebloan peoples of the Southwestern United States, the four named directions are not North, South, East and West but are the four intermediate directions associated with the places of sunrise and sunset at the winter and summer solstices.[18][19] There can be great variety in color symbolism, even among cultures that are close neighbors geographically.

India

Ten Hindu deities, known as the "Dikpālas", have been recognized in classical Indian scriptures, symbolizing the four cardinal and four intercardinal directions with the additional directions of up and down. Each of the ten directions has its own name in Sanskrit.[20]

Indigenous Australia

Some indigenous Australians have cardinal directions deeply embedded in their culture. For example, the Warlpiri people have a cultural philosophy deeply connected to the four cardinal directions[21] and the Guugu Yimithirr people use cardinal directions rather than relative direction even when indicating the position of an object close to their body. (For more information, see: Cultural use of cardinal rather than relative direction.)

The precise direction of the cardinal points appears to be important in Aboriginal stone arrangements.

Many aboriginal languages contain words for the usual four cardinal directions, but some contain words for 5 or even 6 cardinal directions.[22]

Unique (non-compound) names of intercardinal directions

Ilmakaared+ilmansuunnat
Cardinal and non-compound intercardinal directions in Estonian and Finnish. Notice the intermixed "south" and "southwest".

In some languages, such as Estonian, Finnish and Breton, the intercardinal directions have names that are not compounds of the names of the cardinal directions (as, for instance, northeast is compounded from north and east). In Estonian, those are kirre (northeast), kagu (southeast), edel (southwest), and loe (northwest), in Finnish koillinen (northeast), kaakko (southeast), lounas (southwest), and luode (northwest). In Japanese, there is the interesting situation that native Japanese words (yamato kotoba, kun readings of kanji) are used for the cardinal directions (such as minami for 南, south), but borrowed Chinese words (on readings of kanji) are used for intercardinal directions (such as tō-nan for 東南, southeast, lit. "east-south"). In the Malay language, adding laut (sea) to either east (timur) or west (barat) results in northeast or northwest, respectively, whereas adding daya to west (giving barat daya) results in southwest. However, southeast has a special word: tenggara.

Sanskrit and other Indian languages that borrow from it use the names of the gods associated with each direction: east (Indra), southeast (Agni), south (Yama/Dharma), southwest (Nirrti), west (Varuna), northwest (Vayu), north (Kubera/Heaven) and northeast (Ishana/Shiva). North is associated with the Himalayas and heaven while the south is associated with the underworld or land of the fathers (Pitr loka). The directions are named by adding "disha" to the names of each god or entity: e.g. Indradisha (direction of Indra) or Pitrdisha (direction of the forefathers i.e. south).

The Hopi language and the Tewa dialect spoken by the Arizona Tewa have proper names for the solstitial directions, which are approximately intercardinal, rather than for the cardinal directions.[23][24]

Non-compass directional systems

Use of the compass directions is common and deeply embedded in European culture, and also in Chinese culture (see south-pointing chariot). Some other cultures make greater use of other referents, such as towards the sea or towards the mountains (Hawaii, Bali), or upstream and downstream (most notably in ancient Egypt, also in the Yurok and Karuk languages). Lengo (Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands) has four non-compass directions: landward, seaward, upcoast, and downcoast.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Ordinal directions refer to the direction found at the point equally between each cardinal direction," Cardinal Directions and Ordinal Directions, geolounge.com
  2. ^ Snyder's Medieval Art, 2nd ed. (ed. Luttikhuizen and Verkerk; Prentice Hall, 2006), pp. 226-7.
  3. ^ Rigge, W. F. "Partial eclipse of the moon, 1918, June 24". Popular Astronomy. 26: 373. Bibcode:1918PA.....26..373R. rigge1918
  4. ^ Meadows, Peter; meadows. "Solar Observing: Parallactic Angle". Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  5. ^ See e.g. Weibull, Lauritz. De gamle nordbornas väderstrecksbegrepp. Scandia 1/1928; Ekblom, R. Alfred the Great as Geographer. Studia Neophilologica 14/1941-2; Ekblom, R. Den forntida nordiska orientering och Wulfstans resa till Truso. Förnvännen. 33/1938; Sköld, Tryggve. Isländska väderstreck. Scripta Islandica. Isländska sällskapets årsbok 16/1965.
  6. ^ entries 765-66 of the Indogermanisches etymologisches Wörterbuch
  7. ^ entries 86-7 of the Indogermanisches etymologisches Wörterbuch
  8. ^ entries 914-15 of the Indogermanisches etymologisches Wörterbuch
  9. ^ entries 1173 of the Indogermanisches etymologisches Wörterbuch
  10. ^ entries 86-7 of the Indogermanisches etymologisches Wörterbuch
  11. ^ Ukrainian Soviet Encyclopedic dictionary, Kiev, 1987.
  12. ^ a b "Cardinal colors in Chinese tradition". Archived from the original on 21 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-17.
  13. ^ a b "Chinese Cosmogony". Archived from the original on 18 December 2010. Retrieved 17 February 2007.
  14. ^ a b c "Colors of the Four Directions". Retrieved 16 May 2010.
  15. ^ "Two Studies of Color". JSTOR 1264798. In Ainu... siwnin means both 'yellow' and 'blue' and hu means 'green' and 'red'
  16. ^ Krupp, E. C.: "Beyond the Blue Horizon: Myths and Legends of the Sun, Moon, Stars, and Planets", page 371. Oxford University Press, 1992
  17. ^ Anderson, Kasper Wrem; Helmke, Christophe (2013), "The Personifications of Celestial Water: The Many Guises of the Storm God in the Pantheon and Cosmology of Teotihuacan", Contributions in New World Archaeology, 5: 165–196, at pp. 177-179.
  18. ^ McCluskey, Stephen C. (2014), "Hopi and Puebloan Ethnoastronomy and Ethnoscience", in Ruggles, Clive L. N. (ed.), Handbook of Archaeoastronomy and Ethnoastronomy, New York: Springer Science+Business Media, pp. 649–658, doi:10.1007/978-1-4614-6141-8_48, ISBN 978-1-4614-6140-1
  19. ^ Curtis, Edward S. (1922), Hodge, Frederick Webb (ed.), The Hopi, The North American Indian, 12, Norwood, Mass.: The Plimpton Press, p. 246, retrieved 23 August 2014, Hopi orientation corresponds only approximately with ours, their cardinal points being marked by the solstitial rising and setting points of the sun.... Their cardinal points therefore are not mutually equidistant on the horizon and agree roughly with our semi-cardinal points.
  20. ^ H. Rodrigues (22 April 2016). "The Dikpalas". www.mahavidya.ca. Retrieved 12 August 2018.
  21. ^ Ngurra-kurlu: A way of working with Warlpiri people Pawu-Kurlpurlurnu WJ, Holmes M and Box L. 2008, Desert Knowledge CRC Report 41, Alice Springs
  22. ^ Orientations of linear stone arrangements in New South Wales Hamacher et al., 2013, Australian Archaeology, 75, 46-54
  23. ^ Stephen, Alexander MacGregor (1936), Parsons, Elsie Clews (ed.), Hopi Journal of Alexander M. Stephen, Columbia University Contributions to Anthropology, 23, New York: Columbia University Press, pp. 1190–1191, OCLC 716671864
  24. ^ Malotki, Ekkehart (1979), Hopi-Raum: Eine sprachwissenschaftliche Analyse der Raumvorstellungen in der Hopi-Sprache, Tübinger Beiträge zur Linguistik (in German), 81, Tübingen: Gunter Narr Verlag, p. 165, ISBN 3-87808-081-6
Anemoi

In ancient Greek religion and myth, the Anemoi (Greek: Ἄνεμοι, "Winds") were wind gods who were each ascribed a cardinal direction from which their respective winds came (see Classical compass winds), and were each associated with various seasons and weather conditions.

Balinese traditional house

Balinese traditional house refers to the traditional vernacular house of Balinese people in Bali, Indonesia. The Balinese traditional house follows a strict ancient architectural guide which is a product of a blend of Hindu and Buddhist beliefs, fused with Austronesian animism, resulting in a house that is "in harmony" with the law of the cosmos of Balinese Hinduism.

Buddhism in Taiwan

Buddhism is one of the major religions of Taiwan. Taiwanese people predominantly practice Mahayana Buddhism, Confucian principles, local practices and Taoist tradition. Roles for religious specialists from both Buddhist and Taoist traditions exist on special occasions such as for childbirth and funerals. Of these, a smaller number identify more specifically with Chinese Buddhist teachings and institutions, without necessarily eschewing practices from other Asian traditions. Around 35% of the population believes in Buddhism.Taiwanese government statistics distinguish Buddhism from Taoism, giving almost equal numbers for both. In 2005, the census recorded 8 million Buddhists and 7.6 million Taoists, out of a total population of 23 million. Many of Taiwan's self-declared "Taoists" actually observe the more syncretistic practices associated with Chinese traditional religion which is based on Buddhism. Self-avowed Buddhists may also be adherents of more localized faiths such as Yiguandao, which also emphasize Buddhist figures like Guanyin or Maitreya and espouse vegetarianism.

Distinguishing features of Taiwanese Buddhism is the emphasis on the practice of vegetarianism, the influence of Humanistic Buddhism, and the prominence of large centralized Buddhist organizations. Four Buddhist teachers who founded institutions that are particularly influential are popularly referred to as the "Four Heavenly Kings of Taiwanese Buddhism", one for each cardinal direction, with their corresponding institutions referred to as the "Four Great Mountains". They are:

North (Jinshan): Master Sheng-yen (聖嚴, d. 2009) of Dharma Drum Mountain (法鼓山)

South (Dashu): Master Hsing Yun (星雲) of Fo Guang Shan (佛光山)

East (Hualien): Master Cheng Yen (證嚴) of the Tzu Chi Foundation (慈濟基金會)

West (Nantou): Master Wei Chueh (惟覺, d. 2016) of Chung Tai Shan (中台山)Following the Chinese Civil War, Buddhism experienced a rapid increase in popularity in Taiwan, attributed to Taiwan's economic miracle following the war and several major Buddhist organizations promoting modern values such as equality, freedom and reason, which was attractive to the country's growing middle class. Taiwanese Buddhist institutions are known for their involvement in secular society, including the providing of a number of public goods and services such as colleges, hospitals and disaster relief.

Course (navigation)

In navigation, the course of a vessel or aircraft is the cardinal direction in which the craft is to be steered. The course is to be distinguished from the heading, which is the compass direction in which the craft's bow or nose is pointed.

Direction

Direction may refer to:

Relative direction, for instance left, right, forward, backwards, up, and down (see also Anatomical terms of location for those used in scientific descriptions)

Cardinal direction

Four Heavenly Kings

The Four Heavenly Kings are four Buddhist gods, which originates from the Indian version of Lokapalas, each of whom watches over one cardinal direction of the world. In Chinese mythology, they are known collectively as the "Fēng Tiáo Yǔ Shùn" (simplified Chinese: 风调雨顺; traditional Chinese: 風調雨順; literally: 'Good climate') or "Sì Dà Tiānwáng" (Chinese: 四大天王; literally: 'Four Great Heavenly Kings'). In the ancient language Sanskrit they are called the "Chaturmahārāja" (चतुर्महाराज), or "Chaturmahārājikādeva": "Four Great Heavenly Kings". The Hall of the Heavenly Kings is a standard component of Chinese Buddhist temples.

Four Symbols

The Four Symbols (Chinese: 四象; pinyin: Sì Xiàng, literally meaning "four images"), are four mythological creatures appearing among the Chinese constellations along the ecliptic, and viewed as the guardians of the four cardinal directions. These four creatures are also referred to by a variety of other names, including "Four Guardians", "Four Gods", and "Four Auspicious Beasts". They are the Azure Dragon of the East, the Vermilion Bird of the South, the White Tiger of the West, and the Black Turtle (also called "Black Warrior") of the North. Each of the creatures is most closely associated with a cardinal direction and a color, but also additionally represents other aspects, including a season of the year, a virtue, and one of the Chinese "five elements" (wood, fire, earth, metal, and water). Each has been given its own individual traits and origin story. Symbolically, and as part of spiritual and religious belief, these creatures have been culturally important across countries in the East Asian cultural sphere.

List of extreme points of Australia

This is a list of the extreme points of Australia. The list includes extremes of cardinal direction, elevation, and other points of peculiar geographic interest. The location of some points depend on whether islands and the Australian Antarctic Territory (which is not universally recognised) are included.

Minute and second of arc

A minute of arc, arcminute (arcmin), arc minute, or minute arc is a unit of angular measurement equal to 1/60 of one degree. Since one degree is 1/360 of a turn (or complete rotation), one minute of arc is 1/21600 of a turn – it is for this reason that the Earth's circumference is almost exactly 21,600 nautical miles. A minute of arc is π/10800 of a radian.

A second of arc, arcsecond (arcsec), or arc second is 1/60 of an arcminute, 1/3600 of a degree, 1/1296000 of a turn, and π/648000 (about 1/206265) of a radian. These units originated in Babylonian astronomy as sexagesimal subdivisions of the degree; they are used in fields that involve very small angles, such as astronomy, optometry, ophthalmology, optics, navigation, land surveying, and marksmanship.

To express even smaller angles, standard SI prefixes can be employed; the milliarcsecond (mas) and microarcsecond (μas), for instance, are commonly used in astronomy.

The number of square arcminutes in a complete sphere is 148510660 square arcminutes (the surface area of a unit sphere in square units divided by the solid angle area subtended by a square arcminute, also in square units – so that the final result is a dimensionless number).

The names "minute" and "second" have nothing to do with the identically named units of time "minute" or "second". The identical names reflect the ancient Babylonian number system, based on the number 60.

Phimai

Phimai (Thai: พิมาย) is a township (thesaban tambon) in Nakhon Ratchasima Province in northeast Thailand. As of 2005 the town had a population of 9,768. The town is the administrative center of the Phimai District.

In the aftermath of the fall of the Ayutthaya Kingdom in 1767, attempts were made to set up five separate states, with Prince Teppipit, a son of king Boromakot, attempting to establish Phimai as one, holding sway over eastern provinces including Nakhon Ratchasima. The weakest of the five, Prince Teppipit was the first defeated and was executed in 1768. Phimai had also been an important town at the time of the Khmer empire.

The region was integrated into the Khmer state around 1000 CE. For the following 300 years, Phimai was a major regional administrative center. The temple Prasat Hin Phimai, in the center of the town, was one of the major Khmer temples in ancient Thailand, connected with Angkor by the Khmer highway, and oriented so as to face Angkor as its cardinal direction. The site is now protected as the Phimai Historical Park.

Phimai has recently been the base of operations for the excavation of Ban Non Wat.

Reassurance marker

A reassurance marker or confirming marker is a type of traffic sign that confirms the identity of the route being traveled without providing information found on other types of road signs, such as distances traveled as is done by highway location markers, distances to other locations or upcoming intersections.

It is a highway shield, usually with a cardinal direction sign, that repeats the name or number of the current route. They are typically posted at intervals alongside a numbered highway.

South (disambiguation)

South is a cardinal direction or compass point.

Traffic camera

A traffic camera is a video camera which observes vehicular traffic on a road. Typically, these are put along major roads such as highways, freeways, motorways, autoroutes and expressways, as well as arterial roads, and are connected with optical fibers buried alongside or even under the road, with electrical power either provided by mains power in urban areas, or via solar panels or another alternate power source which provides consistent imagery without the threat of a power outage during inclement conditions.

A monitoring center receives the live video in real time, and serves as a dispatcher if there is a traffic collision or some other disruptive incident or road safety issue.

Traffic cameras are a major part of most intelligent transportation systems. They are especially valuable in tunnels, where safety equipment can be activated remotely based upon information provided by the cameras and other sensors. On surface roads, they are typically mounted on high poles or masts, sometimes along with street lights. On arterial roads, they are often mounted on traffic light poles at intersections, where problems are most likely to occur. In remote areas without easy reach of the main electrical grid, they are usually powered by another means such as solar power, which also provides a backup source to urban camera infrastructure.

Traffic cameras are distinct from road safety cameras, which are put in specific places to enforce rules of the road. Those cameras take still photos in a much higher image resolution upon a trigger, whereas traffic cameras are simply for observation and constantly take lower-resolution video, often in full motion, though they are remotely controllable in order to focus on an ongoing traffic incident farther along a road that may not be in the camera's usual field of view or even along a frontage road or other roadway within its field of vision. Many transmit in the legacy analog NTSC and PAL formats, depending on location, though many are being converted to high definition video as equipment is replaced. Some have a compass built in which displays the cardinal direction at which the camera is aimed, though many providers also provide a reference image of a shot with the cardinal direction.

Many transportation departments have linked their camera networks to the Internet on online websites, thus making them webcams which allow commuters to view current traffic conditions. They may show either streaming video or still imagery which refreshes at a set interval of seconds or minutes, helping travelers determine whether an alternate route should be taken. In the United States and Canada, these often are displayed on state or municipally-run 5-1-1 websites (511 being a telephone number designed to relay current traffic information). These traffic images are also combined with road sensors which measure traffic timing to provide a full picture of traffic conditions.

Many states and provinces consider this information public domain, thus many television stations air live traffic camera imagery during their own traffic reports on their local news broadcasts, or simply as an augmenting moving visual background during newscasts. Some cable TV systems provide these pictures full-time on a governmental access channel, and some broadcast stations set aside a full digital subchannel solely for traffic information and camera imagery, such as Philadelphia's WPHL-DT4 in the past and WMVT-DT3 in Milwaukee and WFMZ-DT2 in Allentown, Pennsylvania currently. However, in some cases for toll roads and other private road authorities, such as the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority, these images are claimed to be the property of the toll agency (or private company which runs a toll road), and the images are held under an exclusivity agreement for one station (in the ISTHA's case, they only air on WMAQ-TV).

Wesley

Wesley is a name with an Anglo-Norman etymology. The "wes" portion of the name refers to the Western cardinal direction, while the word "lea" refers to a field, pasture, or other clearing in a forest. Thus, the name's origin refers to a "western lea," or a field to the west.The name was predominantly used as a surname until John Wesley, founder of the Methodist church, inspired some parents to name their sons after him.

West

West is one of the four cardinal directions or points of the compass. It is the opposite direction from east.

Wind rose

A wind rose is a graphic tool used by meteorologists to give a succinct view of how wind speed and direction are typically distributed at a particular location. Historically, wind roses were predecessors of the compass rose (found on charts), as there was no differentiation between a cardinal direction and the wind which blew from such a direction. Using a polar coordinate system of gridding, the frequency of winds over a time period is plotted by wind direction, with color bands showing wind speed ranges. The direction of the longest spoke shows the wind direction with the greatest frequency.

Cardinal and ordinal directions
The eight principal winds
Sport disciplines
Equipment
Fundamentals
Organisations / lists
Non-sport related
Competitions

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