Absolute bearing

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A compass rose, showing absolute bearings in degrees.

In nautical navigation the absolute bearing is the clockwise angle between north and an object observed from the vessel. If the north used as reference is the true geographical north then the bearing is a true bearing whereas if the reference used is magnetic north then the bearing is a magnetic bearing.

An absolute bearing is measured with a bearing compass.

The measurement of absolute bearings of fixed landmarks and other navigation aids is useful for the navigator because this information can be used on the nautical chart together with simple geometrical techniques to aid in determining the position of the vessel.

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