Cardinal direction

The four cardinal directions, or cardinal points, are the four main compass directions: north, south, east, and west, commonly denoted by their initials N, S, E, and W respectively. Relative to north, the directions east, south, and west are at 90 degree intervals in the clockwise direction.

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

The ordinal directions (also called the intercardinal 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. These eight shortest points in the compass rose shown to the right are:

  1. West-northwest (WNW)
  2. North-northwest (NNW)
  3. North-northeast (NNE)
  4. East-northeast (ENE)
  5. East-southeast (ESE)
  6. South-southeast (SSE)
  7. South-southwest (SSW)
  8. West-southwest (WSW)

Points between the cardinal directions form the points of the compass. Arbitrary horizontal directions may be indicated by their azimuth angle value.

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This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Cardinal direction, and is written by contributors. Text is available under a CC BY-SA 4.0 International License; additional terms may apply. Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.