Talk:Cardinal direction

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disambiguate cardinal point from direction[edit]

  • "Cardinal points are those which separate one person or group of people from another. A non-cardinal principler. But where peojhkjkhkhj or parties disagree as to cardinal principles they must split. See also: Maoism ==External link==What is a Cardinal principle?

I am unable to understand exactly what this means, and how it applies to Mao. Can someone simplify it and explain it better? Kingturtle 03:28 May 14, 200


Whats the point of thg a mnemonic, such as "Naughty Elephants Squirt Water," "Never Eat Soggy Waffles", "Never" in Australia & New Zealand), "Never" or "Never Eat Sea Weed." Also, "West and East spell WE."

take it out, cause its irrelevant and somebody had vandalised it and i think they'll do it again.

In solid geometry[edit]

I was surprised to see heaven and land listed here. Should that be up and down, or am I undereducated on this point?--Keeves 11:11, 21 August 2005 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

Cardinal directionstion: Singular is preferred over plural.—jiy (talk) 11:36, 16 December 2005 (UTC)

  • Supportjiy (talk) 11:36, 16 December

Done. Andrewa 10:18, 28 December 2005 (UTC)


So how many directions are used in the newage religions? Four or seven? I know that the answer is "as many as they want," but this article makes two definite and contradictory statements. ➥the Epopt 23:23, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Almost always four in my experience. Seven is seen only in certain rituals. "New Age" is extremely ambiguous, and can refer to modern Wiccanism as well as other forms of esoterism originating around the turn of the certury (and earlier). Can someone clarify?


Someone keeps editing this page, adding "up" and "down" as cardinal directions, which they are not. That fact is given away by another portion of one of the user's edits: "Up and down aren't on a compass." Hmm, I wonder if that has any significance? --Tkynerd 18:54, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

Up and Down are so cardinal directions and you know it. That's Why I keep editing that page Berchin.

No, the primary focus of the page is on cardinal directions as a geographical concept. In geography, there are exactly four cardinal directions, and "up" and "down" are not among them. There is nothing wrong with, for example, adding "up" and "down" to the section on the cardinal directions as a New Age concept, as you did (although you need to source that), but that information does not belong in the first paragraph. Also, note that the lead section already mentions that there are six cardinal directions in geometry (mathematics); thus having the information in the first paragraph is also redundant. --Tkynerd 21:08, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

If there was only 4 cardinal directions then it would be the 2D world but since this is the 3D world there's 6.

Sorry, that won't wash. In geography, there are four cardinal directions. That's all there is to it. Up and down are not cardinal directions, at least not in geography. You need to remove your vandalism of the first paragraph of this article. --Tkynerd 21:21, 27 January 2007 (UTC)
See this as well. Note that this is from a kindergarten curriculum. There's also this, same point. --Tkynerd 21:30, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

I know in geography there's 4 but in the real world there's 6 including up and down. Berchin

The geographical concept is the primary focus of this least in the lead section. I see that either you or someone else has changed the lead section back to read as it should (I was away from Wikipedia last evening), so let's leave it that way, shall we? One thing you might want to do is to change the New Age section to be consistent; it currently says there are four cardinal directions in New Age thought, and goes on to list six. I don't want to change it myself because I don't know which is right. --Tkynerd 14:56, 28 January 2007 (UTC)
The most recent edits can't really stand either. Directions like northup and westdown are not used in "the real world," as a quick Google search will confirm. That material on ordinal directions needs to be deleted, and I would recommend that the material about six cardinal directions be merged with the sentence on their use in mathematics earlier in the lead section (no need for redundancy). --Tkynerd 22:09, 29 January 2007 (UTC)
The Beyond Geography section still contains the unsourced claim that "up" and "down" are cardinal directions: "In the real world there are six cardinal directions not involved with geography which are north, south, east, west, up and down. ..." I believe the claim needs to be supported by a reliable source or removed from the entry. My own view is that "up" and "down," while certainly valuable for navigation or descriptive, do not fall under the term "cardinal direction." Entries shouldn't be based simply on our views, of course. Jk180 (talk) 01:45, 27 October 2017 (UTC)

New Age[edit]

The information in the New Age section is highly questionable. Whoever wrote it did not know, for instance that Earth vs. Air and Fire vs. Water are opposites, and should be assigned to opposite directions in any consistent system (see Classical element). Also, there is the element "Earth" for North, and the element "Ground" for Down; what's the **** difference? While "Sky" might possibly be Aether, there is no tradition whatsoever for "Ground" as an element distinct from "Earth". In a similar vein, it is highly dubious that any serious symbolism should differentiate between "light blue" and "deep blue with a hint of green". Symbolic colors are simple — see Color symbolism.

In short, I believe that the entire data in the New Age section is either fancifully made up or, at best, reflects a single obscure source rather than mainstream New Age (if there is such a thing). I have accordingly added a factual accuracy flag. Freederick 13:52, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

The ordinal directions should not be wikilinked on this page[edit]

The pages for the ordinal directions -- northwest, northeast, southwest and southeast -- are all disambiguation pages. Since dab pages should not be linked directly, they need to be piped to point to an appropriate dab target. For these pages, the appropriate dab target is Ordinal direction, which redirects here. And since a page should not be wikilinked to itself, the ordinal directions should not be wikilinked on this page. Bringing this up to explain why I've just delinked all of them. --Tkynerd 00:45, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

Sorry about that! Didn't realize it was considered bad form to link into a dab page. I'll be more careful from now on. I hate to say so, but I may have made that boo-boo elsewhere... --Badly Bradley 09:01, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

No worries, and thanks for posting! :-) Actually your edit goaded me into delinking all four of them, rather than just Northwest, which is kind of my responsibility (I've taken on the task of keeping it clear of incoming links). --Tkynerd 13:37, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
For clarification, since Badly Bradley said he/she wasn't aware of this: The reason for not linking directly to dab pages is that links should be useful to the reader and should take the reader where she expects to go. An example: "Many people all over the world speak English as a second language" is bad because it takes the reader to the dab page, where she must figure out which of the (in this case, very many) dab links she wants to look at. The link should be piped like this: [[English language|English]] so it takes the reader directly to the relevant page, thus: "Many people all over the world speak English as a second language." In this case, however, a link to, say, southwest on this page would need to be piped thusly: [[Ordinal direction|southwest]], and it would just reload this page. Hope this helps. --Tkynerd 20:01, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

After carefully reviewing my watch list, I found a couple reverts where I did indeed make the same boo-boo on other pages. While I'm an experienced science and technology writer/editor (retired), this Wiki stuff is new to me. Fortunately, I learn fast. Already I figured out, for instance, to perform and preview 100% of all my planned edits before doing any saves. The first couple of days, without realizing it, I was clogging the edit log.

I also learned to copy and paste my proposed edits out to a text editor every 10 minutes to save locally on my HDD: twice now my browser crashed! The first time it crashed I lost over 4 hour's worth of work; the redo took about an hour because I knew where I was going the second time around. The second crash with 3 hours of work in the bag wiped 5 minutes worth of unsaved edits, but took less than 2 minutes to restore, including the time to relaunch the browser, reload the saved text, and repeat those last edits.

I think I might have a 2-part solution to the dilemma of wikilinking the 4 ordinal points. First, modify the relevant paragraph so it looks like this:

An ordinal, intercardinal or intermediate direction is one of the 4 compass directions located halfway between the cardinal directions.

  • Northeast, 45º, halfway between north and east, is the opposite of southwest.
  • Southeast, 135º, halfway between south and east, is the opposite of northwest.
  • Southwest, 225º, halfway between south and west, is the opposite of northeast.
  • Northwest, 315º, halfway between north and west, is the opposite of southeast.

Second, link the 4 bolded key words so that when clicked the proper compass rose illustration appears. Trouble is, I don't know how to do that yet. When I tried just piping the links in the ordinary manner, all 4 illustrations appeared instantly and at full size. (Not good.)

Incidentally, the only reason I was lured into the dab trap in the first place was the wish to link those excellent illustrations to the key words.

With amusement I note that those 4 disambiguation pages are cross-linked to each other...

Badly Bradley 14:29, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

Hmm. The compass rose is already clearly visible at the top of this article; I'm not sure I see the point of linking to it as well. I'm not sure these words particularly need to be linked, since they're already in the article that best covers them. I do like the way you've changed the relevant paragraph, though. --Tkynerd 14:52, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

Oops! No wonder you're puzzled. MY BAD! I forgot to specify that I wanted to link to the four icons with unique red highlighting on the relevant points, as follows:

  • Northeast (NE), 45º to Image:CompassRose16 NE.png
    Northwest (NW) 315º
    Northeast (NE) 45º
  • Southeast (SE), 135º to Image:CompassRose16 SE.png
    File:CompassRose16 SE.png
    Southeast (SE) 135º
  • Northwest (NW), 315º to Image:CompassRose16 NW.png
  • Southwest (SW), 225º to Image:CompassRose16 SW.png
    Southwest (SW) 225º

Ideally, clicking the link would just pop-up the icon in a new small window, but I have no clue how to do that. OTOH, what I just did looks pretty cool as is. Maybe user-clickable links are not the best way to do what I wanted...

Perhaps, now you can begin to get a feel for what I originally imagined would be an improvement.

Maybe you could even become excited about it... I hope... Even it it never gets implemented, I am learning valuable stuff about Wikipedia!

How about this tweak to the paragraph:

An ordinal, or intercardinal, direction is one of the 4 intermediate compass directions located halfway between the cardinal directions.

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

Do you think anyone will have a problem if I go ahead and change the paragraph in the article? (I did recently figure out how to change the displayed size of the icon on the fly, as well as it position, as you can see, but I'm NOT going to do the links, since I still don't know how to do it really well...)

Badly Bradley 03:04, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

Apache snafu[edit]

After doing some more research on color symbolism in various cultures (thanks to the anonymous editor for providing a crucial reference) I've expanded the color table and split it into separate parts for Asia and America. Most of the entries I am reasonable sure of; I tried to track down two separate references whenever feasible. As far as the Apaches are concerned, however, the only certain fact is that they did not use the color red for cardinal directions. There are, however, a multitude of Apache subgroups, and each of them seems to use a different arrangement. To make things worse, the sources are in disagreement with each other. I tracked down three separate references: [1], [2], and [3], and they each say something different, and incompatible with the others. I would appreciate some help in untangling the Apache snarl—the currently displayed data for them is tentative at best. Freederick 01:39, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

"earth" vs. "Earth"[edit]

Every professionally published reference work I've checked (both collegiate dictionaries and encyclopedias) shows "earth" is a noun, but NOT a proper noun. Therefore, it should only be capitalized when it leads a sentence. I am not going to revert the recent edits which capitalized every instance of "earth" in the article, for fear it will escalate into a revert war.

I would like to know what others think.

BTW, I was the one who lower-cased them a while back, AFTER I researched which was the correct case.

Badly Bradley 03:51, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

Disagree. The word "earth" is often (and perfectly correctly) capitalized in English when it refers to the planet, as it does here. That fact is supported by this link (see definition 4). --Tkynerd 15:38, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
I support Tkynerd's position. Note that the the word “earth” has two meanings (which any collegiate dictionary would undoubtedly indicate): 1. ground; 2. the planet. It is a proper noun, capitalized, in the second sense. For an obvious reference, see the usage at Earth :-) More to the point, this is the official policy adopted in the Wikipedia Manual of Style. Freederick 23:05, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

Thank You, Freederick! That pretty well nails it to the wall. Who am I to argue? Besides, as stated initially, I wasn't about to change it unless there was consensus. It's quite clear now where the consensus resides. (Note to self: Read Wiki's Manual of Style)

Badly Bradley 17:55, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

The names of ordinal directions[edit]

I'm not sure this is properly placed, plus stating Finnish words for ordinal directions without those for cardinal (or did I miss them?), leaves a lot to be desired. It also opens the door to creating a potentially huge catalog for language translation of these 8 words. Do we really want to go there?

We got into the other cross cultural thing solely because some people use colors instead or words, and/or words having nothing to do with the compass rose (e.g. named winds). All of that seemed reasonable and fits nicely.

I am *not* going to delete it. Perhaps someone else would like to improve it, or find a better home for the information.

Badly Bradley 14:46, 6 May 2007 (UTC)

IMO, non-English terms for the cardinal and ordinal directions, as for any other terms/phenomena/whatever that have valid English names, don't belong on the English Wikipedia. I'll wait for counterarguments before removing the Finnish stuff. --Tkynerd 15:16, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
The fact that they have distinct words for those directions (rather than compounds combining the cardinal direction names) is interesting, and short examples help illustrate this. The Finnish names the cardinal directions themselves are less notable, unless there is something else interesting about them. Having a list of translations into 30 languages that does not explain any additional concepts of interest would be out of scope, but nobody is proposing that. --JWB 00:20, 7 May 2007 (UTC)
That is a good point, but unfortunately the text in the article didn't make this point, and consequently it seemed very out of place. I've just rewritten it to rectify that. --Tkynerd 12:56, 7 May 2007 (UTC)

Thank you both! This beatifully illustrates why I rarely use my revert powers… What we have now is *much* better.

Having said that, I reverted one of Tkynerd tweaks to one of my previous tweaks, believing it was an accident, not intended, since it met the rules. Tkynerd, if I missed something here, please enlighten all of us. Thanks again.

Badly Bradley 14:16, 7 May 2007 (UTC)

I missed that...but IMO, the word doesn't really need to be linked there (feels like overlinking to me; see here for more info). But I don't feel that strongly about it, and I do apologize for missing that link when I rewrote the sentence. :-) --Tkynerd 02:00, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

Hmm. I must admit, I forgot to look for preceding instances of "language" already being wikilinked. I know better. :-P It has one redeeming merit or I would revert it myself right now: unlike all the other links which point to specific languages, this one points to the general article about all human languages.

Badly Bradley 03:15, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

Finno Ugrian Cardinal Directions[edit]

Maybe it is worth of mentioning of the Finno Ugrian cardinal directions. The system is old, much older than any of the "western equivalents". It has been mentioned that it shows strong ancient Persian influence which was based to six cardinal directions and used commonly, for example, in Baktria in Central Asia. The Finno Ugrian system is based to the rotation of the sun, and later extended to eight cardinal directions all shown by the names which have also a meaning in the daily life.

Aamun (morning) Koi / Kajo (first mark of light in eastern sky) = Koillinen (North East)

Itä (the direction from where the sun appears to the sky) = Itäinen (East)

Kaakko (the direction where the sun starts to warm) = Kaakkoinen (South East)

Etelä (the highest point where the sun is located in the sky) = Eteläinen (South)

Louna (the point where the sun starts to fall down from sky) = Lounainen (South West)

Länsi (the direction of the sun where it goes down) = Läntinen (West)

Luode (last mark of the light in the sky) = Luoteinen (North West)

Pohja / Pohjo (bottom, darkness, no mark of the sun) = Pohjoinen (North)

— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:44, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

It is possible this might fit under "Non-compass directional systems" ... but only if it can be properly referenced.
I tried to find an entry for this post in the logs, so I could back-post the contributor's ID, but had no joy. Can anyone else find it and (hopefully) tell me why I wasn't finding it?
Badly Bradley (talk) 19:24, 17 November 2007 (UTC)

It's in Finnish Wikipedia: Here is a graphic:

Reordering Asian color correspondences[edit]

The Kalmyks and Tibet lines in the Asian color correspondences chart obscure the similarities of the other three. I'm going to reorder them as follows: China first (I'm pretty sure that these started in China and spread outward), followed by the similar two in alphabetical order, followed by the other two in alphabetical order. If you feel like undoing this change, please tell me why in this talk page. DenisMoskowitz 02:53, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

Almost ready for "Good Article" status[edit]

After reading Wikipedia:Good articles and perusing articles that have achieved the status, I conclude that our own "Cardinal direction" is nearly there. The only obvious deficiency, IMHO, is the lack of references for some of the key points, including some of the essential core points. Meanwhile, some of the subtopics are thoroughly referenced already.

Be it known, I am not looking to place blame. In fact I am notorious for NOT providing references with my contributions. In the near future I will endeavor to reference the stuff I added. As most of it originated from books I borrowed decades ago from public libraries, it shouldn't be hard to do.

Please comment! In particular:

  • Do you agree or disagree with my readiness assessment?
  • Is there important material missing?

Until the references are fixed (at the very least) it would be inappropriate & premature to nominate "Cardinal direction" for the independent evaluation required as a condition of being awarded the "Good Article" status.

Badly Bradley (talk) 20:06, 17 November 2007 (UTC)


This begins with 'in geography', but doesn't seem to fall into any geography category. Richard001 (talk) 10:45, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

  • Good point!
  • This phrase was originally introduced after various people tried to mold the article to concepts of New Age thinking and specialized 3-dimensional mathematics, to the detriment of its more generalized purpose. I always took it to mean with regard to the general idea of finding physical places (i.e. geographic places) on land (as opposed to underwater or in the air), and somewhat more specifically as it relates to cartography. Perhaps it might be appropriate to spell it out. I hadn't really thought about it. Perhaps it might be more accurate to say "in cartography", rather than "in geography"... I came to this article originally looking for information about maps.
  • The New Age and 3-D math ideas were repositioned elsewhere in the article.

Badly Bradley (talk) 19:35, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

Yowza! Typically the first sentence should name the article. I rewrote the lead completely. Potatoswatter (talk) 02:50, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
  • Historically, the concept that the method should work from anywhere on the surface of the planet was a key point. I don't know if you intended to delete the idea, but I think you should reintroduce it... (sort of along the lines of "a valid experiment should work the same every time".)
  • Didn't I? "they may be found anywhere on a rotating astronomical body." However actually the poles are the exception :vP . Potatoswatter (talk) 16:50, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
HMM... You're right, obviously. I just simply missed it. As for the poles, one need only step a few yards in any direction... ;-P
Badly Bradley (talk) 19:17, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
  • Also, Generalizing this beyond Earth could lay a trap: I'm certainly NOT an expert, but I think I remember reading somewhere that some rotating planets either don't have a magnetic field, or have one that isn't even approximately aligned with the poles, or is wildly unstable. I preferred it when the discussion was limited to Earth... I promise not to start an edit war; I agree the old intro needed work, but I don't feel like the new intro is an improvement.
  • The magnetic field isn't important at all. North/south are defined by the axis of rotation. I made this point more prominent but it was also there in the preceding revision. Occasionally the Earth's magnetic field goes away for a while and reverses. But that doesn't change North and South. Potatoswatter (talk) 16:50, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
I think what bothers me about this issue (and I may well be misreading it), is that for the very reasons you just mentioned, the compass should not be put forth implicitly as a primary means of definition/calibration, but rather explicitly as a secondary means of approximation. I just tweaked that paragraph to eliminate the issue.
Despite reading this numerous times, I only just noticed this: Isn't this statement, "and east and west are to the left and right of north, respectively." backwards? (90 deg is "east" and "right" on a map for example.)
Wow, thanks! I'm so sorry! Yes, of course saying it's "left of north" means you face north and look to your left. Incidentally I also wrote relative direction :vP . Potatoswatter (talk) 04:34, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
Hold On! Now I see what's wrong. To make that statement, you need to also say whether you are facing north or south. I'll leave that to you to rework as you see fit. (This was why I used the references to sunrise and sunset in the original definitions of East and West, which I would simply revert to. Hint: Many moons ago, I rewrote substantial portions of the intro through section 3 "Usefulness" and the "See also". OTOH, while I am careful about verifying my "facts", I am notoriously lax about providing citations...)
Badly Bradley (talk) 19:17, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, I'm the same way. I like to write about what I simply understand. References are fun to read... Potatoswatter (talk) 04:34, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

Looks like we're done here. In case you're not already aware, this article has been subjected to very subtle (& some flagrant) vandalism in the past. I try to check in every so often and reread the parts I mentioned earlier. Every now & then I find that numbers have been fiddled with, & words that affect meaning have been usurped - the sort of things the bots can't see, and a person lacking expertise would never figure out. (One numeric transposition persisted for more than a month; I looked at it at least 3 times before it dawned on me.) If you'd care to look in occasionally, all of us who care about this article would really appreciate the help. Other than the citations, "Cardinal direction" is pretty much a done deal. Badly Bradley (talk) 05:27, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

I'm not so sure. Besides references being a rather big, hairy issue, the color-code cultural part needs more explanation and the new age rambling about "in mathematics" etc should prolly be cut. I think the next step is to sprinkle liberally with {{cn}}'s. Potatoswatter (talk) 09:14, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
Well, I *did* say "Other than the citations"! Yes, I suppose it really is overdue to slap warning flags on them. I believe the reason they've never been flagged is "the facts are correct". It should be easy to locate citations for everything (except that new age stuff).
I never touched the "color-code cultural part" because I don't know squat about it. Interestingly, most of the citations that are in place were set by the folks working on the "color-code cultural part". Some of them are probably still around. Why don't you start a new topic here and ask them for input?
As for "the new age rambling about "in mathematics" etc", when I first joined the folks here there was an ongoing revert war. I detest revert wars and will NOT participate. I ended it when I rewrote the front end of the article and gave them a place, preserving the important stuff in the process. Since then the only problem has been ordinary (but sometimes subtle) vandalism by unregistered editors, which IMHO should never have been allowed from the get-go.
If you can fix "the new age rambling about "in mathematics" etc", you have my blessing!
Badly Bradley (talk) 16:50, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

Not strictly true: "around noon, [the sun] is in the south in the northern hemisphere" etc[edit]

The article says: "Around noon, it is in the south in the northern hemisphere, or in the north in the southern hemisphere." Note this is not true for all locations. In the tropics (some 40% of the earth's surface, and inhabited by a large portion of the population) the noon sun may be north or south in either hemisphere. (talk) 10:10, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

/"TE^KOyj0[rkhgbpoadfkh[padrhopkrwae][f-erlpf]- —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:41, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

Omitted text?[edit]

In the "Watch face" section, a sentence reads: "provides a more reliable method for finding direction at night." Clearly the beginning of this sentence was lost, and maybe more text before that. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:00, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

The IAU does not define north by the rotation sense[edit]

The opening paragraph implies that north on an astronomical body is defined by rotation, however the IAU defines the north pole as the one that lies above the invariable plane of the solar system [4]. The two definitions lead to opposite definitions of north for objects which have retrograde rotation (e.g. Venus and Uranus). As far as I am aware the IAU definition is in fact the most commonly used in astronomy (e.g. most published Venus cartography, statements that on Venus the Sun rises in the west and suchlike). I have therefore removed the following sentences from the lede. Icalanise (talk) 20:39, 29 August 2010 (UTC)

They are mostly used for geographic orientation on Earth but may be calculated anywhere on a rotating astronomical body. North and south point toward the geographical poles defined by the axis of rotation, such that the body appears to rotate counter-clockwise when viewed from above the north pole.


The discworld novels use Discworld_geography#Geography So their cardinal directions are Turnwise(wiktionary:Doisal), Widdershins, Rimward and Hubward, which makes sense if you use polar coordinates rather than cartesian coordinates for your map. EdwardLane (talk) 09:37, 7 June 2012 (UTC)

Extraterrestrial use; Western spiral arm etc[edit]

I came here to find out about use of cardinal points to describe parts of a galaxy etc (although I suspect Western Spiral Arm is a Douglas Adams invention). Would anyone like to create a new section on this? Nankai (talk) 03:31, 5 October 2012 (UTC)

Cardinal directions are generally used in planetary science only in relation to a single planet, not in larger bodies such as galaxies. I love Douglas Adams but without a more reliable scientific source it's not really appropriate here.--RadioFan (talk) 16:29, 8 June 2014 (UTC)

australia cardinal directions[edit]

OK a bunch of interesting stuff got added about walpiri people, standing stones, aboriginals and so forth, I spotted the edit and there were a few errors in the format of the references so when I tried tracking them down some didn't exist. Also the word aboriginal is often considered as a racist perjorative so best avoided. And final the link to that is/was a link to a disambiguation page. I tidied this up yesterday and also removed the stuff about standing stones which wasn't directly about cardinal directions. I was going to suggest that content got added to the article on the relevant standing stones articles - and it seemed sensible to tidy it up as the references were either broken or the content of the phrase wasn't related to an article on what a cardinal direction is. I got a message from Ray complaining that my edit history descriptions were not good enough - and that's fair enough, and that he was going to add the content back in - which I think just leaves a less clear article on cardinal directions - and instead starts the article sprawling off into some article about the alignment of standing stones (which should probably be a sub section of the standing stones article). I'm going to add a message on Ray's talk page - and I hope he'll be happy to move that content out of this article. Apologies for any perceived insult, the one article linked to had a good reference (once I eventually grabbed and fixed the link) to a paper which did mention 5 and 6 cardinal directions in some indigenous australian languages. EdwardLane (talk) 07:59, 9 May 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for your response. Apologies for the garbled references which are now all fixed. I've also removed the broken link. Your concern about "Aboriginal Australian" being racist is misplaced - see Aboriginal Australians. In essence, the word Aborigine as a noun is racist, but the term Aboriginal Australian is not. Also, while I agree it is good to be wary of 'New Age' overtones, the material cited here is very far removed from that, and is all published in reputable peer-reviewed journals. There is no 'New Age' or hippy connotation at all - just a description of the importance of cardinal directions to traditional Aboriginal Australians. My feeling for why it's relevant here is because I think it illustrates the fact that Aboriginal Australians *did* have concepts of cardinal directions similar to western ideas, and actually were interested in measuring them to a few degrees (for unknown reasons). If it is felt that this isn't really relevant to an article on cardinal directions, then I think for consistency the other cultural sections on "Far East" and "Americas" ought to be removed too. In particular, the Far East section goes into much more detail than the Australian section. RayNorris (talk) 17:10, 10 May 2013 (UTC)

Added "from north"[edit]

Added "from north: after "the clockwise direction of rotation". wam, 7/29/2013 Amccray (talk) 11:56, 29 July 2013 (UTC)

Proposed merge with Points of the compass[edit]

While "points of the compass" is a valid search term, the content here would be better included under the more correct name "cardinal direction" A merge of these articles is appropriate. RadioFan (talk) 16:27, 8 June 2014 (UTC)

Agreed. Fgnievinski (talk) 03:21, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
Oppose: As someone who studies cultural astronomy, I feel that the term "points of the compass" differs in two ways.
  1. Points of the compass are mathematically subdivided in a way that the Cardinal directions are not.
  2. "Points of the compass" refers to a specific way of dividing space that originated in Europe while "Cardinal Direction" refers more generally to the ways space is divided in different cultures.
For those reasons I oppose the merger. SteveMcCluskey (talk) 16:32, 23 August 2014 (UTC)

On the Equator, you don't need the watch face, just the hour.[edit]

Knowing the hour, you'll know if the Sun is East or West, then North and South will be 90 degree from it. Though perhaps if you're not too close but still not far enough, wouldn't the trick still work if you held the watch tilted while comparing it to the Sun, and then lay it flat after you measure the angle to get the direction? --TiagoTiago (talk) 15:16, 11 March 2015 (UTC)

I guess you mean tilted about an east-west axis. But if you don't know which directions are the cardinal points, you can't tell how to tilt the watch. DOwenWilliams (talk) 15:30, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
Can't you get a good enough aproximation by observing the motion of the Sun over the time? --TiagoTiago (talk) 01:38, 15 March 2015 (UTC)
If you're prepared to wait a while, yes. You can find north or south by splitting the difference between the directions where the Sun rises and sets. If you can measure the Sun's angle of elevation, you can split the difference between the directions where the sun is at the same elevation in the morning and afternoon. There are other ways, too, but they all take time, and most of them require some sort of instrument. DOwenWilliams (talk) 15:03, 15 March 2015 (UTC)
You may be interested in a new "citation story" I have just posted on my user page (not the talk page). DOwenWilliams (talk) 23:35, 18 March 2015 (UTC)
Ah, the axial tilt! *facepalms* Yeah, I didn't thought this thru, sorry. --TiagoTiago (talk) 10:54, 19 March 2015 (UTC)
No need to apologize. But what does "facepalms" mean? DOwenWilliams (talk) 20:14, 19 March 2015 (UTC)
The asterisks (sometimes humorously refereed to as "action stars"), indicate that what is between them is action or narration instead of speech (often used for roleplaying in settings where speech is more common (when description is more common, quotes are used to indicate speech)). And in case you don't know, "facepalm" means covering your face with your hand or hands, either in embarrassment or as an indication someone else did something embarrassing; I'm not sure if it's recognized by dictionaries, or if it's still a neologism though. --TiagoTiago (talk) 08:23, 21 March 2015 (UTC)

Ordinal or intercardinal directions[edit]

The phrase ordinal directions, as referring to the intercardinal directions, seems to be something of a neologism. A Google NGram search indicates that intercardinal directions is used more often than ordinal directions. Spot checks of a few books (there aren't that many) indicates that "ordinal directions" is itself ambiguous, often being used to refer to the cardinal directions.

I suggest we replace the phrase ordinal directions with the less-ambiguous intercardinal directions. --SteveMcCluskey (talk) 14:25, 28 July 2015 (UTC)

Having seen no comments after three years, I have made the suggested change, removing ordinal directions from the article.--SteveMcCluskey (talk) 18:13, 10 August 2018 (UTC)
Does this also apply to the Points of the compass article? That uses the term "ordinal direction" quite a few times but "intercardinal" is only mentioned twice. Rodney Baggins (talk) 20:41, 16 August 2018 (UTC)
@Rodney Baggins:Thanks, I think the same argument applies there. I notice that there are redirects at Ordinal directions and Ordinal direction, which includes an edit comment suggesting the term isn't valid. I would recommend deleting both redirects as well. Comments invited. --SteveMcCluskey (talk) 03:57, 18 January 2019 (UTC)
Since the redirects have been inviting use of the neologism Ordinal directions, I have changed their target to match the current form of the page. --SteveMcCluskey (talk) 23:12, 21 February 2019 (UTC)

other language links[edit]

We're obviously missing quite a few. I don't know how to add them, but Spanish has Punto cardinal and other wikis probably have their own versions. Alázhlis (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 22:25, 17 December 2015 (UTC)

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Contradicts Compass Article[edit]

This article suggests that the earth's magnetic polar field is aligned with its rotation. However, the Compass article states that geographical north ("true north") is aligned to rotation, while magnetic north can vary with geographic location, and that the magnetic poles shift over time.

Essentially it should be made clear in this article that the earth's magnetic field has nothing to do with rotation, and that there are several forms of "north", each in relation to either:

1) The geographical north pole 2) The relative position and movement of the sun and stars in the sky (which we have based (1) on), aka the earth's rotation 3) The earth's magnetism (which is what a magnetic compass uses, and which deviates from 1 and 2) (talk) 18:09, 17 August 2018 (UTC)