Direction - Base Line

In order to measure something, there must always be a starting point or zero measurement. To express direction as a unit of angular measure, there must be a starting point or zero measure and a point of reference. These two points designate the base or reference line. There are three base lines--true north, magnetic north, and grid north. The most commonly used are magnetic and grid.

a. True North. A line from any point on the earth's surface to the north pole. All lines of longitude are true north lines. True north is usually represented by a star.

b. Magnetic North. The direction to the north magnetic pole, as indicated by the north­seeking needle of a magnetic instrument. Magnetic north is usually symbolized by a line ending with a half arrowhead . Magnetic readings are obtained with magnetic instruments, such as lensatic and M2 compasses.

c. Grid North. The north that is established by using the vertical grid lines on the map. Grid north may be symbolized by the letters GN or the letter "y".