Direction - Methods Of Expressing Direction



Being in the right place at the prescribed time is necessary to successfully accomplish military missions. Direction plays an important role in a soldier's everyday life. It can be expressed as right, left, straight ahead, and so forth; but then the question arises, "To the right of what?" This chapter contains the definition of azimuth and the three different norths, how to determine grid and magnetic azimuths with the use of the protractor and the compass, the use of some field­expedient methods to find directions, the declination diagram, and the conversion of azimuths from grid to magnetic and vice versa. It also includes some advanced aspects of map reading, such as intersection, resection, modified resection, and polar plots.

Military personnel need a way of expressing direction that is accurate, is adaptable to any part of the world, and has a common unit of measure. Directions are expressed as units of angular measure.

a. Degree. The most common unit of measure is the degree (°) with its subdivisions of minutes (') and seconds (").

1 degree = 60 minutes.

1 minute = 60 seconds.
b. Mill Another unit of measure, the mil (abbreviated , is used mainly in artillery, tank, and mortar gunnery. The mil expresses the size of an angle formed when a circle is divided into 6,400 angles with the vertex of the angles at the center of the circle. A relationship can be established between degrees and mils. A circle equals 6400 mils divided by 360 degrees, or 17.78 mils per degree. To convert degrees to mils, multiply degrees by 17.78.

c. Grad. The grad is a metric unit of measure found on some foreign maps. There are 400 grads in a circle (a 90° right angle equals 100 grads). The grad is divided into 100 centesimal minutes (centigrade) and the minute into 100 centesimal seconds (milligrads).