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4.3 Bearings

Bearings by itself is not that complicated but, as with other sub-topics, when asked as part of complicated question it can get tricky. Bearings are used for navigational purposes and are used to determine the accurate position which is critical in some cases like for planes to avoid collisions.

There are two types of bearings:

Compass bearing

As you know there are four sides of compass North (N), South (S), East (E), West (W). This bearing starts from either N or S, has an angle in between and ends with either W or E. Suppose a plane is travelling in the following direction:

The following are different ways its angle of travel can be displayed:

So, for the example above, under compass bearing, the following is the way information will be communicated:

And it is written as N50oW which means face north and then turn 50o to west. Similarly, if any plane is travelling below East-West line, it will be communicated from the perspective of South like this:

This is S55oE i.e. travel south and turn 55o to east.

True bearing

True bearing is the simpler of the two where it is always measured clockwise from the perspective of North and is written in three digits with a T in the end indicating it is true bearing. So, the two examples above will be drawn and written like this:

Get access to 20 Mock Exams with over 700 exam-style questions for HSC Standard Maths.

Example 1

Write down both compass bearing and true bearing of the following diagrams:

Example 2

Bearing of point B from point A is 095oT. What is the bearing of point A from point B?

You might find the following videos helpful related to this section:

4C Bearings (1 of 3)

by Mr Bodgers (click to view channel)

Explains the difference between compass and true bearings and then completes examples where you have to calculate bearings.
4C Bearings (2 of 3)

by Mr Bodgers (click to view channel)

Completes an example on bearings where you need to calculate how far East a helicopter has travelled from its starting point.
4C Bearings (3 of 3)

by Mr Bodgers (click to view channel)

Completes an example on bearings where you need to calculate the bearing a drone must take in order to take the shortest route home.

There isn’t much of variation expected in exam if bearing appears by itself:

Study notes of this section and other resources can be accessed here:

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