Early Compass Rose
The compass rose originated around 1200 AD. It evolved from the wind rose, a device that used a wind vane and card with a rose-like design to indicated wind direction. The compass was born when first a lodestone, then a magnetized needle, was substituted for the wind vane. The four main points (cardinal directions) were N. E. S. and W. The four half-points (ordinal points) were NE, SE, SW, and NW. More points were added until there were 32, the recitation of which is called "boxing the compass".
Modern Compass Rose
Modern compasses still use the compass rose, but the rose now generally is presented as two concentric rings. The out ring represents true directions, based on the location of the North Pole, while the inner ring represents magnetic directions, based on the location of magnetic north. The difference in the two directions is called "variation", which is determined by the location of the compass and magnetic characteristics of the area immediately around the compass.
(upper left) Early compass rose
(lower right) Modern compass rose
Compass Rose sculpture donated by Christi & Bob LeBoeuf
Crafted by Wade Brooks, Garden Creek Woodworks
Sign and sign holder donated by Christi & Bob LeBoeuf