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The points of the compass are points on a compass, specifically on the compass rose, marking divisions of the four cardinal directions: North, South, East, West. The number of points may be only the 4 cardinal points, or the 8 principal points adding the intercardinal directions northeast, southeast, southwest, and northwest. In meteorological usage further intermediate points are added to give the sixteen points of a wind compass. Finally, at the most complete in European tradition, are found the full thirty-two points of the mariner’s compass. In ancient China 24 points of the compass were used.
The mariner’s practice of boxing the compass is the action of naming all thirty-two points of the compass in order clockwise. The names of intermediate points are formed by the initials of the cardinal directions and their intermediate ordinal directions, and are very handy to refer to a heading in a general or colloquial fashion, without having to resort to computing or recalling degrees. For most applications, the minor points have been superseded by degrees measured clockwise from North.

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