Difference between Cardinal Directions and Intermediate Directions

Key difference: There are four cardinal directions: north, east, south, and west. They are also known as cardinal points. The intermediate directions are the directions that lie between the four cardinal directions. These intermediate directions are also known as intercardinal or ordinal directions. They are further categorized as primary intercardinal directions and secondary intercardinal directions.

Cardinal directions and intermediate directions are two difference types of directions. Directions are in the form of guidelines. They are mainly utilized while guiding somebody into a particular direction. Directions are mainly associated with driving directions, which aim to get somebody from point A to point B. However, they can be associated with anything that may lead somebody somewhere, especially in a particular direction.

Cardinal directions and intermediate directions, however, refer to the points on a compass. There are four cardinal directions: north, east, south, and west. They are also known as cardinal points. The cardinal directions are usually denoted by their initials: N, E, S, W, especially on a compass or a compass rose.

A compass rose, also called a windrose is the four or more pointed figure that can be seen on a compass, map, nautical chart or monument. The main and only job of a compass rose is to denote the cardinal directions.

The cardinal directions form the four main points on a compass rose. East and west lie on the opposite side of each other, while east and west make right angles (90 deg angles) with north and south. North and south lie opposite each other. The easiest way to distinguish where the points lit is to notice the sun. The sun will always rise in the east and set in the west.

The intermediate directions are the directions that lie between the four cardinal directions. These intermediate directions are also known as intercardinal or ordinal directions. They are further categorized as primary intercardinal directions and secondary intercardinal directions.

Primary intercardinal directions are north-east (NE), south-east (SE), south-west (SW), and north-west (NW). These primary intercardinal directions can be further broken down into north-northeast (NNE), east-northeast (ENE), east-southeast (ESE), south-southeast (SSE), south-southwest (SSW), west-southwest (WSW), west-northwest (WNW), and north-northwest (NNW). However, these are rarely used.

Image Courtesy: wikipedia.org

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