Compass roseIllustration credit: Joaquim Alves Gaspar, after Jorge de Aguiar
A compass rose, sometimes called a windrose or rose of the winds, is a figure on a compass, map, nautical chart, or monument used to display the orientation of the cardinal directions (north, east, south, and west) and their intermediate points. It is also the term for the graduated markings found on the traditional magnetic compass. Today, a form of compass rose is found on, or featured in, almost all navigation systems, including nautical charts, non-directional beacons, VHF omnidirectional range systems, GPS, and similar equipment.
This picture is an illustration of a compass rose, copied from a 1492 portolan chart by Portuguese navigator and cartographer Jorge de Aguiar, now in the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library.