Compass bearings in Excel (?)

  Mike D 08:10 22 Mar 04

This is one for the Excel (?) experts - or if anyone knows a better alternative.

A young friend has been set a task by his maths teacher (who has not specified a computerised approach to it). The task is to measure distance and compass bearings of various towns and landmarks from the school. My frien wants to use Excel (or whatever) to enter the data and ten plot onto a chart using he school as the centre point of the chart with scale length lines radiatin from it at the correct angles to give a graphic representation of the location.

Does anyone have any ideas please?


  Pesala 08:27 22 Mar 04

I would use a drawing program then draw vertical lines of the appropriate length for each distance. Use horizontal and vertical guidelines to mark the school. Snap one end of the line at the school, snap the centre of rotation there, and rotate to the appropriate bearing angle. This would be easy in Corel Draw or Page Plus 9.0.

  Pesala 08:59 22 Mar 04

You could add some text and rectangles to show the buildings, but I have just drawn the lines and rotated them to the desired angle using the attributes dialogue. Rulers and guides help you to get the lengths right for the distances.

click here

You can download Draw Plus 4.0 from click here

  Mike D 10:16 22 Mar 04

Thanks Pesala, it is Monday morning and ti likely to be Thursday before I fully wake up.


  GroupFC 11:03 22 Mar 04

Having just had a bit of an experiment in Excel, I think your young friend would probably be better advised to do it the old fashioned way!!

It will take far longer using a software than it would using a pencil ruler and protractor! I can think (and have found!) two problems using Excel.

The first is I have not found a way to ensure that the correct angle is made from the start point. Obviously using the drawing tools, N S E and W are not problems, but finding the correct angles for intermediate compass points are!

Secondly, I think it would be necessary to set the cells as squares and I have only been able to do this by trial and error (a row height of 40 and column width of 6.57 will give a square of 1.5cm)!

As I say, better to use pencil and paper!!

If you do come with a solution I'd be glad to hear it. I am an Assistant Cub Scout Leader and having just run a pack meeting on compass work (which needs to be re-visited at some point on the future!), this could prove useful!

  Djohn 11:22 22 Mar 04

Mike D Even the humble "Paint" application in Windows will be ideal for this. Excellent for drawing lines/squares/circles.

I used "Publisher" to design to scale fitted wardrobes for my bedroom recently with both a 2D and 3D view. "Word" will also be a good application for this as well with the rule guides across and down the page.

Good luck with the project. j.

  Mike D 12:34 22 Mar 04

Thanks to everyone, as you say excel isn't the best.

I have just spent an hour with a 30-day trail version of Smartdraw from Tucows. This did work (eventually)and the end result looks ok. It does allow for rotation through exact angles, but as groupfc found with Excel, you have to work out the intermediate angles by trail for yourself and remember whch end of the line was the frinishing point so that it is rotated from the right end!


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