Orienteering Compass iPhone App

Orienteering Compass is the only iPhone compass designed specifically with the sport of orienteering in mind. Practical and energy efficient(*), it is well suited to backpacking, hiking and mountaineering.
Visit Orienteering Compass on the App Store
Featuring multiple realistic views, this elegant tool behaves just like an oil-bath mechanical compass equipped with a locking outer-ring…

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“Map used with permission of the Bay Area Orienteering Club baoc.org


  1. Outer-rim is a protractor that rotates just like oil-bath compass
  2. Protractor can be locked, and stays locked
  3. Compass needle responds to magnetic north
  4. Day and night views
  5. Designed to perform correctly in airplane mode (GPS disabled)
  6. No cellular signal nor GPS signal required needed
  7. Accurate rulers graduated with 2.5 inches and 6 cm (Based on iPhone @ 163 ppi)
  8. No setting. Pick it up, it works

Since the Orienteering Compass performs equally well with or without Global Positioning System enabled, it can be used to simulate a physical protractor compass used under similar conditions. While it is not intended to be used during orienteering competitions, it certainly makes a great and realistic training apparatus.

Its minimalistic and intuitive interface makes it an ideal learning and teaching tool, complete with rotating protractor and glow-in-the-dark appearance.
Since it is designed primarily around the stringent needs of orienteering (accuracy, readability, no setup or preferences to fiddle with, protractor and rulers, no cellular signal), it makes it a perfect compass for outdoors activities such as backpacking, hiking and trekking. The simple fact that it runs in “Airplane Mode” ¬†allows Orienteering Compass to be a low consumption, energy efficient application.

Hardware Requirements

  1. An iPhone 4
  2. or an iPhone 3Gs (with internal magnetometer)
  3. or an iPad (any version) Note that the rulers are not accurate on iPad

(Not to worry, you will not be able to buy this application from the App Store if your device does not have an internal magnetometer.)

About the Compasses…

1. Familiar Interface

All protractors’ outer rims rotate the same way.
Use the outer rim to adjust, and a single lock button to fix.

A lock prevents the compass-heading information from drifting.
The heading can be set once, and will stick until changed. Quitting the application will not affect the heading. Just like an oil-bath compass, only one heading is stored at a time.

2. Different looks

Regular protractor ; Large and Off-centered ; Night ; Nautical.
Day, twilight and night (low light screen).

The protractor lines in the Nautical style make it easy to adjust the heading using an iPhone. After all, the iPhone is not transparent and the practical layout makes it a useful tool.

Headings are remembered across all compasses styles.

The night-look interface featured here is particularly dim and readable in low-light situations.

3. A tool, not a toy

Simplicity has not been sacrificed to the interface

While most compass applications give the geographic (true) and magnetic north, the approach to Orienteering compass is to make it a straight substitution for a physical device. Where others may have created eye-candy, most of the time relying on the GPS for current coordinates and even links to actual maps (using precious battery power in the field), Orienteering Compass is explicitly replicates the simple and elegant oil-bath compass.

4. Rulers, Direction Of Travel and other features


All iPhones (and iPod Touch) come with a screen resolution of 320×480 pixels at 163 ppi. This means that, when measured vertically or horizontally, exactly 163 pixels will fit in a linear inch. Using this characteristic, Orienteering Compass is able to provide two different rulers, one 2.5 inches long on one side, and one 6 cm long on the other.


The Direction Of Travel is clearly marked by an arrow on all screens.

Independent Outer-Rim and lock

The outer-rim rotates and locks independently of the compass needle. Once locked, it is not at risk of being accidentally changed. The application can also be safely exited, the setting of the outer rim is not affected.

Airplane Mode

Orienteering Compass does not rely on the GPS nor the cellular signal to calculate it’s orientation. It relies upon the internal magnetometer embedded in the iPhone 4, 3Gs and the iPad. If you are using Orienteering Compass in an outdoor setting where a source of power may not be readily available, it is recommended to put your phone in Airplane Mode to conserve battery. As a matter of fact, Orienteering Compass will work in an airplane!

How to use…

“Map used with permission of the Bay Area Orienteering Club baoc.org

1. Align the Direction Of Travel

Put the device on top of the map.
Align the course to the side of the phone. It matters not to align the current position with the rulers. Only the direction of travel matters.

2. Adjust the outer-ring

Unlock the outer-rim.
Align the protractor with the magnetic north of the map. There is no need to orient the map, since the protractor rotates freely. Make sure you use the maps’s magnetic north, or compensate for local declination. Orienteering maps indicate the magnetic north. When set, tap “lock”. Note that the rim would lock on it’s own after a short delay.

3. Orient the compass

Rotate the device until the needle and the protractor overlap.
When the compass needle and the protractor overlap, the DOT arrow (the front of the phone when held flat) points to the direction of travel.

Get it now.

Orienteering Compass is available on the App Store.

Click here to visit Orienteering Compass on the App Store.


Technical Support

  • orienteeringcompass@thegothicparty.com

End-User License Agreement (EULA)

No guaranties, implicit or explicit.
The complete End-User License Agreement can be read at:


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