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sqitso
Posts: 15,728
Registered: ‎09-08-2004

How do you tell directions? N,S,E,W?

Okay this is a serious question. I have gotten by for years but I need to know. Let's make a quick scenario..

You are on the cell phone with someone. You where supposed to meet them in a large parking lot like Wal-mart. So while you are talking to them they say something like "I'm on the west side of the parking lot" or "I'm north of the Pharmacy inside"

 

How the f^ck do you tell directions like that? I have had people say stuff for years in direction speak and I never understood it. I thought maybe it had something to do with the position of the sun or whatever. A lot of times it doesn't make sense. Someone would say something like "I'm heading south on blah blah hightway", but when you look at the map they are heading west in map directions.

So how does it work? It seems like a practical way to communicate.. but I just don't get it. I know how to use a compus fine.. but direction speak doesn't seem to apply to compuses.

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Veteran Rifleman
Natedog51
Posts: 4,072
Registered: ‎01-11-2004

Re: How do you tell directions? N,S,E,W?

I had a really nice answer but was too busy being mesmorized by your avatar.
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Brigadier General
darkportal_4
Posts: 9,785
Registered: ‎01-08-2004

Re: How do you tell directions? N,S,E,W?

[ Edited ]

Since I live on the coast, it's rather easy. I know my town well enough that I can easily know which way the beach is.... Knowing the beach is west, I can orient myself based off of that, or I can orient myself (ROUGHLY) based off the sun and what direction the sun is compared to the time of day.

Obviously, the latter is easier in the morning or afternoon, however there are a few other tricks I learned through life and in my time earning Eagle Scouts:

If the sun rises in the east and sets in the west....

The shadowy side of a building in the afternoon is generally east, ergo the sunfacing side of a building in the morning is east.

Find a stick or pole sticking straight out of the ground. Its shadow will be opposite of the sun... meaning shadow points west in the morning and east in the afternoon.

It helps to find a nearby, easily-visible landmark and acquaint yourself with its direction relative to where you usually are ... as in, "oh hey, there's Mount McLargehuge! The map says the mountain is directly north of my city, Armpittown, therefore the mountain is always the rough direction of north. Opposite of the mountain is south, left of the mountain is west, and right of the mountain is east."

 

I never did learn how to find the north star, so you're on your own for that one. Unless, of course, you live in Austrailia where the north star isn't visible, in which case you're **bleep**ed.

 

etc etc

Message Edited by darkportal_4 on 07-09-2008 02:02 AM
Blooded Grunt
Posts: 2,465
Registered: ‎11-14-2004

Re: How do you tell directions? N,S,E,W?

I just memorized which way was north.  Then everytime I turn it's like a little GPS map in my head and i can get a general idea of which way I'm going.

 

I know that doesn't really help, but remember, the people telling you there going south on an east and west might not know directions either :smileywink: (and of course some highways that are E & W, that cut north and south for a bit. and those people might be looking at the Compass in their cars.  But you get the idea I'm trying to make)

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gregorov_14
Posts: 7,089
Registered: ‎03-18-2004

Re: How do you tell directions? N,S,E,W?

I'll usually just know which way is North and I'll be able to figure it out from that. However, I have gotten North wrong before, particularly last weekend in Vienna. But I found my way. I thought I was on a different street than I was, that was all. Although regardless of where I'm going, I need to atcually think about East and West still. Dunno why.
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megatokyo
Blooded Grunt
Posts: 2,465
Registered: ‎11-14-2004

Re: How do you tell directions? N,S,E,W?

Yeah, I always have to think about east and west too...
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qmakowski
Posts: 1,254
Registered: ‎02-01-2004

Re: How do you tell directions? N,S,E,W?

Depends on who i'm talking to. Some of my friends and family prefer the N/S and other I just say left or right (mostly women).
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bysmitty
Posts: 9,231
Registered: ‎09-28-2005

Re: How do you tell directions? N,S,E,W?

I just remember that Cleveland & the lake are North then orient myself off of that. I guess that doesn't help you too much though

 

 

...bysmitty

Delta Force
Callred
Posts: 7,538
Registered: ‎03-23-2005

Re: How do you tell directions? N,S,E,W?


dryfter_09_19 wrote: 

I know that doesn't really help, but remember, the people telling you there going south on an east and west might not know directions either :smileywink: (and of course some highways that are E & W, that cut north and south for a bit. and those people might be looking at the Compass in their cars.  But you get the idea I'm trying to make)


  Yep, we have several roads around here marked like that. They look like they should go one way but actually go the other over their entire distance. I have a good sense of direction and tend to speak in N/S/E/W terms myself, but because I like to get out in the country I also have a compass on the dash in my truck.


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sqitso
Posts: 15,728
Registered: ‎09-08-2004

Re: How do you tell directions? N,S,E,W?

Okay.. you see like if I am out on the rance or something like that.. My direction speak is true to the sun and such.. so if I say I am on the north end of the ranch.. it is accurate. If I am in town and heading towards downtown from my sub I know I am heading north. If I am coming away from downtown I know I am heading south and such.

So I guess what is screwing with me is the inside directions. People telling me they are in the north end of a store like walmart or the mall. From what you guys are telling me it is still based on real directions. So apparently whoever is telling me the directions knows thier orientation in the real world and are giving accurate directions.. but since I am not oriented to that building and don't know which was is which.. the directions are useless to me.

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Delta Force
Callred
Posts: 7,538
Registered: ‎03-23-2005

Re: How do you tell directions? N,S,E,W?

^ Pretty much sums it up. I think we all have that kind of thing happen now and then though.

Shock Trooper
chemgeek
Posts: 8,669
Registered: ‎01-20-2005

Re: How do you tell directions? N,S,E,W?

Look where the sun is.
Brigadier General
darkportal_4
Posts: 9,785
Registered: ‎01-08-2004

Re: How do you tell directions? N,S,E,W?

Not quite, the sun rises and sets at a tilt on all days of the year except two :-)
Sharpshooter
Kessandra
Posts: 8,149
Registered: ‎02-02-2007

Re: How do you tell directions? N,S,E,W?

I live on a desert island; directions are moot. =P
Blooded Grunt
Posts: 2,465
Registered: ‎11-14-2004

Re: How do you tell directions? N,S,E,W?


sqitso wrote:

 

Okay.. you see like if I am out on the rance or something like that.. My direction speak is true to the sun and such.. so if I say I am on the north end of the ranch.. it is accurate. If I am in town and heading towards downtown from my sub I know I am heading north. If I am coming away from downtown I know I am heading south and such.

So I guess what is screwing with me is the inside directions. People telling me they are in the north end of a store like walmart or the mall. From what you guys are telling me it is still based on real directions. So apparently whoever is telling me the directions knows thier orientation in the real world and are giving accurate directions.. but since I am not oriented to that building and don't know which was is which.. the directions are useless to me.


 

I would guess they just have a good sense of direction.

 

For instance:

If the doors to walmart are on the south side of the building. the back of the store is the north side, the grocieries would be on the West side (in my walmart) and the autimotive stuff would be on the East side (also in my store).

 

So I would say as long as you know where the doors are on a building, you should be able to think about it like that.

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supercharge
Posts: 6,240
Registered: ‎07-02-2007

Re: How do you tell directions? N,S,E,W?


dryfter_09_19 wrote:

For instance:

If the doors to walmart are on the south side of the building. the back of the store is the north side, the grocieries would be on the West side (in my walmart) and the autimotive stuff would be on the East side (also in my store).

 

So I would say as long as you know where the doors are on a building, you should be able to think about it like that.


I don't stay in Wal-Mart long enough to figure out directions. It is get in and out of there like you are in a room with no oxygen.

Sharpshooter
Kessandra
Posts: 8,149
Registered: ‎02-02-2007

Re: How do you tell directions? N,S,E,W?


SuperCharge wrote:

dryfter_09_19 wrote:

For instance:

If the doors to walmart are on the south side of the building. the back of the store is the north side, the grocieries would be on the West side (in my walmart) and the autimotive stuff would be on the East side (also in my store).

 

So I would say as long as you know where the doors are on a building, you should be able to think about it like that.


I don't stay in Wal-Mart long enough to figure out directions. It is get in and out of there like you are in a room with no oxygen.


That's literally true over here: dust, pollution and Arabs & Indians that never bathe...

Shock Trooper
chemgeek
Posts: 8,669
Registered: ‎01-20-2005

Re: How do you tell directions? N,S,E,W?

Walmart, yikes, I stay clear of that place.  I'll pay the extra couple of bucks to do my shopping elsewhere.   
Blooded Grunt
Posts: 2,465
Registered: ‎11-14-2004

Re: How do you tell directions? N,S,E,W?

Walmart was the only thing I could think of that people everywhere can pretty much relate to.  I only go there once every 2 weeks for groceries, and thats just because I know where everything is that I want.
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sqitso
Posts: 15,728
Registered: ‎09-08-2004

Re: How do you tell directions? N,S,E,W?

Well the other thing is the mall. I know strip malls are taking over but Austin does have some very large indoor malls. Trying to meet a friend is a bitch when they keep saying north and west and such. I always wind up just asking what store they are next to and look at the "You are here" map thingy.
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Shock Trooper
chemgeek
Posts: 8,669
Registered: ‎01-20-2005

Re: How do you tell directions? N,S,E,W?


sqitso wrote:
Well the other thing is the mall. I know strip malls are taking over but Austin does have some very large indoor malls. Trying to meet a friend is a bitch when they keep saying north and west and such. I always wind up just asking what store they are next to and look at the "You are here" map thingy.

 

Yeah, that's how we do it.  Sort of "I am in Best Buy looking at Blurays."  Seems to work well. 
Sharpshooter
ICDP
Posts: 3,366
Registered: ‎01-07-2004

Re: How do you tell directions? N,S,E,W?

Unless you're at one of the malls around here (I forget which one actually, but whatever). One whole section of it is called "the north end", with big signs and everything. I assume it's actually on the north side of the mall :smileywink:

 

As for freeways, the 101 here is generally a north/south freeway, but for most of the San Fernando Valley it goes east/west. Sometimes people will say northbound, other times westbound for the same direction. Even the onramp signs use both directions in different places. Then there's plenty of places near L.A. and Santa Barbara where the coast of the Pacific Ocean is actually south, not west, because of the way the coastline curves. That one can really confuse you sometimes. 

Green Cadet
Posts: 421
Registered: ‎02-24-2007

Re: How do you tell directions? N,S,E,W?

Army training.

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Pathfinder
Transco901
Posts: 5,076
Registered: ‎07-29-2006

Re: How do you tell directions? N,S,E,W?

I use buildings to give me direction.  For example, in Dallas, all I have to do is get to an area where I can see a few miles out.  From there I can spot a building.  I easily recognize buildings that are 10+ stories high.  From there I know where other buildings are and it all falls in place.

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sqitso
Posts: 15,728
Registered: ‎09-08-2004

Re: How do you tell directions? N,S,E,W?

GRRR!! Goddamnit.. are cops stupid or again am I mission something.

 

I was watching the news. They interviewed this cop. He said that they found a window broken on the west side of the school. I know the school he is talking about, and the side and window they showed on the news is not on the west side of the school in corilation to the sun.

If you where looking directly at the front of the school. Then based West by direction only "left".. then I understand. Facing the school the left side is the west side in terms of hand signals... but on a compass.. on a map.. with the sun... that side is South!

 

Again are there two ways to give directions? One meaning left or right in corialtion to the front of something and the other based on map directions?

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Regular Infantry
grey_area
Posts: 1,465
Registered: ‎07-20-2008

Re: How do you tell directions? N,S,E,W?

I've always gotten by knowing where north is in my home town in Chch by sighting the sun or just knowing where I am. Its pretty easy to learn though, since most of the city is a grid that runs mostly NS/EW, and there is ocean to the east, nearby hills to the south, and way in the distance there are mountains to the west. Spot any of those and you're set. What screws me up is when I'm in the Northern Hemisphere, since then when I look at the sun it is south of my position, not north, so I generally have to take any directions I think are right and reverse them.

 

Yes there is no Pole Star here in the SH, but there is a handy hole where the south celestial pole is. There is a trick to finding where south is, if you know it, but it's not intuitive. I've learned how to for the hell of it though, and here's a link if you are interested... I use the Southern Cross method.

Black Ops
Egglick
Posts: 8,483
Registered: ‎01-28-2004

Re: How do you tell directions? N,S,E,W?

The cop probably just screwed up.  I'm extremely good with directions, but when I was a kid, I used to orient myself by looking at the street from my house.  Since my house faces south, I basically thought of everything as if holding a map upside-down.  Yes, my directions were still technically correct, but when giving directions to someone ELSE by looking at a map normally (north being "up"), I'd sometimes forget and get things flipflopped.

 

When I'm out of the vicinity of my parent's house it's usually not a problem, but occasionally when I'm tired, I'll be looking at a map of the area and forget to orient North as "up".

Sharpshooter
powwow71
Posts: 9,220
Registered: ‎08-14-2004

Re: How do you tell directions? N,S,E,W?

Bro, the streets here are pretty much all in straight lines. Its easy to know what is N and S, E and W.

 

In Europe where everythign circles, it would be more difficult using this method

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Samuel71
Posts: 7,647
Registered: ‎06-27-2008

Re: How do you tell directions? N,S,E,W?

[ Edited ]

North, south, east, and west don't have anything to do with what direction you are looking and where you are standing.  People who use those directions in that manner are using them incorrectly.  The south side of the school is always the south side of the school, no matter where you are in relation to it.



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