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A bearing is a kind of azimuth. In surveying, a bearing is recorded in a notation that references the four quadrants of a compass. A bearing of N 70° E is 70 degrees measured from North toward East, or a compass direction of 70°. A bearing of S 70° E is 70 degrees measured from South toward East, or a compass direction of 110°.
The notation always states North or South first, then the angular measure, then East or West. The angle is always less than 90°. A bearing of N 70° W is 70 degrees measured from North toward West, or a compass direction of 290°.
Surveyor bearings will be encountered in metes and bounds property deeds and plats.
A compass bearing is often used in navigation. A compass bearing is taken as degrees from north, measured in a clockwise direction on the compass.
For either kind of bearing, it is important to know if the bearing is from true north (a true bearing) or magnetic north (a magnetic bearing). In surveying, the bearing may also be referenced to a map grid.