The magnetic compass determine the north, south, east and west directions using a magnet pointer. The north and south directions in the magnetic compass are parallel to the north and south directions of the earth.
The magnetic compass was first invented by the ancient Chinese around 2000 years ago, it was used in geomancy and fortune-telling.
Some people sailed near the land in order to determine their position and direction. Others which had more astronomy knowledge used the sun through the day and the stars during the night in order to determine their direction. The magnetic compass was first used in navigation in the 11th century by the Chinese also and this allowed sailing easily in the fog and away from the land. Later the magnetic compass was transferred to Europe, India and to the Arab world.
By the beginning of the 14th century the dry compass was invented by the French scientist Peter Peregrinus in the year 1269. Another compass was invented by the Egyptians in the year 1300. A third type was invented by the Flavio Gioja in the year 1302
In the year 1690, the first liquid-filled magnetic compass was invented by Sir Edmund Halley. The Englishman Francis Crow produced the first liquid marine compass in the year 1813.
In the beginnings of the 20th century a gyrocompass (astrocompass) the non magnetic compass which was invented in order to determine the true north not the magnetic north.
Global Positioning Satellite Receivers (GPSRs) which is considered a sort of compasses was invented in the middle of the 20th century. The Global Positioning Satellite Receivers (GPSRs) is an electronic compass, which detects the position using the satellites.