Geological SurveyGeology

Introduction to BRUNTON COMPASS parts and their uses

What is Brunton Compass?

Brunton compass
A standard Brunton Compass used by Geologists

A Brunton Compass is a specialized instrument used widely by those needing to make an accurate degree and angle measurements in the field. It is properly known as the Brunton Pocket Transit. David W. Brunton, a Canadian Geologist invented it in 1894.

Brunton compass consists of plastic, non-chip gray case weight 12 ounces its case is water-resistant and sealed against dust with Brunton closed it is 2  ⅝ inches wide and 3 ⅛   inches long and 1 ⅜  height. It has a fitting clasp on one side and on the opposite side allowed the instrument to open at an angle of 180 degrees.

Brunton compass parts
Brunton compass parts

Brunton Compass Parts

Different parts are listed below

  • Mirror
  • Lift pin for needle
  • Compass card
  • Sighting arm
  • Needle
  • Bull’s eye level
  • Clinometer level
  • Compass needle

Brunton compass parts and uses

Now, we will discuss the uses of different parts

Clinometer level

Clinometer level is used to:

  • Align vertical edge of compass with angle of plane
  • Adjust bubble level of clinometer  
  • Read angle from vernier scale on compass
  • Take azimuth measurements of dip

Bull eyes level

  • Used to take angle measurements of strike.

 Compass needle

  • Points to magnetic North and it are damped using the magnet below the pivot point. But the bearing can be adjusted accordingly by rotating the declination zero pin.

Compass card

  • 360-degree Graduated Circle – Used for azimuth readings that are accurate to half of a degree.

Clinometer scale

  • Used for measuring dip using the long level on the vernier.

Lift needle pin

  • Helps to lock the needle in place in order to take a reading.


  • The vernier is used for inclination measurements with accuracy to 30 minutes.

Brunton Compass uses

Brunton compass is used by geologists for different purposes in the field. It is a very useful instrument for the measurement of angles, dip, and strike.

The device is also used for:

  • Determining  the   magnetic   declination
  • The   concept of  domain
  • Measuring  the  attitude of  plane
  • Measuring the bearing of a line between two point
  • Using  the  compass  for  the  two-point   problem
  • Measuring strike and  dip
  • Direction of earth and maps

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