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 allowing 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

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Brunton compass parts and uses

Now, we will discuss the uses of different parts of Brunton’s compass. Each part has a specific use. All geologists and geological engineers should know the function of each part.

Clinometer level

Clinometer level is used to:

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

Bull eyes level

  • Used to take angle measurements of the strike.

 Compass needle

  • Points to magnetic North and it is 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 an accuracy of 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 the plane
  • Measuring the bearing of a line between two-point
  • Using  the  compass  for  the  two-point   problem
  • Measuring strike and  dip
  • The direction of the earth and maps

Advance applications of Brunton Compass

The Brunton Compass has long been a trusted tool in the field of geology, serving as a reliable companion to geologists worldwide. In recent years, advances in technology have enabled geologists to harness the full potential of this age-old instrument, enhancing its capabilities and expanding its applications.

In this section, we will explore the advanced applications of the Brunton Compass in geology and how it continues to be a cornerstone in geological research and exploration.

brunton compass parts

1. Precision Strike and Dip Measurements

One of the key advancements in Brunton Compass usage is the increased precision in strike and dip measurements. Modern Brunton Compass models are equipped with improved sighting mechanisms, bubble levels, and magnifying lenses, ensuring more accurate readings. This precision is invaluable for geological mapping, fault analysis, and structural geology studies.

2. Digital Integration

In the digital age, Brunton Compasses has seamlessly integrated with smartphones and tablets. By connecting the compass to a mobile device, geologists can record data digitally, eliminating the need for manual note-taking. This integration not only enhances data accuracy but also streamlines data management.

3. Detailed Geological Surveys with Brunton compass

Geological mapping is a fundamental aspect of geology, and Brunton Compasses plays a pivotal role in this process. With advanced compasses, geologists can accurately record strike and dip data, aiding in the creation of highly detailed geological maps. These maps are essential for resource exploration, environmental assessment, and hazard evaluation.

4. Structural Geology Analysis

In structural geology, understanding the orientation and deformation of rock layers is critical. Brunton Compasses provides geologists with the means to analyze complex geological structures accurately. By measuring the orientation of rock beds, joints, and folds, researchers gain insights into the geological history of an area.

5. Mineral Exploration

Mineral exploration demands precise measurements to identify ore bodies and mineral deposits accurately. The Brunton Compass assists geologists in establishing the orientation of mineral veins, aiding in the development of targeted exploration strategies. This technology is indispensable in the mining industry.

6. Oil and Gas Exploration

In the realm of oil and gas exploration, knowledge of subsurface structures is essential. Advanced Brunton Compasses are utilized to measure the orientation of sedimentary layers and fractures, assisting in the identification of potential reservoirs. This information guides drilling and extraction efforts, optimizing resource utilization.

7. Landslide Risk Assessment

Landslides pose a significant threat to communities and infrastructure. Geologists use Brunton Compasses to assess the stability of slopes by analyzing the orientation of rock layers and fractures. This data informs hazard mitigation strategies and land-use planning.

8. Groundwater Resource Management

Understanding the geological features of an area is vital for sustainable groundwater management. Brunton Compasses help geologists determine the orientation of underground aquifers and potential contamination sources, contributing to effective water resource management.


In the field of geology, the Brunton Compass has evolved from a simple navigation tool to a sophisticated instrument that empowers researchers with precise data collection capabilities.

Advanced models, combined with digital integration, have elevated their utility in geological mapping, structural analysis, resource assessment, and environmental studies.

As geology continues to evolve, the Brunton Compass remains an enduring symbol of precision and reliability in the geologist’s toolkit.

Its adaptability to modern technology and its ability to provide critical geological data make it an indispensable tool for both seasoned professionals and emerging geoscientists.

Embracing the advanced applications of the Brunton Compass allows us to unlock new insights into our planet’s complex geological history, ultimately advancing our understanding of the Earth’s dynamic processes.

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