The points of the compass are the vectors by which planet-based directions are conventionally defined. A compass rose is primarily composed of four cardinal directions—north, east, south, and west—each separated by 90 degrees, and secondarily divided by four ordinal (intercardinal) directions—northeast, southeast, southwest, and northwest—each located halfway between two cardinal directions. Some disciplines such as meteorology and navigation further divide the compass with additional vectors. Within European tradition, a fully defined compass has 32 ‘points’ (and any finer subdivisions are described in fractions of points).
Compass points are valuable in that they allow a user to refer to a specific azimuth in a colloquial fashion, without having to compute or remember degrees.