A compass is a technical drawing instrument that can be used for inscribing circles or arcs. As dividers, they can also be used as tools to measure distances, in particular on maps. Compasses can be used for mathematics, drafting, navigation, and other purposes.
Compasses are usually made of metal or plastic, and consist of two parts connected by a hinge which can be adjusted to allow the changing of the radius of the circle drawn. Typically one part has a spike at its end, and the other part a pencil, or sometimes a pen.
Prior to computerization, compasses and other tools for manual drafting were often packaged as a "bow set" with interchangeable parts. Today these facilities are more often provided by computer-aided design programs, so the physical tools serve mainly a didactic purpose in teaching geometry, technical drawing, etc.
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