World's Largest Compass Rose – Edwards Air Force Base, California - Atlas Obscura

World's Largest Compass Rose

Etched into a dry lake bed, this massive directional indicator is accurate without magnets. 


Located near what may be the world’s longest landing strip, the colossal compass rose painted onto the dry(ish) lakebed at Edwards Air Force Base, was created as an analog directional device at the emergency landing strip. 

While Roger’s Lake sometimes fills with a shallow bit of rain water, it is almost exclusively dry, creating a large, unchanging stretch of land, perfect for a massive marker such as the compass rose that was installed there decades ago. In addition to the large amount of unbroken land, free of markers or debris that would make the marker unclear, the surface of the lakebed only has an elevation variance of millimeters every few meters. This flatness ensures that the points and degrees of the compass can be seen clearly both from greater distances and from most any direction. With a diameter of over 4,000 feet, the huge compass (which is almost perfectly aligned with magnetic north) is ideal for use by aircraft that may have malfunctioning or non-functioning equipment. Setting a world record is just a nice byproduct. 

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