GLENVILLE, W.Va. – A Glenville State University (GSU) professor has developed a tool that will help surveyors deal with a difficult concept, even without special training.

According to a release from GSU, Jacob Petry, a lecturer of land surveying at GSU, created the Pathfinder to help himself and others work around geomagnetic secular variation, which is a gradual change to Earth’s magnetic field.

“I remember being told as a student that it was no reflection on our ability to learn, but some of us would understand secular change, and some wouldn’t – I fell into the second category. Then, after spending several hours working mathematical computations and trying to visualize two magnetic norths that varied slightly, the idea for the directional conversion tool appeared,” said Petry.

To create the prototype, Petry worked with his brother Kaleb, “an Army pilot and expert land navigator,” the release said.

According to Builder’s Book, a California-based company that sells the product, Pathfinder is labelled as a tool that helps surveyors with secular variation “without the need for advanced tools or specialized training.”

“I’m proud of the Pathfinder, and seeing it on the market brings me joy. I believe aspiring land surveyors will receive as much help out of it as I have,” Petry said.

The Pathfinder: Directional Conversion Wheel can be purchased online at