What is the name and function of these circular metal plates we have seen in random locations around Iceland? They look like sime sort of star map or sun clock.

We've seen this one along road 52 I think, just north-west of Thingvellir, relatively far from any well-known tourist spots. I think I've seen another one near Gullfoss.

  • 5
    Does it not point to mountains and other landmarks around you? Looks like that sort of thing which is fairly common on tourist roads.
    – Mark Mayo
    Dec 27, 2014 at 10:44
  • @MarkMayo Unfortunately I didn't take a photo of the plate from a better perspective and I can't remember the details (I was there 4 months ago). Could you tell me the name of these things you mention? I tried to find something similar with google, but no success so far.
    – Marton
    Dec 27, 2014 at 11:36
  • @pnuts Yes, that appears to be the same thing. I wonder what's the official name.
    – Marton
    Dec 27, 2014 at 13:07
  • 2
    @pnuts I've just found this: waymarking.com/waymarks/… Looks like it's a mountain indicator combined with a sundial. I think we have an answer :-)
    – Marton
    Dec 27, 2014 at 13:20
  • 1
    That thing would never be allowed in the US... (I mean that specific shape with the pointy top)
    – CGCampbell
    Dec 27, 2014 at 22:57

3 Answers 3


Wikimedia Commons has a picture where the contents of the plate can be discerned. They are there to help you identify landmarks in the vicinity. These sorts of things are called “orientation tables” in several European languages (French, Dutch…). I have also come across the phrase “viewpoint indicator”.


This is a day and 5 years too late, but it seems to be a solar compass with markings as mentioned showing the directions of different landmarks.

Problem is that it also has hours marked on the dial (including nighttime hours). But as it is currently configured couldn't possibly function as a sundial. If it was, the pin would need to be located at least a few inches north of the center of the dial, and this is clearly not the case.

  • Do you have any reason to think the accepted four-years-and-a-bit old answer is not correct? Mar 27, 2019 at 22:45
  • @HenningMakholm there was a suggestion, though not in the other answer, that the thing functions as a sundial. That is incorrect.
    – phoog
    Mar 27, 2019 at 23:30

It reminds me of an English Ordnance Survey trig point. They are on similar concrete pillars. The central spike could be used to accurately locate the theodolite as the bar on a UK trig point does. It would be neat to combine the two uses (information and surveying) into one artefact.

  • It looks like you are guessing what it could be without knowing. This site does not appreciate that kind of guesses, especially as there are other answers which have a good explanation. Can you edit and either add proof or give a better answer?
    – Willeke
    Feb 23, 2021 at 19:20

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .