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.

  • 3
    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 Supports Monica Dec 27 '14 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 '14 at 11:36
  • @pnuts Yes, that appears to be the same thing. I wonder what's the official name. – Marton Dec 27 '14 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 '14 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 '14 at 22:57

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? – Henning Makholm Mar 27 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 at 23:30

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.