Since a gyrocompass is not influenced by magnetism, it is not subject to variation or deviation. Any error is constant and equal around the horizon, and can often be reduced to less than one degree, thus effectively eliminating it altogether. Unlike a

But it also requires a constant source of stable electrical power, and if power is lost, it requires several hours to settle on the meridian again before it can be used. This period can be reduced by aligning the compass with the meridian before turning on the power.

The directive force of a gyrocompass depends on the amount of precession to which it is subject, which in turn is dependent on latitude. Thus the directive force is maximum at the equator and decreases to zero at the poles. Vessels operating in high latitudes must construct error curves based on latitudes because the errors at high latitudes eventually overcome the ability of the compass to correct them.

The gyrocompass is typically located below decks as close as possible to the center of roll, pitch and yaw of the ship, thus minimizing errors caused by the ship's motion. Repeaters are located at convenient places throughout the ship, such as at the helm for steering, on the bridge wings for taking bearings, in after steering for emergency steering, and other places. The output can also be used to drive course recorders, autopilot systems, plotters, fire control systems, and stabilized radars. The repeaters should be checked regularly against the master to ensure they are all in alignment. The repeaters on the bridge wing used for taking bearings will likely be equipped with removable bearing circles, azimuth circles, and telescopic alidades, which allow one to sight a distant object and see its exact gyrocompass bearing.