Why would the four cardinal points on the compass be irrelevant on a globe? They can be applied to a flat surface, but they work very well on a globe as well. In fact, the only situation that causes problems is when a person has traveled as far north or as far south as it's possible to go. Then, no matter which direction is taken the person is either going south or north, depending on where in the world that person happens to be. But these problems are alleviated by the fact that there aren't just 4 directions on the compass. A compass itself is circular and the points are meant to be read in a 360 degree circle. Between North and East for example, we have Northeast. Between South and East, we have Southeast. So in that sense, we have 4 cardinal points on the compass (North, South, East, West), and another 4 secondary compass points (Northeast, Southeast, Northwest, Southwest.) Between them, we can keep our bearings straight when working from a globe or a flat map. People of every language and culture have their own words for the points of the compass, but they've all based their concept of direction on the same phenomena - the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Over the course of a year, the position of the sun at sunrise and sunset changes slightly. This is where we got the idea to adopt a system based on the concept of there being 4 cardinal points.