We don’t know who invented the compass, but we can certfy that there was a sudden growth in maritime trade since the year 1280.
The Amalfi Merchants were the first to use the compass in Europe.
They used the magnet to guide their way in their travels to Egypt and Siria
China already knew the magnet before the West discovered it. They used it to effect metalic objects at a distance.
This instrument allowed travellers to find their way both at sea and land, during day and night, ensuring the merchandise arrived safe at destination, thus opening the way to a new era of continental exploration.