In the metalworking field, divider calipers are used in the process of marking out suitable workpieces. The points are sharpened so that they act as scribers, one leg can then be placed in the dimple created by a center or prick punch and the other leg pivoted so that it scribes a line on the workpiece's surface, thus forming an arc or circle.
A divider caliper is also used to measure a distance between two points on a map. The two caliper's ends are brought to the two points whose distance is being measured. The caliper's opening is then either measured on a separate ruler and then converted to the actual distance, or it is measured directly on a scale drawn on the map. On a nautical chart the distance is often measured on the attitude scale appearing on the sides of the map: one minute of arc of latitude is approximately one nautical mile or 1852 metres.