The fundamental objective of navigation is to get from A to B without hitting the ground. To do this, there are several things that are essential to achieving this objective.
– a chart with soundings and a coordinate system
– a way to plot positions and directions on the chart
– the ability to determine your current position
– the ability to determine the direction in which you are going
By the 12th century, we had charts with latitude and longitude and a compass rose, celestial navigation to find our position, and most significantly, the magnetic compass. This was how sailors navigated for the next thousand years. Then, in 1989 one of the most far reaching technologies of the 20th century became available to the public in the form of the Magellan NAV 1000 handheld GPS unit. Navigation was changed in it’s most fundamental basis. It went from a magnetic system to a positional system.