Saturday, November 24, 2012

Where Yah Headed?

"I'm flying away
And that is where I stay
Right there in Never Neverland
I'd be flying, I'd be dying
For love and appreciation
Where mermaids would sing
And fairies would ring
Right down there in Never Neverland
And it's the second star to the left and straight on 'til morning
Or was it the second star to the right and straight on 'til morning?
In Never Neverland
In my Never Neverland"

Most boaters today rely on their array of electronic devices to tell them where they are and what direction they are heading.  GPS, chart plotters, multifunction displays, marine instruments, computers, iPhones and iPads all help the mariner get to where he is going these days. 

GPS was first developed in the 1960's primarily for military use. It was not released commercially until about 1990.  President Reagan issued a directive to make it available for civilian use after a Korean Airliner was shot down in 1983 after accidentally flying into prohibited airspace over the USSR.  The GPS satellite project launched 24 satellites into space between 1989 and 1994. 

Prior to GPS there was a system called LORAN C which used low frequency radio waves to help aircraft and ships determine their position and speed.  The system was developed by the US during World War II.  The land based LORAN beacons broadcast their signal up to 1200 miles. The system was officially shut by the Coast Guard in 2010 when it determine the system was no longer needed.

Prior to that mariners practiced celestial navigation which used a system of position fixes and angular measurements of celestial bodies in relation to the horizon.  The sun, moon, planets and some 57 stars could be used with a sextant to navigate the world's oceans.

From there we go back to the 2nd century China where it is thought that the first magnetic compass was developed during Han Dynasty. The compass is a magnetic pointer that aligns itself with the Earth's magnetic field.  The compass needle points to the magnetic north pole located in northeastern Canada.  This is not the same as true North which is the the north Pole.  The difference between true North and the magnetic North is called declination. Declination changes depending on where you are on Earth. These values are often printed on charts and need to be accounted for when navigating.

Even with all the high tech electronic gadgetry on board it is still nice to have a simple compass to use as a reference.  Looking through the iTunes store you will find that there at hundreds of options.  Lets look at a few compass apps that are available for the iPhone and iPad.

Commander Compass $3.99
Milspec compass
gyro compass
GPS tracker
Gyro horizon and inclinometer.

Compass 54 Pro $.99

Switch between true and magnetic North
Location coordinates (longitude, latitude).
Mph, feet units and Kph, meter units
Temperature Celsius and Fahrenheit
Current date and time
Current GMT time
12-hour and 24-hour format
Standard, satellite, hybrid maps.
Current location.
Location tracking

Digital Compass Free $Free

Display the course in degrees
Display the latitude and longitude
iPhone 3G, required
Must be moving to display course
Instrument style

Compass Easy $.99,

Magnetic North
True, North
Supports Retina Display

Compass Go  $.99

Simple GPS compass
Accurate sun compass
Magnetic declination indicator
Bookmark your location via email
Email your location to others
Speed meter
Altitude meter

Digital Compass  $Free

Magnetic digital compass
Latitude and longitude
True North
Magnetic North

3D Gyro Compass $1.99

3D compass
True North
Magnetic North
Orientation number display
Horizontal mode
Smooth motion flow technique.
Superb high quality graphic display

Free HD Compass for iPad $ Free

Unique free High-definition compass
Rustic style

Gyro Compass $ Free

Online map
Gyro Compass
Landscape mode

Compass HD $.99

Compass HD for iPad
Looks like a real compass.
Function in all orientations.
Analog and digital readings

These are just a few of the many listed in the iTunes store. They come in all shapes and sizes and with many different features. Download a few of your favorites and always know where your headed!

~~~Sail On~~~ /)

No comments:

Post a Comment