Navigation - Now & Then - World's Showcase

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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Navigation - Now & Then

The human race has evolved to explore, expand and travel. For this is not any rotation like the earth around the sun, there is a need for a guidance to drive the humans.

Decades back, there is a need to explore the world, travel along the sea routes and find new places. Here, the guidance, a voyager's friend and the trustworthy system is Navigation.
Navigation | World's showcase

The word navigation or navigate comes from the Latin words, ‘ship’ (Navis) and ‘to drive or guide' (Agere).

Navigation is both art and science. Not all the sea route travelling persons are experts in this, only a few are gifted with this talent. By experience and practice, navigation is made easy.
Understanding it and implementing it is definitely an art.

In general, navigation is nothing, but finding one's way. It is a process of monitoring and controlling the movement of a craft or vehicle.

Navigation is based on astronomy, physics, oceanography, meteorology, earth science, aerodynamics and hydrodynamics.

It also includes mathematics, like arithmetic, algebra, trigonometry, logarithms, geometry and analysis.

One who is aware of all the above terms and subjects, that one can access the navigator magic.

Need for navigation :

Before we dig deep into the history of navigation. Let's see what is its need and how it helps us.

Navigation became an important role in a sailor's diary because of two strong reasons. They are, to find the accurate route to reach the destination and second one is to avoid the collisions.

This is the process mostly linked with the ships and aeroplanes, road navigation is different when compared to the waterways and airways.

Need for navigation is discussed and studied by many famous people in the history. They brought new principles, introduced new methods and few of them modified. All they did is to travel accurately.

In the 19th century, navigation helped us by minimizing the fuel consumption too.

We can travel miles and miles, but without navigation, our desired destiny still awaits.
This is the need for navigation.

Pros of navigation :

Being the pathfinder's must mate, navigation has lots of benefits for the voyagers. Below are few of them…

  • The navigation provides a unique planning while dealing with a journey to a new place.
  • The navigation assures the time and energy saving.
  • It provides a perfect guidance and saves the travellers from getting lost in an unknown area.
  • Navigation prevents accidents.
  • Navigation fills the heart of a lone passenger with the confidence in reaching his destination.

With navigation, each journey will begin and end at the specified times.

History of navigation :

The history of navigation is the history of seamanship. It steered clear all the doubts and made a voyage possible.
World's greatest and largest nations are discovered, only because of the navigation.

Looking into the history of navigation, there are many tools and things, things which we cannot even touch with our hands are used as navigation tools.

A navigation system is modified and developed with the change in the ages and abilities of humans began to grow their talent.

Let's see some systems and tools of navigation from the history.

> Celestial navigation :

As the name itself indicates that this type of navigation system involves the celestial bodies.
This was the basic navigation system back in those days and it's a very old one.

Celestial navigation means, using the sun and the stars as guides to move forward and to know the location. This system is mentioned many times in the historical notes on navigation.

Some used the stars, others used polar bears and constellations. Their knowledge never leads them to a wrong destination. It worked successfully with them.

The Greeks, in the 3rd century BC used little bear, Ursa minor to navigate. Also the use of circumpolar stars took place.

> Nautical charts & textual description

Nautical charts are used as navigation guides when the navigators came to know the importance of nautical miles. They used this to measure the time traveled and also as a guide for navigation.
Along with the textual description, navigation became user friendly. One can navigate with the help of the figures and with relevant text to read.

> The Antikythera mechanism

In 1900, the Antikythera mechanism was recovered from the Antikythera wreck.
This is an ancient analog computer, designed to predict astronomical positions and eclipses for calendrical and astrological purposes.

> Usage of sounding weights

The Phoenicians and their successors used the sounding weights mechanism to navigate.
In this mechanism, a bell shaped thing, which is made from stone or lead is used.
This is the sound guided navigation, when they dipped this to the depths of water, the distance from the land is known by the sound.
This is nothing, but simply estimating the distance by sound.

> Wind navigation system

This is done in the south China Sea and Indian ocean. Here, a navigator could take advantage of the monsoon winds to judge direction.

> Compass

Compass became the icon to represent the navigation, it's because of the reliability and accurate results of it when applied.
Between 1040 and 1117, the magnetic compass was being developed and applied to navigation.

First, compasses are used in Han dynasty, China and later used for navigation by Song dynasty.

> Modern navigation

Modern navigation or the current navigation system is an advanced one. With the introduction of GPS (global positioning system) and using the maps. Present technology is a widely accepted one.

Navigation helps the army troops to move forward in the dense forest and allows the travel enthusiast to locate where he/she is.

It is helping in avoiding the road traffic jams and also assisting the people to visit new places.

Satellites which are revolving upon our heads are guiding us. For now, we've all the best ways to navigate with the technology. But, there are also some situations, where this fails. Then, nothing to worry about. Our ancestors taught us all those above systems.

We can still use some of them. And save our lives.

Like our lives, the systems also navigated from the past to the present. With lots of modifications and inventions. We are now boasting about the technology in our hands. If we think about the guarantee, none of us knows what is next.

Even we feel like this is the best system we've, there comes and replaces the current one in the future.

Let's enjoy the present.


This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.






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