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    Bearings, Courses, Headings, and Tracks
    From: Dan Allen
    Date: 2002 Feb 5, 15:28 -0800

    From the American Heritage Dictionary are the following quite
    ambiguous definitions:
    bearing n.
      Direction, especially angular direction measured from one
      position to another using geographical or celestial reference lines.
    course n.
      1. Onward movement in a particular direction; progress.
      2. The direction of continuing movement: took a northern course.
    heading n.
      The course or direction in which a ship or an aircraft is moving.
    track n.
      A path along which something moves;
      a course: following the track of an airplane on radar.
    Here are my own definitions that I use to keep things straight in my
    mind, and they correspond to Garmin GPS labels as well! ;-)
    The **course** is the direction you want to go from postion A to B.
    One is rarely on this line, especially in a car.  It is the theoretical
    "as the crow flies" path, with a constant compass heading.
    The **bearing** is where B is with respect to your current position.
    It has nothing to do with A.  It has everything to do with answering
    the question "which way do I need to go right now in order to get to B"?
    The **track** is the current compass direction you are heading.  The
    track has nothing to do with where A or B is with respect to you.  It
    is only about what direction you are currently going.
    I don't use the word **heading** much for the reasons that were pointed
    out by Jared Sherman.
    Daniel K. Allen

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