A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Bob Goethe
Date: 2016 Mar 22, 06:47 -0700
>>I asked many years ago how the electronic compasses in our cars and cell phones could be calibrated... <<
The issue of calibrating car compasses came to the forefront for me on Sunday, when my wife and I went off to the dance recital of two surrogate grandchildren of ours. It was in an unfamiliar section of the city with roads that did not follow any sort of grid pattern. After the recital, I got completely lost trying to get to a McDonald's for a celebratory soft drink with the kids and their parents because the electronic compass in my car was 180° off. It stayed 180° off for the balance of the drive. I knew I was confused, but didn't know why until I ended up in a section of town I recognized, and knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that I was going west...while my compass persisted in telling me I was headed due east.
It was overcast, so looking at the sun was of no help. The NYT article on Micronesian navigation said that our hippocampus regions were shrinking in the 21st century, because we never had the experience anymore of getting lost because of GPS. Well, my hippocampus must be healthier today than it was on Saturday.
We finally gave up and continued home. When I started the car yesterday morning, it was properly oriented again.