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    Re: Dependence on GPS
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2009 Nov 2, 18:10 -0800

    Thomas, you wrote:
    "In fact just yesterday this iPhone GPS got me in trouble (ok it was operator 
    error). [...] My wife has been quite generous telling all about my navigation 
    prowess!"
    
    Ha. Yeah, I've had a few of those, too. I don't much need my GPS-enabled phone 
    for position-finding, per se, it's all the data that I can access through 
    Google Maps and other services that makes it so liberating. The underlying 
    data is comprehensive but also has a fair amount of "noise". On a recent 
    cross-country trip visiting submarine museums, I happily drove up to a brand 
    new H.I. Express motel following the instructions from my smartphone. And 
    when I pulled up, oh yes indeed, it was new --so new that the windows hadn't 
    been installed yet. :-) So that's when I cursed GPS navigation and dug out my 
    sextant (not really, of course, but I do indeed usually have not just one but 
    two sextants in the trunk of my car when I drive around, for teaching and 
    photo-ops, not for navigation).
    
    I recently visited the Connecticut Historical Society in Hartford, CT to 
    peruse a whaling logbook from the mid-1840s with some interesting "lunars" 
    navigation in it. It wasn't really hard getting there, but I am quite sure 
    that I would have made some wrong turns, wasted a lot of time, and perhaps I 
    would even have gotten so frustrated as to abandon the plan, but the 
    smartphone took me right there. So navigation by artificial satellites 
    enhances research in natural satellite navigation.
    
    -FER
    
    
    
    
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