A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Paul Dolkas
Date: 2017 Jul 21, 15:54 -0700
A few years ago I was working on a master’s thesis (never completed) and my project was going to be a digital sextant/theodolite. So I did a fair amount of looking into digital inclinometers. The most accurate were the ones that only had a +/- 20o or so range of motion, whereas the sextant had to work from 0o – 90o . So my proposed solution was to mount a bunch of them , each offset by, say, 15o . The software would know to switch from one inclinometer to the next as the sextant is rotated upward.
The other alternative, for the theodolite, at least, is to have a single inclinometer mounted to the optical base. The operator roughly levels the base to within , say +/- 10o of level, and the inclinometer would take it from there. Obviously this solution wouldn’t work on the deck of a ship or the cockpit of an airplane.
As for my remark about sextants being obsolescent – forgive me, but for most folks it’s true. However, as you point out, in the event of a conflict such a device would become invaluable, especially since it would be relatively easy to use, with minimal training. To say nothing of some not-too-distant future explorer roaming about the surface of a GPS-deficient planet (moon? Mars?). They won’t look anything like the ones we have today, but I’m sure they will be used.
From: NavList@fer3.com [mailto:NavList@fer3.com] On Behalf Of Pete Solon Palmer
Sent: Friday, July 21, 2017 2:54 PM
Subject: [NavList] Re: New ways to create false horizons?
Great info and link about MEMS. I intend to study your link very closely. I like the way it has various options for dampening and filtering. This might allow a sensitivity adjustment for sea state: everything from glassy calm to washing machine bumpy.
<< good digital sextant using one of these is that with GPS, it’s no longer needed. >>
The hackers may turn off the GPS today using a keyboard, so the time to make a good digital AH is now.