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    Re: Question about navigating......
    From: Herbert Prinz
    Date: 2004 Mar 3, 14:32 -0500

    Hello Rene,
    You asked:
    > We are sailing and see two lighthouses in the
    > distance. The distance between the two are known (for
    > example 2 kilometers). We have a compass and we can
    > take a reading of the 2 lighthouses (for example 20
    > degrees off of magnetic north for one, and 50 degrees
    > off of magnetic north for the other).
    > This would be simple to plot to get a position on a
    > map.
    Not unless you know the positions of the lighthouses. The distance
    between them is not sufficient for plotting your position from their
    absolute bearings
    > The question is: is this a mathematically
    > solveable problem?
    No, it isn't. But plotting IS a mathematical solution, namely a
    geometrical one. You probably mean to ask whether the solution could be
    found numerically, say by trigonometry or algebra. The answer to that is
    that every problem that can be solved geometrically can also be solved
    numerically. (The converse is not true.)
    Herbert Prinz

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