A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Robin Stuart
Date: 2020 Jan 16, 08:19 -0800
By chance I noticed that George Kaplan's study on this topic has appeared in the Journal of Navigation https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-navigation/article/fix-probabilities-from-lop-geometry/C8724439ED51596F4BC97698DD7283F7
It was a question that George asked at the 2017 Celestial Navigation Symposium at Mystic Seaport and subsequent discussions that prompted me to embark on my analytic study of this problem. Well done George!
Fix Probabilities from LOP Geometry
A simple scheme is presented for mapping the 2D probability density for an observer's position, defined by any number of lines of position (LOPs) on the surface of the Earth, assuming that the LOPs result from uncorrelated observations that have normally distributed errors. Although the mapping can be used to determine the position fix corresponding to the LOPs (which is consistent with other methods), its intended use is computing the total probability that the observer is located within (or outside) some specified area of interest, such as a zone of avoidance around a navigational hazard. Numerical experiments with areas where the average total interior probability is known, such as the triangles and polygons formed by nearly convergent LOPs, show that the method provides correct answers. The numerical experiments also revealed that theoretical probabilities associated with commonly used error ellipses are overstated for navigational solutions based on small numbers of LOPs.