A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Robert Eno
Date: 2016 Jul 19, 12:32 -0700
I will take a stab at this and it is something that my old friend Bruce Bauer inferred in the preface to the second edition to his Sextant Handbook.
It all gets down to our society's desire for a quick and easy answers and a general avoidance of anything that smacks of foresight and hard work.
I remember back in the 80s when I first took up this.....whaddaya call it?.....pursuit.... there were firms that were in the process of developing electronic sextants, but when GPS exploded onto the market in the 90s that was the end of sextants. Why bother with a bulky angle-measuring device when you can carry, in your shirt pocket, a device that provides you with your location -- on a colour topo map no less -- with a push of a button and in any kind of weather?
If you had to advance a long trench and you were to be given a choice between pick and shovel and a robot-operated backhoe, which would you choose?
I think celestial will always be with us and the prudent navigator will always have it as a back up, but back-up is the operative word here. There is simply no economic incentive to make any further improvements to the sextant.
My two bits' worth.