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    Re: flabbergasted by gps
    From: Jeremy C
    Date: 2011 Feb 23, 01:48 -0500
    On the ship, or GPS' tend to update every second.  In addition, we have a cluster of antennas on the port forward part of our bridge wing.  We also have a lone antenna on the starboard after part of the bridge wing.  They display different positions for the 30 feet or so difference in antenna locations.
     
    A few weeks ago during a heavy wind, the captain was getting nervous because of where the ECDIS displayed our position (GPS driven) and where the thought the anchor should have been.  He was thinking that we had dragged more than 300 feet.  I had to point out that he had forgotten to account for the distance between the GPS antenna and the bow.
     
    Jeremy
     
    In a message dated 2/23/2011 12:46:23 A.M. Bangladesh Standard Time, goold@vwc.edu writes:


    I put down my calculator and my almanac on Sunday and went sailing.  I had spent spent several hours that morning reducing and plotting a series of sunsights taken the day before,  preparing to ease myself into the arcana of running fixes.

    Just past the coal dock in Norfolk harbor, I was tinkering with the sail trim. I asked my wife to watch the handheld gps to see if my adjustments made any difference in our speed.  We were loping along at 4 knots.  She was at the stern, I was in the front of the cockpit.  I asked her to hand me the unit.   When she did, just for a second, it registered our speed over the ground as 6 knots.  I could not believe that satellite info was refreshed so frequently that the unit would detect the increased velocity northward as it was passed from hand to hand.  I stepped onto the side deck and walked to the bow, carrying the gps.  Sure enough the speed reading increased to 6.4 knots while I walked and returned to 4 the moment I stopped.  Oddly, while my first reaction was to laugh with delight, my second was to throw the thing overboard.  Damned creepy, these machines! 

    If nothing else, they sap a man's motivation to learn about running fixes.

    Best,
    Patrick

    --
    Dr. Patrick Goold
    Department of Philosophy
    Virginia Wesleyan College
    Norfolk, VA 23502
    757 455 3357

    Charles Olson: "Love the World -- and stay inside it."

       
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