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    Re: On the integration of location and data
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2009 Nov 3, 22:25 -0800

    George H, you wrote:
    "And it was on the basis of those claims that some fanciful projections were 
    made on Nav-list about what might become possible in terms of 
    pointing-precision; claims which are now being repeated."
    
    WHAT claim has been repeated??
    
    Quite a few times last spring I said to you that the whole "pointing 
    precision" discussion was irrelevant to what I was discussing. It still is. 
    There ALREADY EXISTS software for a couple of different mobile phone 
    operating systems which allows you to aim your phone at a star (by "aim" is 
    meant "hold the phone out at arm's length") and identify it. This isn't 
    speculation. The software exists, and it works. It works well enough to be 
    useful and not disappoint --it does the task it's advertised to do. I linked 
    some videos demonstrating software like this in action on one type of phone 
    last spring. Now, this software, as it stands, is general astronomy software, 
    which is great and gets us half-way there. What I am suggesting is that we 
    should try to create or support the creation of versions of this software 
    that specifically highlight celestial navigation. For example, you could have 
    software that calculates true and apparent altitudes and updates them in 
    real-time when it's pointed at a bright navigational star or other celestial 
    body. The altitude corrections could be displayed in a little table. The idea 
    is that students of celestial navigation, just starting to think about the 
    subject, could put something like this on their phones and start playing with 
    it. They would very quickly learn the names of some of the brighter stars. 
    They would develop an instinct for rates of change of altitudes and azimuths 
    that has not traditionally been available in celestial navigation education. 
    And they would also learn some terminology like refraction, horizontal 
    parallax, azimuth, etc. which would might make the subject more intriguing, 
    and certainly it would add familiarity. This is how you draw them in. This is 
    one way to cultivate a new community of people interested in celestial 
    navigation. There are at least a BILLION mobile phones in the world. There 
    must be a hundred million that would qualify as "smartphone". Tens of 
    millions have the necessary position-finding and orientation-finding 
    components, and those numbers are rising dramatically. This is a huge 
    opportunity. 
    
    -FER
    PS: And I still swear on my stack of Bowditches :-) that when I first brought 
    up this idea of astronomical identification software for cell phones I had no 
    idea that it was already available on the very newest phone platforms. 
    
    
    
    
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