Experiencing Technical Difficulties (resonant) wrote,
Experiencing Technical Difficulties

App idea: Smartphone sextant

The US Navy is restarting its celestical navigation training program. Students will learn to use a sextant to determine their location using the position of the sun and stars. This is intended as an emergency backup in case something takes out the Global Positioning System.


A modern smartphone or tablet has cameras and processors that can detect the position of stars and of the horizon, and has a clock with an accuracy that sailors would drool over even fifty years ago. Someone could write an app that would let you take a picture of the sky, and calculate your current position. Annual subscription fees would pay for an updated ephemeris, or the app could calculate the star positions on the fly (although that would add to processing time and drain the battery faster).
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