Advances in Time and Position Instrumentsby Rit Nosotro
Change Over Time essay
.Explain how navigational technology (astrolabes, sextants, GPS, etc.) has developed within the context of expanding encounters and its impact upon societies.
Time and position finders have been steadily changing over the centuries. Even today advances are being made on the tools that we use to find our way. In ancient times some people used the sun, moon, stars and even birds to find which direction they were moving. However, those ways are mostly things of the past. In recent centuries people have been using tools like crossbars, astrolabes, and sun disks to find their way and time during the day, many times while out-to sea. Tools like sextants and working clocks became heroes of the sea, by preventing the loss of numerous ships and thousands of lives. Today we have GPS's (Global Positioning Satellite) can tell us exactly where we are. In fact, government prevents them from being too accurate in the hands of the common consumer.
The most ancient seagoing peoples used wave patterns, cloud formations, bird behavior, and celestial objects to track their progress in a process called "dead reckoning". These were highly inaccurate though, and celestial objects could only tell direction, not position. Such ancients as the Egyptians, Aztecs, and other civilizations figured out semi-accurate ways of global positioning, but much of that is not understood even today. These civilizations were not known for their open sea voyage and stayed in the coastal waters. This enabled them to recognize landmarks that told them where they were and to where they were heading.
The invention of the sundial was made so to cast a shadow upon a certain number or nook in order to tell the time of day. Sundials were used throughout history, and even before recorded times. Though the sundials could be used for accurate time keeping on a flat level surface facing the right direction, they were practically useless onboard a rocking boat.
Next we enter the Age of Discovery. The European conquest of the Americas may have been much different without devices to know time and position. Inventors worked to perfect the pendulum, the crossbars, longitude, sextant, and a variety of clocks including a sea-worthy clock. The pendulum was not used on a boat because, like the sundial, it had to be on a flat stationary surface to work. The most primitive version of the sextant was named "the crossbars. This name derived from the two bars that were moved on a dial to find out what time it was. This operated by pointing one end at the horizon and the other end at the sun, you would then look at the dial and find what time it said it was. This though, caused blindness after frequent use.
The first mechanical clocks were massive semi-accurate timekeepers. Through the years more compact and more accurate clocks were developed. Longitude (a measurement of east and west) could be reliably known with accurate timepieces. The sextant was next invented as a way of telling time and thus finding a semi-accurate measurement on where a ship was. England realized the need for ships to have precision timekeeping when its naval flagship went way off course and was lost. They then decided to offer a reward of 20,000 pounds to whoever could produce a sea-worthy timekeeper. After four tries John Harrison came out with his accurate sea-worthy clock, the Harrison-4. Clocks grew more versatile, compact and accurate.
Advances in science led to the development of satellites. From satellites, GPS was born. Today a GPS position finder is capable of telling you your position accurately up to about three feet from anywhere in the world. As first seen in "Desert Storm", missiles can use GPS to pinpoint a target. Mountain climbers can know their three-dimensional location with the addition of altitude. Car thieves avoid autos with GPS chips. Some criminals are forced to wear GPS devices that signal authorities of parole violations. How might kidnapping became a thing of the past? Technology continues to advance with time. Will ethical practices in privacy be able to stay ahead of the technology? For our present time, are we living in the future?
1. What was one of the listed ways ancients could tell their position?
A: Molds growing on rocks
B: Color of drinking water
C: Formations of birds
D: Tribal markings
2. What does GPS stand for?
A: Ground Publication Service
B: Global Positioning Satellite
C: Groups of Prehistoric Salamanders
D: Geometric Polygonal Surface
3. How much money was England offering in reward for the person that invented
a sea-worthy clock?
A: 5,000 US dollars
B: 10,000 pounds
C: 20,000 pounds
D: 1,000,000 US dollars
4. Who invented the first documented sea-worthy clock?
A: Albert Einstein
B: John Hopkins
C: John Harrison
D: Patrick Henry
1.C; 2.B; 3.C; 4.C
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