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A Short History of Navigation Technologies

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A presentation on the history of navigation technologies and techniques, from Ulysses to present Global Navigation Satellite Systems, European Navigation Conference, ENC-GNSS 2009.

Text of A Short History of Navigation Technologies

  • 1. 04/05/09 ENC-GNSS 2009Naples, 4-6 May 20091A Short History of NavigationTechnologies:from Ulysses to GNSSsMarco LisiGALILEO System Procurement Manager

2. 04/05/09 ENC-GNSS 2009Naples, 4-6 May 20092Mankinds fundamental questions:when and where are we? Where are wegoing? 3. 04/05/09 ENC-GNSS 2009Naples, 4-6 May 20093Prehistoric men and navigation Since prehistoric times, men have tried toinvent reliable methods to locate theirposition and make it back home Cavemen probably used stones and deadbranches to mark the direction to the placeswhere they hunted their prey, usingmountains and trees as reference points The first attempts to determine ones ownposition and to be able to return to it markedthe transition from a nomadic to a sedentarylifestyle, first step towards the developmentof civilization. 4. Navigation at the dawn of history In the early days, sailors followed the coastto avoid getting lost on the high seas When the first navigators sailed towards theocean, they discovered they could keep trackof their route by following the stars As stars look different from different pointson Earth, by observing the heavens seamencould obtain indications on the direction totake Observing the stars was the main navigationmethod for centuries Unfortunately, though, stars are visible onlyat night (and only with good weather).04/05/09 ENC-GNSS 2009Naples, 4-6 May 20094 5. 04/05/09 ENC-GNSS 2009Naples, 4-6 May 20095Navigation in Homers Odyssey In Homers poem,Ulysses (Odysseus),navigating to Ithacafrom Ogygia,Calypsos island,kept the Great Bearconstellation (UrsaMajor) on his leftside, as thegoddess Athenahad suggested tohim. 6. 04/05/09 ENC-GNSS 2009Naples, 4-6 May 20096The first technological breakthrough:the magnetic compass (1/2) 7. The first technological breakthrough:the magnetic compass (2/2) In a compass the needle always points north (themagnetic north, to be precise), indicating thedirection of movement at any time of the day andwhatever the weather The origins of the compass are mysterious anduncertain: some argue it was invented by theChinese, while others maintain it is the inventionof the Arabs, the Norsemen or of seamen fromAmalfi In any case, this instrument almost certainlymade its appearance in Europe around the yearone thousand, taking on its definitive shape in1300 (probably) at the hands of the legendaryFlavio Gioia from Amalfi.04/05/09 ENC-GNSS 2009Naples, 4-6 May 20097 8. 04/05/09 ENC-GNSS 2009Naples, 4-6 May 20098Compass: a Chinese invention? 9. 04/05/09 ENC-GNSS 2009Naples, 4-6 May 20099Prima dedit nautis usum magnetisAmalphis 10. 04/05/09 ENC-GNSS 2009Naples, 4-6 May 200910Cristoforo Colombo, a genius innavigationCompass, log, observation ofthe stars and sun, knowledgeof currents and winds, and ameticulous care in thecompilation of the logbookwere for many centuries thebasis of the "estimatednavigation" ("deadreckoning"). A brilliant user ofthis technique, as it is clearfrom reading the chronicles ofhis journeys, was CristoforoColombo. 11. 04/05/09 ENC-GNSS 2009Naples, 4-6 May 200911The history of the sextant:kamal, astrolabe, quadrant 12. 04/05/09 ENC-GNSS 2009Naples, 4-6 May 200912Matteo Ricci, S. J.: an Italian astronomerin 16th century Mings China 13. 04/05/09 ENC-GNSS 2009Naples, 4-6 May 200913The sextant The sextant, invented in1732, uses a system ofmirrors to measure theexact angle of stars, themoon and the sun abovethe horizon Initially, however, thesextant could onlydetermine latitudes (i.e. theposition on Earthmeasured north or southof the equator) Seamen were still unableto calculate their longitude(i.e. the position on Eartheast or west of a referencemeridian). 14. The Longitude Problem For more than two centuries the issue of longitudedetermination on the high seas enticed the mostenlightened minds in Europe and became such a majorconcern that in 1713 Britain, with the Longitude Act,formed a group of famous scientists (the LongitudeBoard) to find a possible solution The group offered twenty thousand pounds, equivalentto one million dollars today, to anyone who proved to beable to determine the longitude of a ship in open waterwith an accuracy of thirty nautical miles (about 55kilometers) The initiative was successful. In 1761, a self-taughtartisan, John Harrison, built a special mechanical clockto take onboard ships, the marine chronometer, whichlost or gained no more than one second a day.04/05/09 ENC-GNSS 2009Naples, 4-6 May 200914 15. 04/05/09 ENC-GNSS 2009Naples, 4-6 May 200915John Harrison and his jewels 16. Navigation in the XVIII and XIX centuries Over the XVIII and XIX centuries, sextants and chronometers wereused in combination to obtain information on latitude andlongitude However, one should bear in mind that, especially during long seavoyages, accumulating minutes of error in determining the timewas easy; a chronometer with an error of 4 minutes leads to a onedegree error in longitude (equivalent to more than one hundredkilometers at the equator) It was only at the beginning of the twentieth century that, with theadvent of radio waves, various radio navigation systems weredeveloped, which were then widely used during the Second WorldWar The principle of radio navigation (Radio Direction Finder, RDF),based on the use of a radio source to guide the navigation of amobile means (airplane or ship) through the use of a directionalantenna, was invented by the Marconi Company in the early1900s. In 1931, the system was so widespread that it becamemandatory on all vessels with a tonnage of 5,000 tons or more.04/05/09 ENC-GNSS 2009Naples, 4-6 May 200916 17. 04/05/09 ENC-GNSS 2009Naples, 4-6 May 20091730th July 1934, Sestri Levante:Marconis blind control 18. 04/05/09 ENC-GNSS 2009Naples, 4-6 May 200918New Marconi triumph:Ship steered by wireless Blind control On 31st July 1934, an article in theBritish Daily Mail described thesuccess of the experiments carriedout by Marconi at Sestri Levante,onboard his yacht-laboratory Elettra. It explained how Marconi, in thepresence of technicians, Italian andBritish Navy officials and numerousrepresentatives of the press, hadused a beacon operating on the 60centimeters wavelength (500 MHz),installed along the coast at a height of100 meters above sea level, to directthe navigation of the boat through aroute marked out by buoys. 19. 04/05/09 ENC-GNSS 2009Naples, 4-6 May 200919The birth of radio navigationOn that day of July more thanseventy years ago, it saw the lightan invention which would savethousands of lives and radicallychange transportation:radio navigation, that is, usingradio waves as an aid tonavigation. 20. 04/05/09 ENC-GNSS 2009Naples, 4-6 May 200920From Marconis experimentsto current times In the seventy years since Marconis experiments inSestri Levante, radio navigation has continuouslyevolved to affect more and more aspects of our dailylife From the first terrestrial systems, based on theprinciple of Radio Direction Finding (RDF), the so-calledhyperbolic systems were developed, whichwere used during the Second World War, such as theLoran-A, then followed by the Decca, Omega andLoran-C systems The need for global coverage systems providinggreater localisation accuracy and a continuous serviceover time was not, however, completely fulfilled. 21. 04/05/09 ENC-GNSS 2009Naples, 4-6 May 2009214th October 1957, 19.28:34 GMT :SPUTNIK-1 is launched 22. 04/05/09 ENC-GNSS 2009Naples, 4-6 May 200922Sputnik and the conception ofnavigation satellites After the launch of Sputnik-1 on Oct. 4, 1957, a smallgroup of scientists at Johns Hopkins UniversitysApplied Physics Laboratory (APL) started listening tovariations caused by the Doppler effect in thesatellites 20 MHz signal, deducing its closest approachas well as other information about its orbit One of the scientists, Dr. Frank McClure, reasoned thatthe Doppler effect could also be used inversely todeduce the position of the receiver if the satellitesprecise orbit were already known In 1958 the first satellite navigation project , Transit(or, more formally, the Navy Navigation SatelliteSystem) was started, under the management of thenewly created Advanced Research Projects Agency(ARPA). 23. 04/05/09 ENC-GNSS 2009Naples, 4-6 May 200923The Transit satellite navigation system The Transit system consistedof a constellation of sixsatellites in a polar orbit with anominal 600 nautical milealtitude, three ground controlstations, and user receivers Transit entered Naval servicein 1964 and in 1967 it wasmade available to commercialships and aircraft of all nations In 1996 Transit, the NavyNavigation Satellite System,was retired after more than 32years of continuous,successful service. 24. 04/05/09 ENC-GNSS 2009Naples, 4-6 May 200924Global Navigation Satellite Systems:GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, BEIDOU 25. 04/05/09 ENC-GNSS 2009Naples, 4-6 May 200925The future: a fully integrated andinteroperable navigation system ofsystems GNSSATMGEOSS 26. 04/05/09 ENC-GNSS 2009Naples, 4-6 May 200926The not-so-far future: X-ray pulsarsnavigation system (XNAV) 27. TraditionalChinese04/05/09 ENC-GNSS 2009Naples, 4-6 May 200927KoreanThankYouEnglishRussianDankeGermanGrazieItalianGraciasSpanishObrigadoBrazilianPortugueseArabicSimplifiedChineseThaiMerciFrenchJapanese

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