Dear Seafarer / visitor,
Have you wondered how the global positioning of a
ship is determined? How do you ensure that you arrive at the
If you want to determine where is North, South, East and
West, the basic equipment to use is the
compass. However, on
board ship, the movement of the ship may play havoc on the
accuracies of an ordinary compass.
Gyro-compasses that make use of rapidly spinning shafts are
used to provide immunity from the movement of the ships.
A sextant is a compulsory piece of
equipment carried by a ship. It is used to determine the angle
of the sun relative to the horizon.
As you very well know, on the open sea, there are no
landmarks that you can check your position. Knowing the local
time, from clocks, you should be able to know at what angle
the sun will be relative to the horizon.
With a bit of checking from published navigation charts
(maps), you should be able to determine your global position anywhere
It is not usable during cloudy weather when the sun is not
Navigation Charts (maps)
These charts are invaluable to provide documented data on
positioning. Various governmental bodies do hydrographic
surveys that are published as navigation charts.
These will be plotted by navigators and helps to locate the
exact position of the ship.
Since the invention of radio, ships have relied on Morse Code
for communications. However, its use require skilled radio
operators, which was quite difficult to find.
electronic systems like DECCA, and LORAN-C had also been used
in navigation. Since the advent of satellite communication,
these systems have either become obsolete or have found
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has
required ships to fit GMDSS equipment by 1999. This "Global Maritime
Distress and Safety System" is based on a combination of
satellite and terrestrial radio services.
The system can reliably perform the following functions:
- Alerting (including position determination of the unit
- Search and rescue coordination
- Maritime safety information broadcast
- Bridge-to-bridge communications
Global Positioning System or GPS has been developed to
provide all-weather round-the-clock navigation both for
military and civilian applications. Many recreational outdoor
activities like boating, kayaking, hiking, fishing, hunting,
camping, skiing, mountain climbing, exploring, has adopted GPS
as an important piece of equipment for positioning and
Corporate fleet tracking of buses, lorries,
trucks, taxis, cabs, automobiles, planes, aircraft, ferry and
even ships can easily be made available economically and
accurately. Applications like surveys, commercial fishing,
mineral prospecting, air traffic management and many other
uses have been suggested as commercial applications. The
scientific community has also shown interest in GPS.
GPS users can
easily create accurate digital maps from any scanned map or
existing map database. And they can be used on PC, Pocket PC
like iPAQ or Palm device O.S.3.5+
More information can be
Global Positioning System
Marine navigation has come a long way. With satellite
navigation fully available commercially, it would be an
excellent idea to make full use of these advanced tools for our
own business profit and recreational safety.
If you ever travel
to remote areas and you want people to be able to locate you
then think GPS, or Global Positioning System.
Marine Engineer World
P.S. We have located the perfect GPS
for you here. If you venture into the vast open sea, your life may depend on using this GPS.