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Questions tagged [navigation]

This tag is for questions that deal with how navigation works or how tools for navigation work. Note that this site generally deals with questions that don't make sense in our world. So, "How does a compass work" is not a valid question on this site.

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28
votes
14answers
7k views

In a world without stars, how would travelers navigate at night?

On Earth, sailors would navigate the oceans at night by using the stars as guides; since there are no landmarks in the ocean like there are on land (save for the occasional island), that's pretty much ...
5
votes
2answers
82 views

Navigation on a planet with an eccentric orbit

On this planet, there is a nomadic tribe of humans who are the descendants of unwilling colonists from thousands of years prior. They are a nomadic tribe because of the incredibly extreme seasons, ...
0
votes
1answer
96 views

If I could sense magnetic north, could I sense magnetic south?

In a world I am helping build there is a certain group of people with the ability to produce electricity from their bodies (and control it, I believe), an additional power I gave them was the ability ...
2
votes
2answers
143 views

Would navigation work if the magnetic poles were located at the equator?

Let's say the magnetic North Pole is and has been located around 0, 0 (off the coast of Africa) for all of human history, and the magnetic South Pole 180 degrees to the east/west. Maybe the Earth's ...
53
votes
23answers
10k views

What could prevent players from leaving an island?

I am currently building a campaign for DnD. The main plot plays out on an island the heroes are stranded on after their ship goes off track and sinks. They discover that this island is ruled by ...
11
votes
2answers
167 views

The North Star in the ancient world sky

Question: Would a modern-day teen, trained in using the north star for directions when camping/hiking, notice a difference in how the "north star" (Polaris) works when transported suddenly to 1350 BCE?...
4
votes
6answers
659 views

How to determine port and starboard on a rotating wheel space station?

The ISS uses port and starboard to differentiate between the two sides of the station. (The Harmony node photographed after it was attached to its temporary location on the International Space ...
13
votes
4answers
387 views

Navigating storm fronts in space

Storm fronts — especially surprise storm fronts — are a popular Sci-Fi trope. Ion storms and radiation storms and neutronic storms and they invariably look 2D, like ribbons in space. But ...
0
votes
1answer
100 views

Logic behind planets being gate realms in a regular universe [closed]

I have designed a universe with three main planets that contain life, but the three planets are impossible to reach via space travel for irrelevant reasons. What matters is that in order to get from ...
10
votes
5answers
2k views

How vulnerable are the undersea internet cables to deliberate sabotage by one of the major powers (US, UK, Russia, etc)? [closed]

Over 99% of the transcontinental internet traffic goes through a network of 280 sets of undersea cables. How vulnerable are these to deliberate sabotage by the major powers? I'd rather not focus ...
5
votes
6answers
201 views

Is it possible to “Smell” in Space? Viable Equivalents?

I am currently creating a Spacefaring Race that regularly travels between planetary systems in order to harvest resources, but due to the fact that the conditions required for them to Breed are fairly ...
4
votes
2answers
162 views

Compass on a Ringed, Earth-like Planet

Is it necessarily a given that a compass (as they magnetically function on Earth) could be made to function similarly on an alternate, Earth-like, ringed planet? Another way of asking: is it feasible ...
6
votes
3answers
226 views

How to navigate a ringed planet at night?

I'm working on a story set in an Earth-like world but with rings (say, proportionately similar to Saturn's). I'm trying to get a solid handle on how these rings would affect the sky. For the ...
10
votes
6answers
1k views

Does this explanation of “one way” world traversing make sense?

I basically have a mechanism in my universe that allows humans to travel to different worlds (called offworlds) filled with different creatures and systems of magic, and this is very integral to the ...
5
votes
3answers
193 views

How to broadcast Earth's position to someone in the future?

Using current technology, what could I do to optimize the odds of being located by time-traveling humans a thousand years from now? The accuracy must be such that they could "transport" me out of a ...
9
votes
3answers
3k views

How can I locate myself in a random point of space?

Some Context I'm creating a universe where humanity has reached the stars. They've colonized a few star systems and, obviously, FTL drives are a common thing. They basically jump you to another ...
10
votes
8answers
864 views

Which part of the universe would make celestial navigation most difficult for a planet?

Premise I envisage a world of would-be navigators with roughly Bronze Age technology, sailing on ships to explore their planet. In contrast to our history of navigation where we "cracked the code" ...
0
votes
2answers
156 views

How to find earth's relative position anywhere in the galaxy without any markers or brute force exploration?

The idea is that is to find the ancient seat of power of humans which is earth, but no one knows where it is, there was no transmitter nor any markers that will give the relative position. The catch ...
1
vote
2answers
217 views

Extrapolating from the GPS network for time travel

One of the aspects of most sci fi time travel representations that I find most challenging for my suspension of disbelief is this idea of people travelling through time and not travelling through ...
12
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12answers
5k views

How would a sailing ship travel on land?

Or, more specifically : How, starting with a regular ~16th something-century sailing ship, could it be possible to modify it to go on both land and sea? In a pre-industrial setting, no fuel, no steam. ...
7
votes
3answers
538 views

Navigation on a tidally locked planet

I have a tidally locked planet on a circular orbit, with an axial tilt of 22.5° That means one side is always in the sun, the other one in the shade. The subsolar point moves along a north-south line ...
25
votes
7answers
4k views

What are the ley lines this nomadic people uses to follow the same path year after year?

In the world I'm building, there is a race of people whose main shtick is that they can detect the magnetic fields of their planet and use them to navigate. In one of their cultures, the people are ...
8
votes
5answers
826 views

How to navigate the hyperbolic world

Let's say our world is set in a hyperbolic space with a curvature $K$ of $-1$ per $9$ square meters. The surface of our world is a hyperbolic plane (approximately, there are still hills and valleys ...
20
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19answers
5k views

Designing “age of sail” ships that require no wind

Sails were good, they made ships go farther than ever before, relieved them of the critical necessity of oars, and with the right design they could even sail into the wind. However, sail ships have ...
1
vote
2answers
354 views

How close to Impossible can Navigation be on a Jungle Planet (for a Stone Age Civilization)?

Premise I would like to create a world that is rendered nearly impossible to navigate by natural circumstances. In my particular world, a thick jungle covers the whole planet from pole to pole; this ...
13
votes
9answers
744 views

Stellar Navigation for Dummies - Finding your way home

Average Joe was an amateur astronomer. While he was out in the wilds one day with his telescope he was kidnapped by aliens, carried off and kept as a slave on a world somewhere in the Milky Way. ...
12
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6answers
1k views

How would living at a pole affect mapping and navigation?

Thanks to the orientation and position of the planet, PommeDeTerra has a habitable island with a temperate climate at it's south pole that looks a little like this: This island is very similar to ...
20
votes
11answers
6k views

How would purely underground settlements find and trade with each other?

The world's been hit with an apocalyptic event, and humans are forced underground for survival inside large bunkers suited to house a couple thousand people. The bunkers are well supplied with modern ...
3
votes
5answers
1k views

The Moon has a magnetic field instead of the Earth; what are the changes in navigation?

I'm curious as to what the implications to any navigation system are: ship trekking aviation etc. Will their compass change shape (as being spherical), or might they dump the compass alltogether ...
2
votes
1answer
158 views

Make majority of a planet's deep ocean non-navigable by 16-17th century technology [duplicate]

In a setting with a planet have similar atmosphere as earth with higher ocean coverage, I need a good reason for human on with equivalent of 16-17th century technology to avoid navigate through deep ...
10
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9answers
2k views

From scratch measurement units

An exploratory spaceship holding strangers from many cultures and races has a problem leading to escape pods being deployed to a nearby world that is conveniently survivable. The pods crash land in at ...
1
vote
2answers
224 views

Using medieval technology, what methods can be used to determine longitude?

What methods to determine longitude can be used in a medieval (1400-1500) world? How long would these methods take to learn, and how accurate would they be?
11
votes
5answers
574 views

How would a world with drifting land-masses be mapped/charted for navigation?

Context The world is made of floating islands suspended in the atmosphere. For all intents and purposes, the world doesn't have a solid surface. Due to a magical influence, islands rise from the ...
5
votes
6answers
284 views

Logistics of civilization with point-to-point superluminal travel calculating a pseudo-current map of the galaxy's navigational hazards

An interstellar civilization has superluminal travel which allows for travel between two points, effectively without traversing the space in between so they don't crash into anything between them and ...
5
votes
2answers
178 views

Communication and Navigation for space flight on Europa

Considering the rather hostile radiation environment on Europa, what communication and navigation systems might be used with near-future manned spacecraft? What would the ranges and features of this ...
2
votes
3answers
187 views

Likelihood of a large magnetic island remaining undetected until the early 20th century

In Edgar Rice Burroughs' The Land That Time Forgot, the crew of a captured German U-Boat discovers a large island in polar waters somewhere between South America and New Zealand called Caspak. Among ...
5
votes
2answers
372 views

Shipbuilding development in fantasy ancient city-state

I am trying to establish a few guidelines for a story I recently started jotting down, based in a seafaring city-state. The setting is a fantasy world and I would like to have some degree of realism ...
9
votes
6answers
4k views

How would one mark directions in three dimensional space without north/south/east/west?

In my setting I have what is essentially air filled, zero gravity, space with floating islands scattered all over the place in a large, three dimensional cluster. What I'm wondering is how the skyship ...
32
votes
8answers
6k views

How would lighthouses work in space?

In my world spaceships are guided by lighthouses floating in space instead of electronic navigational systems. A lighthouse in space has the shape of a huge sphere emitting intense red light. Like the ...
6
votes
7answers
1k views

How do I calculate sea level on a planet with no seas?

On one (of many) of the planets that I am planning out, there are no seas. The planet is mainly composed of enormous mountains, with some deserts in between. There are no seas or large bodies of ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

The cardinal directions on a flat world? [closed]

This is a simple question. What would a civilization on a flat world call the directions on a compass?
6
votes
3answers
246 views

How do primitive intelligent species navigate on a rogue super-Jupiter planet in the Boötes Void?

The Boötes Void, a.k.a the Great Void, is celebrated for having a comparatively(competitively) lower matter density than the rest of the universe. Imagine an intelligent species similar to our ...
6
votes
3answers
112 views

Calculating position without key resources

I recently learned the rudiments of celestial navigation, and have been pondering its three basic requirements: a clock, a book of star positions, and a sextant (or device for measuring star ...
0
votes
1answer
2k views

Is it possible to make Nanosize GPS tracker? [closed]

Is it possible to make gps tracker in 2cm hair sized? Literature says there are also large restrctions... so I want to know what is the restriction. experts say that if gps tracker get more smaller ...
2
votes
2answers
205 views

Is it possible to prevent colonization from the sea of one hemisphere from another hemisphere?

I have read on Wikipedia (well, who hasn't) that it was very hard to sail past the tropics from North to South and vice versa without hugging the trade winds, by sailing near the coast of the Equator ...
9
votes
4answers
894 views

In a World of islands floating in the air how would people navigate?

We are creating a world of floating islands, these vary in size from small outposts that are little more than a Dock and Watchtower, through independent farmsteads, to full Nations in which the ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Could a greek or roman boat be blown to the americas in a storm?

This question prompts me to evaluate the possibility that the romans or greeks could be blown in a storm to the Americas and survive if they had enough water provisions? Or maybe not provisions but ...
4
votes
8answers
444 views

Arctic Airships, Part 2 - Navigation

This is the second question in my Arctic Airships series of questions. The first one is Arctic Airships, Part 1 - Generating Electricity. The setting is outlined in Part 1, but I'll rehash the ...
9
votes
7answers
687 views

Minimum computational power for ad hoc navigating the solar system

Imagine a world (or rather a solar system) where in its history there has been a war with emergent AI's There are very strict laws governing the speed and complexity of computer systems However ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

Would my compass still work?

Imagine a world with a very wacky magnetic field, the magnetic poles are not aligned at the top of the axial tilt and the sun is active enough to cause huge northern lights each night. I know ...