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Position and Direction on the Earth's Surface
Navigation is the process of planning and carrying out the movement of transport of all kinds from one place to another — at sea, in the air, on land or in space. The navigation of ships and all waterborne craft is called marine navigation to distinguish it from navigation in other surroundings, and it is marine navigation that is dealt with in this book and its companion volumes, which together comprise a new edition of the Admiralty Manual of Navigation. The last thirty years have seen great advances in navigational techniques. Man has landed on the moon. Spacecraft are exploring the outer regions of the solar system. The new techniques developed for space navigation have benefited marine navigation: detailed study of the first satellites in orbit around the Earth has led to the development of a world-wide navigation satellite system which can tell a ship's navigator his position with an accuracy of a few hundred metres. Automated computer-assisted navigational systems enable the navigator to maintain a continuous and accurate track and to avoid collisions. Hand-held calculators and desk-top computers enable him to reckon courses and distances around the globe with great precision, taking into account the true shape of the Earth. The principles of marine navigation remain unchanged by new techniques; therefore the treatment of the subject in this manual has been designed to re-state the principles while reflecting the latest methods. Volume I deals with the essentials of marine navigation - position and direction on the Earth's surface, map projections, charts and publications, chartwork, tides, coastal navigation and pilotage. Summaries of plane and spherical trigonometry, proofs of formulae, etc. may be found in the appendices at the back of the book. This opening chapter introduces the basic terms dealing with position and direction on the Earth's surface.
POSITION ON THE EARTH'S SURFACE
The Earth The Earth is not a perfect sphere; it is slightly flattened, the smaller diameter being about 24 miles less than the larger. The Earth's shape is known as an oblate spheroid (Fig. 1-1) with greatest (a) and least (b) radii of approximately 3444 and 3432 international nautical miles. The Earth turns about its shortest diameter PPh called the axis, the extremities of which are called the poles. An oblate spheroid is a figure traced out by the revolution of a semi-ellipse such as PWP], in Fig. 1—1, about its minor axis PPj. The successive positions of PWPj are called meridians. The meridian passing through Greenwich is called the prime meridian. The circle traced out by W is called the equator. The Earth revolves about its axis PP/ in the direction shown by the arrow. The direction of revolution is called east, the opposite direction west. The North Pole is on the left and the South Pole on the right of the observer facing east.
Latitude and longitude
A position on the Earth's surface is expressed by reference to the plane of the equator and the plane of the prime meridian. The latitude of a place (also called the geodetic, geographical or true latitude) is the angle which the perpendicular to the Earth's surface at the place makes with the plane of the equator. It is measured from 0° to 90° north or south of the equator. Fig. 1—2 shows a meridional section of the spheroid. The latitude of point M is the angle MLE (</>), where L is the point of intersection of the perpendicular to the Earth's surface at M and the plane of the equator OE. Planes parallel to the plane of the equator joining all places of the same latitude are known as parallels of latitude. They are also known as small circles.
1-3).The longitude of a place is the angle between the plane of the prime (Greenwich) meridian and the meridian of the place measured from 0° to 180° east or west of Greenwich (Fig. .
1-5 the d. the Central Signal Station Flagstaff.lat) between two places is the arc of the meridian between the two parallels of latitude. 1-4.long is named east or west according to whether the meridian of the destination is east or west of the meridian of the place of departure.lat between G and T. where GF is the parallel of latitude through F.95N or 1°. d. Difference of latitude.lat from F to T = angle GDT (south) = lat F .79917 The third method of recording shown above is for use in a calculator. is in latitude 50 degrees 47 minutes 57 seconds north of the equator and in longitude 1 degree 6 minutes 32 seconds west of Greenwich. d. Portsmouth Dockyard. For example. 1-3 the longitude of F is the arc AB = angle AOB (east). In Fig. When a ship is proceeding from one place to another. 10889 + 50°.In Fig.lat The difference of longitude (d. 1-4 the d. When a ship is proceeding from one place to another. +ve signs being used for N latitudes and E longitudes.lat T Fig. — ve signs for S latitudes and W longitudes.long) between two places is the smaller arc of the equator between their meridians.lat is named north or south according to whether the parallel of the destination is north or south of the parallel of the place of departure.lat between F and Tis the same as the d.53W 50°47'. . d.long from FtoT= arc BA = angle BOA (west) = angle FPT (the angle at the pole between the meridians of the two places). In Fig. The position may be recorded as follows: 50°47'57"N or 1°06'32"W 1°06'. longitude The difference of latitude (d. The position of a place may therefore be expressed in latitude and longitude. d.
1°07'W) and New York (T): (40°40'N.lat and the d. 74°00'W). .lat 55°10'N long F 1°07'W long T 74°00'W d. 2.long between: 1. 14°31'E) and Gibraltar (T): (36°07'N.POSITION ON THE EARTH'S SURFACE Calculation of d. 157°52'W). Portsmouth (F): (50°48'N.lat 10°08'S la t F 3 5 ° 5 3 ' N lat T 36°07'N d. Malta (F): (35°53'N.long 72°53'W long F 14°31'E long T 5°21'W d.long is as follows: Same names: Subtract Opposite names: Add If. Sydney (F): (33°52'S.lat 0°14'N latF33°52'S lat T 21°18'N d. 3. when using this rule. 1. this sum is subtracted from 360° to find the smaller angle and the name is reversed. 151°13'E) and Honolulu (T): (21°18'N. \atF 50°48'N lat T 40°40'N d.lat and d.long 309°05'W subtract from 360° _____ d.long 50°55'E 2. 5°21'W).lat and d.long The rule for finding the d. the sum of the longitudes exceeds 180°. 3. EXAMPLES Find the d.long 19°52'W long F 151°13'E long T 157°52'W d.
^ For the International (1924) Spheroid. The length of the sea mile1^ is shortest at the equator (1842. The formula for the length of 1' of arc is given in Chapter 3 and its derivation in Appendix 5. which is the symbol for a minute of arc. then AMB is the length of the sea mile at M. Thus. 1-6.7 m). published by the Hydrographer of the Navy.8 means 10. This is illustrated in Fig. where the symbol M is used. the sea mile is denoted by '. Its length is tabulated in Spheroidal Tables (NP 240). .8 sea miles. the distance subtended by 1' of arc also increases. 10'.The sea mile The sea mile is the length of one minute of arc (!') measured along the meridian in the latitude of the position. thus. see Chapter 3. The British Standard Nautical Mile was discarded in 1970. and AMB is an arc of the meridian subtending an angle of 1' at C.* Except on charts. with a mean value of 1852. If M is the place on the Earth's surface and C the centre of curvature at M. The symbol is always placed before the decimal point. * It is a common but mistaken practice for mariners to refer to a sea mile as a nautical mile.9 m) and longest at the poles (1861. The length of the sea mile The radius of curvature in the meridian increases as M moves from the equator to the pole. the latitude graduations form a scale of sea miles. On Admiralty charts on the Mercator projection (see Chapter 4).3 m at 45° latitude.
This unit is one international nautical mile (1852 m) per hour and is called a knot.3 m and 186. If point M is in latitude 60°N. the errors arising from using international nautical miles instead of sea miles are very small (less than 0. Linear measurement of latitude and longitude The linear latitude of a place is the length of the arc of the meridian between the equator and that place. The knot In navigation. its latitude is 1800'— or30S. This is illustrated in Fig. 1-8. The international nautical mile This is a standard fixed length of 1852 m.5%). As the equator is a circle the length of the geographical mile is the same at all parts of the equator and is equal to (a sin 1' of arc). it is convenient to have a fixed or standard unit for measuring speed.2 m according to latitude. Sometimes.4m. it is necessary to determine the error and this is set out in Appendix 5. then: angle MLW = 60° = 60 X 60 minutes of arc = 3600' The linear latitude of M is 3600 sea miles north of the equator. Distances given in the Admiralty Distance Tables and in Ocean Passages of the World are in international nautical miles.One-tenth of a sea mile is known as a cable. The geographical mile The geographical mile is the length of 1' of arc measured along the equator (i. where a is the radius of the equator. a convenient measure frequently used at sea for navigational purposes. however. The statute mile The statute or land mile is the unit of distance of 1760 yards or 5280 feet (1609. If a place MI is situated 1800 sea miles south of the equator. The linear longitude of a place is the smaller arc of the equator between the prime meridian and the meridian of the place. For the International (1924) Spheroid. which varies between 184. its value is 1855. . 1—7.e. This is illustrated in Fig.3m). Along the equator it is measured in geographical miles (see above) east or west of the prime meridian. Its correct abbreviation is the term n mile. A cable approximates to 200 yards. In normal practice. abbreviated to kn. It is measured in sea miles north or south of the equator. 1' of longitude).
the angle AOB is 40°. 1—8. i.Fig. It will be seen from Fig. the arc AB of the equator is 40° = 40 X 60 = 2400 minutes of arc along the equator. 2400 geographical miles.e. 1-8 that the distance on the Earth's surface between any two meridians is greatest at the equator and diminishes until it is zero at . Linear measurement of longitude If point B is 40°E of the prime meridian PAPj.
is called a small circle (Fig. meridians of longitude become semi-great circles joining (but not passing through) the poles cutting the equator at right angles. (The error in assuming that the length of a degree of longitude varies directly with the cosine of the latitude lies between zero at the equator and 0.the poles. The equator is a great circle but all other parallels of latitude are small circles. The linear distance of a degree of longitude on the surface of the Earth varies approximately with the cosine of the latitude. Any plane which cuts the surface of the sphere. * This figure is taken from the International (1924) Spheroid.34% at latitude 89° for the International (1924) Spheroid. Thus.* A sphere is the figure formed by rotating a semi-circle about its diameter. Any plane through the centre of the sphere cuts the surface in what is known as a great circle. where all the meridians meet. 1-9). when the Earth is regarded as a sphere. The Earth as a sphere Although the shape of the Earth is that of an oblate spheroid. with radius equal to the mean of the greatest and least radii and measuring approximately 3440 international nautical miles. which has mean radius . but does not pass through the centre. for most purposes of navigation it may be assumed to be a sphere.) The precise formulae for the length of 1' of latitude and 1' of longitude are given in Chapter 3.
) On the equator 1' of arc of longitude also equals one n mile. In Figs 1-10 and 1-11 the true bearing of T from F is given by the angle PFT. 1-10 T bears 030° from F: in Fig. without appreciable error. Over short distances the great circle may be drawn as a straight line without appreciable error. The Earth may therefore be treated. the length of 1' of arc on the meridian or on the equator equals 1853. it is expressed in terms of the angle between the meridian and the great circle (angle PFTin Fig. clockwise from 000° to 360°.The great circle is important in navigation because it gives the shortest distance between two points. This distance approximates very closely to the length of the international nautical mile of 1852 m. 1-11 T bears 330° from F. as in Figs l-10(b) and 1-1 l(b). In Fig.2% for longitude.). A shoal. It is measured by the angle between the meridian through the ship's position and the fore-and-aft line. etc. l-10(a)). It is also the path taken by an electro-magnetic radiation near the Earth's surface (radio. (The errors introduced by assuming a spherical Earth based on the international nautical mile are not more than 0. radar. True course True course is the direction along the Earth's surface in which the ship is being steered (or intended to be steered). 0. True north True north is the northerly direction of the meridian and is the reference from which true bearings and courses are measured. True bearing The true bearing of an object is the angle between the meridian and the direction of the object.3 m. DIRECTION ON THE EARTH'S SURFACE True direction The true direction between two points on the Earth's surface is given by the great circle between them. n miles. Position of close objects It is often convenient to indicate the position of an object by its bearing and distance from a known or key position. where PF is the meridian through F and FT is the great circle joining F to T. The error varies with the latitude and the bearing. for example. . rather than by latitude and longitude. PFT is measured clockwise from 000° to 360°. This means that linear latitude and linear longitude may now be measured in the same units. 7 miles from a certain lighthouse. light.5% for latitude. Using the mean radius for the sphere derived from the International (1924) Spheroid. as a sphere where 1' of latitude is considered equal to 1 n mile anywhere on the surface. might be described as being 239°.
sea and steering errors.TRUE NORTH TRUE NORTH True course is not to be confused with heading (or ship's head]. which is the instantaneous direction of the ship and is thus a constantly changing value if the ship yaws across the course due to the effect of wind. .
Error of the gyro-compass For a number of reasons the gyro-compass will not always point exactly towards true north. while its true bearing is known to be 075°. In order to obtain the true bearing. l-12(b).) The general principles of the two types of compass are set out below with an explanation as to how true courses and bearings may be obtained from them. Courses and bearings which are measured using a gyro-compass are true provided there is no error in the compass. Any error must be known before the compass may be used as an accurate reference. and a gyro error low must be added to the gyro bearing. the gyro is reading 2° low. and are measured clockwise from 000° to 360°. the axis of which is made to point along the meridian towards true north. The gyro-compass This instrument is a rapidly spinning wheel or gyroscope.The compass The navigational compass is an instrument which provides the datum from which courses and bearings may be measured. There are two principal types of compass—the gyro-compass and the magnetic compass. The degree of accuracy of gyro-compasses used in the Royal Navy is such that the maximum error is of the order of 5° at the equator and 1° at latitude 60°. If the gyro bearing of an object is 077°. then it can be seen from Fig. in a number of commercial compasses the error may exceed this by one or two degrees. if the gyro bearing is 073°. (These instruments are described in detail in Volume III. I-12(a) that the gyro is reading 2° high. a gyro error high must be subtracted from the gyro bearing. as in Fig. The . similarly. Details of how the error may be found are given in Chapter 9. However.
Its value at any place may be found from the chart which gives the variation for a certain year together with a note of the annual change. These lines of force follow approximate semi-great circle paths to the North Magnetic Pole. These magnetic poles are not stationary but are continually moving over a largely unknown path in a cycle of some hundreds of years.suffixes G or T may be used to denote Gyro or True courses and bearings respectively. Magnetic north Magnetic north is the name given to the direction in which the 'north' end of a magnetic needle. however. steel or electrical equipment will cause the magnetic compass to deviate from the magnetic meridian. Variation Variation is the angle between the geographic (true) and magnetic meridians at any place. The magnetic meridian A freely suspended magnetic compass needle acted upon by the Earth's magnetic field alone will lie in the vertical plane containing the line of total force of the Earth's magnetic field. in part. north of Bathurst Island in the Canadian Arctic. The Earth may be considered as a gigantic magnet. It is measured east or west from true north. Deviation. The navigator must always allow for this annual change. The angle between the magnetic meridian (magnetic north) and the direction in which the needle points (compass north) is called the deviation. the magnetic poles are not 180° apart. Variation may also be obtained from special isogonic charts on which all places of equal variation are joined by isogonic lines and known as isogonals (not to be confused with magnetic meridians. suspended so as to remain horizontal. The magnetic field of the ship changes direction and amount. would point when subject only to the influence of the Earth's magnetism. 1-13 the variation at F is 20° west. The magnetic compass This instrument may be considered as a bar magnet freely suspended in the horizontal plane and acted upon by the Earth's magnetic field and the magnetic properties of the ship. in Fig. This vertical plane is known as the magnetic meridian. it is rare for the magnetic needle to point towards the magnetic pole. thus. as the . do not necessarily point towards the magnetic poles because the Earth's magnetic field is irregular. Magnetic lines of force emanate from a position near King George V Land in Antarctica known as the South Magnetic Pole. which are lines offeree). compass north If a magnetic compass is put in a ship. Variation has different values at different places and is gradually changing. In addition. the presence of iron. It is the northerly direction of the magnetic meridian. It is measured east or west from magnetic north. Magnetic meridians.
t h e deviation in a ship's magnetic compass is reduced to a minimum by the use of permanent magnets and soft-iron correctors.ship alters course. Record of Observations for Deviation. The residual deviation is found by swinging the ship through 360° and tabulating that residual deviation for the various compass headings. Consequently the deviation is different for different compass courses. and S387. I n p r a c t i c e . Deviation table* BEARING OF DI COMPASS HEADING MAGNETIC (FROM CHART) 236°M 5TANT OBJECT COMPASS (OBSERVED) DEVIATION N (000 °) NNE (022f) NE (045 °) ENE (067f) E (090 °) ESE (1122°) SE (135 °) SSE (157f) S (180 °) SSW (202F) SW (225 °) WSW (247i°) W (270 °) WNW (292i°) NW (315 °) NNW (337f) 236°M 236°M 236°M 236°M 236°M 236°M 236°M 236°M 236°M 236°M 236°M 236°M 236°M 236°M 236°M 237FC 237|°C 237fC 237i°C 237 °C 236i°C 235i°C 235 °C 234i°C 234 °C 234 °C 234fC 234|°C 235i°C 236 °C 237 °C li°W ifw ifw IfW 1 °W i°W i°E 1 °E IfE 2 °E 2 °E IfE U°E |°E NIL 1 °W * The standard forms used in the Royal Navy to record deviation (S374A. . Table of Deviation) are tabulated every 22|° to facilitate the calculation of the various compass coefficients (see Volume III). Table 1-1.) The residual deviation may be tabulated as in Table 1-1. Intervals of 10° or 20° may be used if so desired. (Both these procedures are explained in detail in Volume III.
.It may also be shown in the form of a curve where deviation is plotted against the compass heading. 1-14. This is shown in Fig.
west. . 1-16.g. This is illustrated in Fig. whereas the magnetic bearing (angle MFT) is 065°M and the true bearing (angle PFT) is 045°. Magnetic and compass courses and bearings Magnetic courses and bearings are measured clockwise from 000° to 360° from magnetic north (the magnetic meridian) and are given the suffix M. angle PFM is the variation. For example. 20°W. There are 32 points in the whole card. the division marks being called points: each point has a distinctive name—north. This is illustrated in Fig. the deviation for 260° compass heading may be found to be 1J°E. the bearing 137°M would be shown as S43°E. north by east. Angle MFC is the deviation. north. Compass courses and bearings are measured clockwise from 000° to 360° from compass north. The difference is the variation. 10°E. e. Magnetic courses and bearings The magnetic bearing of T from F (angle MFT) is 085°M. For example. south. 1-15. east. They differ from true courses and bearings by the amount of variation for the place and the deviation for the compass heading. Graduation of older magnetic compass cards There may still be some older magnetic compass cards* at sea which are divided into four quadrants of 90°. Each quadrant is divided into eight equal parts. * Even older cards may still be found which are divided into four quadrants by the cardinal points. 075°M. while the true bearing of T from F (angle PFT) is 065°. 20°W. 195°C. e. 1-15. the angles being measured from north and south to east and west.Intermediate values for deviation may be found by interpolation from the tables or inspection of the curve. Fig. and are given the suffix C. The compass bearing of T from F (angle CFT) is 055°C. They differ from true courses and bearings by the variation.g. north north east and so on.
Practical application of compass errors All charts have what are known as compass roses printed on them. subtract west and vice versa. Error East. when concerting from compass to true. add east. This rule may be memorised by the mnemonic CADET: C AD E T Compass Add East True i. When there are two concentric rings. Compass Least. others also have an indication of the amount of magnetic variation. and its rate of change. the outer ring represents the true compass and the inner the magnetic compass. Westerly variation and deviation are subtracted or applied anti-clockwise. . Conversion of magnetic and compass courses and bearings to true The following rule should be applied for the conversion of magnetic or compass courses and bearings to true: Easterly variation and deviation are added or applied clockwise. Compass Best. 1-17. Before he can use this magnetic rose for laying off the compass bearing or the compass course. On the north—south line of the magnetic rose is written the variation.e. An alternative mnemonic which may be used is: Error West. as shown in Fig. Some small-scale charts have only the true compass rose. the navigator must apply both the deviation and the change in variation. the year for which it is correct.
i. Compass rose printed on Admiralty charts Remember that.Fig. while deviation is the difference between magnetic and compass. variation is the difference between true and magnetic. Method 1 Deviation (for the compass course steered) and variation (corrected to date) are applied to the compass course or bearing in accordance with the above rule to . True ± Variation = Magnetic + Deviation = Compass There are two methods available for laying off the compass course or bearing. as explained earlier. I—17.e.
all compass bearings should be reduced by 10°. The deviation for the compass course being steered. that of taking out the deviation for the compass bearing of the object instead of the compass course of the ship. The compass bearing of an object is 043°C. Method 2 The parallel ruler is placed on the given compass bearing or course on the magnetic rose. To convert to true while on heading 260°C. The application of compass error in one step avoids a very common mistake. total error correction = + l2°E — 1 l2°W = — 10°W.obtain the true course or bearing. EXAMPLE A ship is steering 260°C. These two methods are illustrated by the following example. The algebraic sum ( + ve for east. 1-14. what is the true course and how would the bearing be plotted using the above two methods? The year is 1985. Plotting the bearing Method 1 For any particular compass heading. it will be evident that the combined effect of deviation and variation may be applied as a total error correction. . 2. In this case. It is then slewed through a small angle in accordance with the above rule to allow for: 1. decreasing 10' annually. The parallel ruler is then placed at the true reading on the true rose. Using the deviation from Fig. —ve for west) of the deviation and the change in variation is called the rose correction. The change in variation to bring it up to date. Variation from the chart was 12°W in 1982.
Before the navigator can find his compass course he must know the deviation. 1-17). To find the compass course from the true course The mnemonic CADET is used in the reverse direction. makes a second calculation to get the exact deviation. particularly if the deviation is large. add west. the deviation of a magnetic compass providing the primary means of navigation should remain within 2° of the residual deviation obtained at the time of the swing over a period of several months. EXAMPLE By calculation. however.Method 2 Place the parallel rule on the magnetic rose in the direction 043°M. the compass bearing is 235°C. the sun's true bearing is 230°. The various methods of checking the deviation are given in Chapter 9. True to compass. subtract east There is. Slew through a total rose correction of +2° clockwise (i° clockwise to allow for the easterly change of variation and l2° clockwise to allow for the easterly deviation). it will be immediately apparent that 045°M is the same as 033°T. whilst that for a magnetic compass providing a secondary means of navigating (or a primary means of steering) should remain within 5° over a similar period. the true bearing. Plot the bearing on the magnetic rose. giving a revised compass course of268i°C. As magnetic north on the compass rose is offset 12° to the west (see Fig. He therefore enters the deviation table with the magnetic course in lieu of compass course and. Checking the deviation If a compass bearing is taken of an object which has a known true bearing and if the variation is also known. 045°M. variation 12°W. then the deviation may be found and compared with that obtained from the deviation table. he will see that the correct deviation to use is nearer 1|°E than l5°E. What is the deviation? .e. compass course 260 ° + 10 °W 268f°C If the navigator enters the deviation table with this approximate course of 268f°C. In practice within the Royal Navy. i. but he cannot find his deviation until he knows his compass course. For example: True course Variation Approx. a small complication.
and on the quarter without any specified number of degrees or points mean respectively 45° (4 points). 135° (12 points) from ship's head.g. Relative bearings Relative bearings may also be measured clockwise from 000° to 360° from the fore-and-aft line of the ship and are given the suffix Rel. Y 40° on the port quarter. port bearings are Red. Bearings are relative to this line and are measured from the bow from 0° to 180° on each side. 1-18 the bearing ofZis Green 30 (030° Rel). 135° Rel. true to compass. Fig. e. and of Y 265°. the ship's course. Starboard bearings are Green. Relative bearings The line of reference is the fore-and-aft line of the ship. X could be said to be 30° on the starboard bow. . 1-18. east is subtracted.e. The expressions on the bow. In Fig. on the beam. i. Alternatively.Clearly deviation is -7° and since. the true bearing of X is 075°. that of YRed 140 (220° Rel). If the ship is steering 045°. the devation is 7°E. 90° (8 points).