The complicated stick charts used by Polynesians to navigate the Pacific long before the compass and sextant will get a revival this fall.
Image by courtesy, SOURCE
(No) Tech Week kick-off: before sextant - Pacific voyage to reclaim ancient GPS

Posted: Aug 14, 2012 08:52 pm EDT
(Newsdesk) This season's tech week at ExWeb kicks off with a cool anti-tech piece.

"Should anything go wrong with the GPS-satellites, we would be catapulted back in time: not to the eighteenth century, but to antiquity."

So say lowtechmagazine, arguing that the world is becoming way too dependent on GPS, losing the old - but more reliable - ways of navigation.

I a sequel the next year, the notechmagazine described how the Polynesians, scattered over 1,000 islands across the central and southern Pacific Ocean, were master navigators.

"They didn’t have the astrolabe or the sextant, the compass or the chronometer," wrote the mag, explaining that they did it with "the repositories of an extremely complex kind of knowledge [---] today we call them simply Stick Charts."

Now a group of Maori sailors will sail 10,000 nautical miles across the Pacific to Easter Island without GPS, charts, maps, or compass.

Instead, the notechmag reports, the group will use traditional techniques like the movement of the stars, the sun and moon, oceanic currents and bird and animal life, that helped the Polynesian settle Hawaii, New Zealand and Tonga.

Sail-off is set for late August.


GPS vs. sextant, a sailor's tale of times new and bygone

Henk de Velde in Puluwat: birds and currents vs. autopilot and GPS

Ocean rower Geoff Allum: "You can still do without a watermaker and GPS, but no one seems to want to"

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