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Determining your Location with a String, a Protractor and a Watch

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Great weekend project idea from WIRED:

IN A RECENT episode of MacGyver, Angus (yes, that’s his first name) finds his location in the desert using only a string, a protractor, and a watch. Is this actually possible? Basically, yes. (At least that’s what I told the show-runners as the technical consultant for the show.)

But you can do this, too. So now, for your super basic introduction to navigating the world. And don’t worry—this won’t be a full blown semester course on navigation, it’s just the basics.

If you want to find out where you are on Earth, you need some type of coordinate system. Humans like to use longitude and latitude. You need to understand these in order to actually navigate. Both longitude and latitude can be thought of as circles (but not actual circles). Let me start with a basketball as an example. It already has some lines on it, so I just need to add some extra…

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