Sunday, February 10, 2008
The role of a ship navigator is to calculate the shortest and a safest route from the starting point to the destination point of the journey. On most short travels, finding such path seems trivial. With the aid of a compass a desired bearing is set and sailed upon. The resulting path which always intersects meridians at the same angle is called the loxodrome. Within such framework, the loxodrome is incorrectly perceived by many to be the shortest path. Since loxodrome is set using proven euclidean geometry with the aid of common tools like compass or a map, it is difficult to realize that such path is not particularly the right way to go. When considering a long distance travel, a slight paradigm shift has to be made to allow for calculation using spherical geometry. The resulting more precise path is called the orthodrome (gr. ortho - correct or straight, drome - line or path) which by definition intersects every meridian at a different angle and it absolutely sets the shortest way. The interesting thing is that orthodrome as straight as it may be, requires constant bearing adjustment which gives a perception of a curve.
I guess what I am trying to say here is that the right way to go isn't always obvious but it certainly does exist. As we set sails for this incredibly exciting venture on a flagship called VendAsta, we face the difficult navigation task. Adoption of an orthodrome will require us to make complex calculations along the way, innovate in various frameworks, constantly adjust the course and most importantly it will force us to always do the right thing. As an oath and a constant reminder to stay on the right path I chose to name this space "My Orthodrome"
Posted by Allan Wolinski at 4:56 PM