Monday, May 3, 2010

Waypoints (or WPs)

Waypoints are imaginary points out in the middle of the waterways, like a floating "X" on the water if you will. A navigator uses a waypoint to get some sense of where he is. Now with GPS this is quite easy to do since GPS tells us where we are electronically and all the time. One then navigates always between waypoints. A straight-line distance between waypoints is typically called a leg. It consists of a straight line from the waypoint or WP that you started at and the point you intend to travel to. Navigation systems like a marine GPS receiver will usually tell you how far you have to go to get to the next WP and how far off track you are from the straight line between the two WPs. This is usually referred to as the cross track error or XTE.

A series of waypoints listed in order from start to finish makes a route. What is nice about a route is that you can estimate how far you have to go and thus how long it takes to get to the end of the route. During the many hours at sea I intend to prepare a series of routes so that we can calculate the entire distance from start to the intended finish at Picton on Lake Ontario.

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