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Spatial Navigation Before GPS

Spatial Navigation Before GPS | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Giant 70-foot concrete arrows that point your way across the country, left behind by a forgotten age of US mail delivery.  Long before the days of radio (and those convenient little smartphone applications), the US Postal service began a cross-country air mail service using army war surplus planes from World War I.  The federal government funded enormous concrete arrows to be built every 10 miles or so along established airmail routes they were each built alongside a 50 foot tall tower with a rotating gas-powered light. These airway beacons are said to have been visible from a distance of 10 miles high."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This is fascinating...just because a technology is old and outdated in modern society doesn't mean it wasn't ingenious.  The original mathmeticans who calcuated angles and distances study geometry so they could navigate and 'measure the Earth.' These giant arrows are but one of those links in the geneological strands of navigational technology.   Mathematics can be incredibly spatial as well as geospatial.   

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Giovanni Sonego's curator insight, December 15, 2013 1:49 PM

Adesso sembra incredibile che si usasse un sistema simile per guidare la posta aerea. Forse a quei tempi sembrava normale. 

Steven Flis's curator insight, December 16, 2013 3:14 AM

I love articles like this one where they talk about the collide of different times. This article speaks of huge concrete arrows which were left from 1930's air mail routes. sadly most of the towers that were paired with the arrows have been dismantled but still really cool that these directional arrows from the past can still be found almost 90 years later.

Elle Reagan's curator insight, September 28, 2014 11:44 PM

Wow technology has come a long way in just a short amount of time! We would still be using  those stone arrows if it wasn't for the invention of the GPS. 

Geography Education
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Curated by Seth Dixon