Sextant & Astrolabe vs. GPS

Modern technology or centuries old instruments?  Which is faster, easier to use, more accurate, and more reliable?  Lets test to find out.

This is the latest digital astrolabe Java applet.  Pretty cool huh?

Astrolabes can be printed from paper too.

This is a classic brass sextant with two guide mirrors.

Here is an European Space Agency Sextant & Astrolabe chart. Cheap and easy to use.

This eGPS tracking app with the ability to do seven satellite timing and location calculations down to the foot and taking into account relativity.

But who wins in an all out throw-down?

With some friends, I tested myself with a timer to see which tool was fastest in helping me determine my location at night.  This test was purely for speed and not accuracy.  The GPS plainly wins for accuracy.


Device / Time  Sextant  Astrolabe GPS 
Location 1  1:11 1:01:15 0:44 
Time 1 1:02 12:15 0:40 
Location 2 1:89  0:19  2:11 
Time 2 5:39 2:40  2:39 

Follow this link to find out about the tools mentioned above.