Navigation can be called both, the science and art of traveling from one point to another. Humans have always devised various methods to overcome the challenges associated with traveling and navigation. Now we have GPS and satellite navigation systems. But the history goes back to the time when people walked and used very primitive modes of boats and horses etc. for traveling.
If any time-traveler comes to today’s world and sees the boats displayed in
4yachts, then he will be justified in thinking the modern generation as a genius and amazing innovators. These boats are equipped with all the modern navigational tools.
As far as the history is concerned, we know that the sailors used to stay close to the shorelines and kept track of directions using natural signs like the stars and sun and moon. Their boats were also small and could not travel far so the navigation in shallow waters in nearby areas was not so difficult. Slowly the boats became bigger. They started being used for commercial and trading purposes. They would also use landmarks on the shorelines to ensure that they did not lose sight of their destination. Major constellations like the big bear would help in determining the direction. Similarly, natural movements of the birds would help them to go towards land.
After the compass was invented and some kind of cartography was developed, navigation became a lot simpler for the sailors. But even now many sailors assumed and believed that earth was flat. The sun, moon, and stars were still a big part of the navigation process.
Telescope, periscope, and sextants had a great part in the sailors deciding and following a particular direction. Winds and currents played a significant part in the way ships moved so the sailors had to learn to understand the climate and weather conditions before they could plan their course of travel.
Today captains have the latest electronic gadgets to check their progress and calculate and chart their travel itinerary. The shipping industry has seen this progress through the innovation and inventions done by science and technology.