My point has little to do with electronics
vs paper, navigation vs pilotage, old vs new and nothing to do with better vs worse.
However I'm now a little clearer about what I'm trying to say, after reading how various people have interpreted my earlier post in various ways. So far nobody seems to understand my take on it*, so here's another try from me.
*(I don't mean nobody seems to agree; that's a different question from whether they understand ... but it seems to me it's not meaningfully possible to agree with what someone says - or disagree - without first understanding what they mean)
It strikes me that there are now two practicable approaches to position-finding for a cruising vessel.
Option A: do it yourself
Option B: get others to do it, and tell you the answer
Those "others" may be present on board, but more likely they're engineers, programmers, satellite
technicians, mathematicians etc etc etc whom we will never meet. And they are "doing it" not in the sense that they work on the specific problem of our position, but in the sense that they've worked out how to do it in the general case, and how to make the fruits of their efforts available to us whenever and wherever we specifically require it.
We tend to talk as if Option B was not available prior to the Omega system, and more recently Satnav and then GPS.
Previous electronic aids, like Loran
or RDF still required us to do part of the job, so to me they fall under option A. They were
"just another tool".
However the various Option B technologies started as expensive options, and in that context it was not out of the question to simply hire a professional human navigator rather than pay for a technology-based navigator. To me that still qualifies as Option B, even if the hired professional used traditional navigational equipment
Revisiting the analogy where I likened Option A to painting and Option B to photography
Cook hired an artist to capture the topography of coastlines (for future pilotage). Some other captains did that for themselves.
So even before the invention of the camera
, the job of capturing a permanent likeness could either be outsourced, or done autonomously by the sailor.
My point is this: a turnkey technology which offers sailors Option B is not just another tool to help find positions with. It's a tool which finds the position, and tells us the answer.
And I think because it's a conceptual shift, a disruptive step-change of major proportions, it's misleading to plot it on a smooth continuum with previous technological innovations like the chronometer.
And the fact that most people use a mixture of Options A and B does not seem to me to provide a satisfying reason to lump them under one heading.
is not just another tool in a painter's arsenal. But a painter will almost certainly have a camera, and a photographer may well also paint
Those people will probably go to different discussion forums
to talk about painting or photography.
What I'm about to say is not a value judgement. It's an observation.
When we use an option B piece of technology, we are not navigating.