31-Mar-2000 -- It all began in a pub where we were sitting together
with our American friend Jonathan discussing important and unimportant things,
and one of these things is that we both are interested in GPS technology. Then
he remembered that a friend of his knows something about a project where you
need a GPS Receiver and he promised to send us the internet address of this
project when he was back in USA. So done, we visited this URL and thought
that it could be a fun idea to explore these imaginary points.
First we had to find out by means of an exact map where the closest
confluence point to Karlsruhe, Germany is located. Fine, only 30 kilometers away
in France. Ok, not in Germany but now it’s time to think European and so we
decided that we would take this point as our first point. Armed with a GPS
receiver, adjusted for WGS84 and connected to my old 486 Notebook equipped
with GIS-Software, enabling us to find out the best driving route to this point,
we started our expedition on the 31st of March 2000. We earned some curious
glances from the local inhabitants when they saw us passing their small village,
one hand outside the car for a better GPS-contact, eyes fixed on the notebook
to determine the actual position, and with a car with foreign license plate ;-).
Finally arrived, what a nice surprise, we saw that our confluence point is a
resting place, easy to find and easy to photograph. We observed the display on
the receiver, which altered permanently, and we took a picture at 48°59,978'
northern latitude and 8° 0,009' eastern longitude, which means a variance of 40m.
The internal accuracy determined by the receiver, of around 40 meters.
Back at home I got a new cognition. A cognition which is related to the
pole-problem and which concerns all those who are living at 49 degrees latitude
and higher. When I first read the homepage I didn't spend much time with this
chapter, believing that pole-problems only could be important for Eskimos or
whalers and not for middle Europeans like us. In order to get more information
about the procedure for sending our material to confluence.org I decided to
make this effort to occupy myself with the formula, which determines by means
of modulo calculation which confluence point is important for the project and
which not. What a disappointment [probably similar to the feeling that Scott
must have had when he learned that he was beaten by Amundson when
investigating the pole ;-)] when finding out that our beloved confluence point
doesn't match the modulo criteria.
But nevertheless, it's never a wasted time, having spent a day in France,
but in future, and take this advice, if you are living in the described area above
49 degrees. First read the "pole problem chapter", then calculate, and
then explore, if it's still necessary ;-)!
Naturally we don't give up and we are already planning now the exploration
of the next possible point. We will continue!