Ancient Ionian Greeks first used GPS method to navigate

Profesor explains their contribution to geography

The ancient Ionian Greeks off the coast of Asia Minor from the city of Melitus were the first to use stars and their relationship with the earth’s surface to aid them in navigating the globe. Professor Emeritus of the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki Cartography Department Evangelos Livieratos said the ancient Greeks were essentially the first to adopt a form of GPS system in the world in the 7th Century BC by using the position of the stars as satellites via their relationship to the earth’s surface, during a presentation at an event held at the Gerovasili Wine Museum. The professor said the first known depiction of a map dates back to 30,000 BC and was discovered in northern Italy as a rock inscription. “The rock inscriptions possibly portray some shacks, a curve which might be a natural barrier (mountain, forest or river) and on the other side of the curve animals”, said Mr. Livieratos. “Before the satellites, for thousands of years people were doing roughly the same thing as satellites do today, using the stars. They not only used the stars, but their relationship with the earth’s surface, much like satellites do today”, he said. He went on to explain that a couple of centuries after the Ionian Greeks used this method to navigate, the ancient described and understood the sphere, while a physical 3-dimensional sphere with meridians and parallels was invented around the era of Hipparhcus in the 2nd Century BC. Mr. Livieratos said Ptolemy, the Greek mathematician, astronomer and geographer was the first to compile a detailed map/book of the 7,000 known places of his time. “He is considered the father of Geography”, said the professor.

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