Mathematics in the Maritime

Kyra Mycroft, Bharath Sriraman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In this chapter maritime history is explored in relation to the mathematics that arose from solving basic problems of determining ones location on the ocean, viz., latitude and longitude. Celestial navigation and GPS navigation techniques arose as a result of the need to accurately travel from one point to another and determine locations in transit. Oceans cover over 70% of the earth’s surface, and its exploration is traced back to ancient civilizations attempting to travel upon the water. Over time, different devices were invented for navigation across the ocean, each device becoming more sophisticated but using similar mathematical themes. Navigation on the ocean also presented new risks to safety and marked the advent of insurance and actuarial science. These secondary aspects of maritime history are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of the Mathematics of the Arts and Sciences
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9783319570723
ISBN (Print)9783319570716
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021


  • Global positioning systems
  • Insurance
  • Latitude
  • Least squares
  • Longitude
  • Map making
  • Navigation
  • Risk


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