1. Madman
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    Madman Active Member

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    Universal Position System. (Dimensions and Math help needed)

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Madman, Jun 26, 2012.

    Hi there!

    I need some help in creating a universal positioning system for a fictional novel universe.
    What I have thought of so far:

    A type of system where the universal center is the point from wich you measure. And the universe is spherical.
    In order to make this somewhat practical for ship captains to use, I decided to split the universe into universal sectors, normal sectors and sub-sectors and the position within the sub-sector.
    Like this:
    US=Universal Sector
    S=Sector
    SB=Sub-Sector
    P=Postion (within the sub-sector)

    So a captain entering Universal Sector 102, Sector 1829 and Sub-Sector 16482 would only need to worry about that sub-sectors specific position.
    The ships position would read something like:
    US102, SR1829, SBS16482, P003827, 002815, 001923 (Not sure how the SBS positioning system will work yet).
    The Position measurement would be the same for all sub-sectors (starting somewhere in the centre of that sub-sector).

    What I need help with is the dimensions and the math. Is there any program I can use?

    Lets start at the centre of the universe, we have a sphere that we need to split up in several equally sized pieces. And then we need to split those pieces into smaller ones. And then split the small ones...

    I'm thinking that a universal sector would be around 1 yottametre in it's dimensions.
    A sector would be around 1 zettametre.
    And one sub-sector would be around 1 exametre in it's dimensions.

    Now, how the heck do I split them up, and in what dimensions do I split them up? I don't even know where or how to start.
    My math skills can be compared to that of a stone.
    Visual representation would be a necessity as a bunch of numbers will just fry my brain, hence asking for a good 3d math program.

    If anyone could recommend me a good one, it would be greatly appreciated. (I might also need to use it for other math and dimensional problems)
     
  2. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    You're working too hard. Leaving aside any relativistic effects (length shortening as a ship approaches lightspeed, etc.), you can describe the position of any point in the universe using spherical coordinates - a radius length and two angles. Look up spherical coordinate system in Wikipedia - you'll find the math and pictures there.

    Sorry I can't help you with a program, but you can start with the Wikipedia article.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Software endorsements are not permitted on this site. Use google instead.

    But I agree with others that you are over-thinking this. And I'm a math fanatic!

    Also, your system is illogical. Your coordinate system uses spherical coordinates, but each sector is not spherical. Sectors further from the center will be larger than those nearer the center, and your sectors will nolt be spherical. Using spherical coordinates within each sector , from the center of the sector, makes no sense.

    Assuming your "Universe" is intended only to contain the Milky Way Galaxy and vicinity, I'd be more inclined to use cylindrical coordinates, with the axis of the cylinder passing through the center of rotation of the galaxy and perpendicular to the plane of the galaxy. No subdivision of sectors other then decimal fractions of the coordinate system, and simply accept that sectors further from the axis will be larger than inner sectors. That's okay, because the stars are closer together as you approach the core, and because you won't want to be anywhere near the core anyway (it's a supermassive black hole, surrounded by a region of lethally high radiation for tens of light years outward).

    But having said all that, I highly recommend sparing the reader the details.
     
  4. Madman
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    Madman Active Member

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    Thanks for the answers.
    Yeah now that I think more about it. It makes no sense at all, and would be overly complicated.
    I think I will go with the Spherical Coordinate System as it seems good for my setting. Well, that is, as soon as I can understand it better. (The only thing that sounded familiar was azimuth, I'm gonna need to study a lot more)
    The only concern I have right now is the astronomical amount of numbers that may be needed to determine ones position down to the meter. (Or even lower in some cases)
    This will probably not even make it into the book, I'm not sure yet. I just like to have everything laid out from start in case I get any ideas or want to add something. And to know where and what is going on.

    Anyway, thanks for your quick replies, this seems like a good place. :)
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    This would be true regardless of the coordinate system chosen. Either way, it's a ridiculous number of significant digits of precision.
     
  6. Darkkin
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    Darkkin Reflection of a nobody Contributor

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    You will lose your readers completely if they need to do spherical grid calculations or have to keep checking charts. The numbers, sectors and sub sectors are static, obscuring the storyline. The numbers and terms might sound impressive on Star Trek, but unless you are writing computer code or a calculus text, what is the point? How does it impact the storyline? Stick with known terms. Most series, even those in alternate realities, all seem to have the same measurement for space travel. Try working within those parameters first. Don't over think it. Remember that most people read to escape, not to locate Sub-Sector Q in Sector I with the Universal constant of Phi.

    - Darkkin
     
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  7. Madman
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    Madman Active Member

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    Yeah I doubt readers would enjoy pages and pages of numbers and "fictional facts".
    The main reason I want such details is for the framework and for myself. So I know what what when and where. I'm a bit silly that way. ;)

    When it comes to the book it will be more like "We got orders to move to Sector Argos and patrol the Kardeshian System" "Sector Argos again? Damn I thought I'd be lucky enough to never go back to that place!"
    And then tell a story about sector Argos to make the reader more interested in it and to make sure they remember the sector name and it's background for future reference.
     
  8. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    Stick to simple vectors and coordinates. Take one point, if your character's are human that would be the centre of the sun - you could call it Sol zero, short for 0,0,0 as the centre of the astrogation universe. Run a line from it to the centre of the galaxy, the black hole at the centre of the milky way, and you have your first dimension. Now run two more lines through the centre of the sun or 0,0,0.. One verticle, and one parallel to the flat dimension of the milky way and at ninety degrees to the first line you drew. Now you have a three space axis at which every point in space can be plotted against. I.e. x, y, and z axis. A three dimensional graph.

    So the sun is plotted at 0 light years inwards (towards the centre of the galaxy) 0 light years above the ecliptic and 0 light years to the lateral. An enemy ship might be 4 light years inwards (x), 1 light year below the ecliptic (y) and two light years left or right (z).

    Cheers, Greg.
     

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