General Question

Pandora's avatar

Since scientists say that the planet has shifted on its axis, doesn't it mean that coordinates would be wrong now?

Asked by Pandora (29242points) August 6th, 2015

Self explanatory.

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5 Answers

Strauss's avatar

Coordinates are relative to statutory North, so no.

Pandora's avatar

Well eventually our view of the sunrise and sun set would shift as we continue to tilt. Compasses would point to a north that is no longer truly north.
As it is I wonder if perhaps that is why the gps sometimes shows me driving on the side of the road and will tell me make a U turn when I’m on the road it says I should be on.
At least on my old gps that I purchased 3 years ago. On my phone it doesn’t have that problem and I guess it is because the adjustments have already been made.

stanleybmanly's avatar

The coordinates are fixed on the globe. Once the North Pole is designated as such, it doesn’t matter if you turn the globe upside down. The North Pole remains in exactly the same place.

RocketGuy's avatar

It would take a huge force to shift the axis of the planet. The magnetic axis, however, is much easier to shift. I think it has been shifting around these past few centuries. If it shifts too much, magnetic compasses will not point to geographic North any more. That would be inconvenient.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

@RocketGuy is correct. In navigation, we have what is called Magnetic North and True North. The difference between the two is called Magnetic Declination, or the angle on the horizontal plane (ie the chart) between these two points in relation to the vessel’s geographic position. This angle changes from place to place (due to parallax) and is noted on charts accordingly in the center of each chart’s compass rose in plus or minus degrees. The Declination also changes noticeably in just a few years—the magnetic pole kind of wobbles around—and therefore it is important to have updated charts on board vessels that sail long distances.

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