Using GPS to find ancient landmarks
By bnitz on May 28, 2005
I'd almost forgotten about this site www.megalithomania.com. One of the first times we had visitors here, I loaded up a Garmin emap GPS with waypoints typed in from this site and used it to help us tour some of the sites in county Meath. It almost seemed like cheating. When you're looking for a round tower or dolman in Ireland, you're supposed to get lost a few times, meet some farmers, get sent to a pub, get the key to a gate from a church lady and get lost again while tripping over sheep droppings. This website makes it easy, unless you accidently typed in the coordinates of the sheep droppings (as I once did.) I found this panorama from the Hill of Tara (clever use of Java!) on megalithomania while estimating whether it is possible to see my home from the hill of Tara. A rough estimate of the distance in miles to the horizon is 1.23 X SQRT (height in feet). A motorway is being built only a short distance from Tara. Since the area is full of early Christian and stone age sites, this is causing quite a controversy.
If you use megalithomania, use it with care, chat with the farmers, tread lightly on Ireland (like Saint Columba1.) If you are driving follow the webmaster's advice and watch the road. Since there are no detailed GPS road maps of Ireland, these devices can only tell you the straight line path to your destination. There are very few straight roads here!1According to Irish legend, the 6th-7th century monk named Colmcille (Columba) may have been the first person to encounter an early version of the DMCA. Based on the laws of cattle ownership, "to each cow its calf, to each book its copy", he was punished for transcribing a document. His sentence was exile on a Scottish island which would be known as Iona. He was said to have vowed to never set foot upon Irish soil again. But the same legend claims that he did visit Ireland afterwards by strapping the turf of Iona onto his feet. I have no idea whether this story has more or less basis in fact than St. Columba's miracle of multiplication of beer, but I understand why he might be considered a hero in some circles.