Could the Map Be Wrong?

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A layout drawing of the second-generation NAVI.



<< 1. Behind the Success of the CVCC Engine
<< 2. Creating a Progressive Strategy
<< 3. A Gas-rate Gyro Comprising Just Eight Parts
<< 4. Gyrocator Development: A Path Strewn with Difficulties
<< 5. Could the Map Be Wrong?
<< 6. The Final Test: From Suzuka to Tokyo
<< 7. The Challenge of Digitization
<< 8. "A System That Cannot Lie"
<< 9. Analog to Digital: A Three-year Detour Leads to the Goal
 


Some hurdles encountered by the research team had not been expected at all. For example, while the accuracy of the gas-rate gyro had improved and the system could at last be road-tested, one problem cropped up during that process. At the evaluation test, Tagami drove the car carrying Kume and Nobuhiko Kawamoto, then an assistant general manager at the R&D Center. The car had gone over the same route several times, but each time it deviated from the course at the same point. For the longest time they could not understand why. It has long since become a joke, but for a time they seriously considered whether there might be a secret military facility nearby. They even conducted a study with a field-intensity measuring device. However, all their efforts to identify the cause simply failed. Then, after every viable possibility had been considered, the team came to think the map could be wrong.

The company that had sold them the map was contacted. It was then that the team learned about the general inaccuracy of cartographic representations.

For example, on a map of a 1:100,000 scale, a road of 10 meters wide is shown via a line only 0.1 mm thick. However, in an area where many roads run close together, a number of thin lines will necessarily overlap, making the map difficult to read. In such a case the roads are shown by ignoring actual distances to a certain degree. This practice, called "deformation," has long been common in cartography.

It was eventually decided that maps would be created specifically for the experimental system. However, the team was forced to make a detour because of this incident.
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