Marck

Altimeter, and simple navigation aids

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Altimeter
I think a means of determining your current elevation would be great for exploration. I would love to know how high I am after climbing a mountain, or how deep I ventured into a massive cave system. The actual unit of measure does not really matter, it can be arbitrary. Maybe call it simply "unit".

Elevation should be in reference to something like a "mean sea level". This "level zero" could be your home base, the actual planet surface (my favorite), or the planet's center (which would give away the size of the planet).

The current elevation could be shown together with the compass that appears when you hover the cursor over your Astroneer. Alternatively, there could be a special beacon that tells you the elevation when put to the ground. Such a beacon could be an additionally researchable blueprint or an upgrade to the existing beacon.

Measuring distances
On a different but related topic, it would be great to have some basic means of measuring distances. In combination with the compass, one could use some rough dead reckoning navigation. This could be a first step before having more advanced technologies like a complete geographical coordinate system.

My suggestion for measuring distances would be to add an odometer to the rover. Maybe add something like the Astroneer's compass to the vehicle, i.e. show the total distance driven when hovering the cursor over a rover. A vehicle is preferable for this, because it can cover greater distances, other than walking around which is always limited by your supply of oxygen.

One could use the maximum link distance between tether poles as a measure of distance but that is too long as a unit and just plain tedius, like measuring the length of the Amazonas with a folding yardstick. What's important is that the unit is sufficiently small to be used for fairly accurate calculations. I'd suggest that something like half the Astroneer's height or the length of a step is appropriate as a unit.

Food for thought
By the way, if we had means for measuring very small units that allowed us to measure the size of shadows, then it would even be possible to calculate the approximate size of a planet with Eratosthenes' method. Wouldn't it be incredible if we could use Astroneer for such geometry and celestial mechanics experiments?

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