Until the 19th century, sailors relied on the stars to navigate across the ocean. John Harrison first solved the problem of longitudinal navigation using a clock that could be synchronised between the sailors location and a specific point on land, usually GMT.

Today, time keeping devices are embedded within global satellite navigation systems in the form of atomic clocks. These devices are integral to the functioning of the positioning system. These timing devices facilitate more than just the mapping software on smartphones. They allow high speed financial transactions to be sent, global logistics to be organised and internet connections to be achieved.