Types of Stick Charts
It was not just the sailors of Micronesia but sailors from one more group of islands known as Marshall Islands also used the earliest stick charts. Though the basic mannerism of the charts was similar with all the groups of sailors, the charts showed a wide difference in style and the amount of details represented. Moreover, charts from different groups had different names. The three main types of stick charts used were
Meddo charts had a characteristic that showed more islands and fewer ocean currents. Mattang charts showed the swells around islands in great details, whereas Rebbilib charts just showed the number of islands with very less details of the ocean currents.
However, the usage of stick charts was done in a different way than that of conventional charts. Unlike conventional charts which are referred as and when needed, the stick charts were memorized before commencing the voyage. The sailors then relying on their memory and retaining power navigated their boats though the oceans.
Though an unusual practice, the stick charts were extensively used till the World War II. Later on, the stick charts were substituted by the highly detailed maps and advanced GPS technology. Thus, stick charts not only started the trend of mapping the oceans but also acted as the germinal seeds for the maps and navigation system that we see today on ships.