After reading 'Longitude', a certain thought cross my mind: How exactly did the people of New Eden navigate space before there was Neocom?
And I meant after they start establishing off-world colonies and are beginning to travel to and fro regularly using warp drives and such, not when they simply launch themselves into space. I believe that during the eve of every civilisation's space age, when there isn't an overview, a synchronised star map or Aura telling where they are, they will have to figure out exactly where they are and where they are headed and gauge how far they are from their destination manually.
I suspect that the star navigators of antiquity might pick the brightest stars in the sky as reference for calculations, and use their gyroscopes to tell them which way is up and which way is down to ease up the calculations. However, I am lacking in details. Any clues?