The stars and the sun have always been a guide and an inspiration to man. Many observations made led to Polaris, one of the most important stars in ancient astronomical calculations and observations. Almost directly above the north celestial pole, it's location was excellent as a reference point, and many navigators in the past made of use of this to design instruments. One important principle they made use of was the fact that the altitude of Polaris above the horizon, when viewed from the northern hemisphere, gave an approximation to the observer's latitude. Another observation was that the two stars comprising the pouring end of the Big Dipper, or pointers, in the constellation Ursa Major, pointed almost directly to the North Star. Indeed, the sun, stars and constellations were the perfect aid to man, considering their regular and predictable apparent motion.

"One day the stars will be as familiar to each man as the landmarks, the curves, and the hills on the road that leads to his door, and one day this will be an airborne life. But by then men will have forgotten how to fly; they will be passengers on machines whose conductors are carefully promoted to a familiarity with labeled buttons, and in whose minds the knowledge the sky and the wind and the way of the weather will be as extraneous as passing fiction."
Beryl Markham, West with the Night

The quote above from refers to the scenario in future, where we live in a world dependent on advanced technology and machines. This will certainly not happen if we each know our bit on celestial navigation.