The Astral Map contains temporal, thirty-seven dimensional charts. It can access data from a TARDIS's Scanner, Astrosextant Rectifier, Time/Place Orientation Printout, Absolute Tesseractulator, Time Scanner, Emergency Transceiver, and Information Banks. This data can then presented to the operator.
Star systems are noted in simplified 4 digit coordinate systems (e.g. 0069 for Atrios/Zeos, 4180 for Cyrrenhis Minima, and 4940 for Ribos). More detailed coordinates are needed to actually visit a specific place or time in those systems.
These more detailed Space-Time Coordinates are calculated using advanced N-Dimensional Mathematics and are given relative to Galactic Zero Center (the Center of Mutter's Stellian Spiral). A TARDIS's Galactic Positioning System works using a time signature of Galactic Zero Center. This signature can be fine-tuned if (in addition to the current spatial coordinates) the relative locations of several Landmark Worlds are entered into the programmer. Such worlds include Gallifrey, Dagusa, Caresh, Erekan, Gau-Usu, and Cern. For this reason a TARDIS occasionally materializes in space to "get its bearings." Under such circumstances the journey can be continued by toggling one of the co-ordinator vector switch at the correct time.
Space-Time Coordinates consist of fifteen digits. While it may seem unlikely that a fifteen digit set of coordinates could precisely locate any point in space and time it should be noted the Gallifreyans might not have a base 10 counting system. The first two digits designate the Vector, the second two the Quadrant, the next seven digits represent the exact spatial location, and the last four digits represent the temporal location. These last digits advance steadily as a TARDIS "moves" forward in time. It should be noted that the Directional Unit doesn't do 'BC' and all dates will need to be positive.
Since the Astral Map is mounted on a control table with wheels, the data can be viewed any room in a TARDIS which is equipped with power outlets for the Map's time-space plugs. With long enough time-space links it is even possible to remove the Astral Map from a TARDIS. Data from the Astral Map can also be displayed on the Scanner screen.
Freak surges in the Vortex can create time spikes. While only a minor inconvenience for fully trained Time Lords, inexperienced operators can end up losing their TARDIS's Time Signature when they collide with the time spike. Without out the Signature the TARDIS wouldn't know where Galactic Zero Center is and it would be impossible to plot the rout-map home.
The following color code is used:
- Black: For information from the TV Series, including Dimensions in Time, and 1996 TV Movie.
- Blue: For information from the Novels and Audios including Target, Virgin, BCC, and Big Finish.
- Green: For information from 'licensed' reference sources such as the Technical Manual, Doctor Who Magazine, and the Role Playing Games.
- Red: For information from unofficial sources -The Faction Paradox series, behind the scenes interviews, author's speculation, and popular fan belief.
The TARDIS Technical Index is copyright Will B Swift.