News reports about Flight 370's disappearance have given a sketchy idea of how hourly pings to a satellite have helped build up a picture of where it went.
From a naive intuitive point of view, if all the ping does is tell you the distance from plane to satellite, then it locates the plane on a sphere. Intersecting with the surface of the earth, taken as another sphere, would give you a circle on the earth's surface. So if it were that simple, you'd have a sequence of locating circles.
The altitude of the plane is clearly being neglected in this model. The time spacing of the circles brings up an issue in plausible interpolation. All that said, what is the modelling technique we are being told about, as applied by Inmarsat?
The news stories were talking about "two paths", not a travelling circle quite well. Anyone here know what actually has been going on, as a piece of applied mathematics?
Edit: Edited, given that my first ideas were wrong. To those voting to close, reports speak of research being carried out on the fly.