The problem reads: "See if you can devise a METHOD (not a numerical answer) of measuring the distance from your physics laboratory to some outside feature (flag-pole, church steeple, etc.) WITHOUT leaving the building. If the object is less than a half-mile distant the job can be done within about 10%, using ONLY a protractor, meter stick, and drawing a vector diagram to scale." I understand vectors and all, and I understand what the question is asking. I've tried working out trig functions on paper (since this is a right triangle in which you can measure the angle from the ground to the top of the "outside feature"), but there are just too many unknown variables to actually come up with an equation or relationship among them. I would much appreciate any suggestions or assistance!