Map, Compass & GPS

Map, Compass & GPS
Wild flowers along Fall Creek on the way to the Green Lakes - Oregon

Friday, August 15, 2014

UTM Grid - Plotting Your Position On a Map

Recently I was skimming through an article in a respected journal about plotting a hiker's position on a map.  The article focused on using latitude and longitude to plot one's position.  Latitude and longitude has been the standard for backcountry travelers for years.

There is a simpler method that doesn't require a scaling template/tool called UTM Grid.   UTM is intuitive and straight forward.  Use it for a while and the hiker will quickly be able to "eye ball" a position on a map.  It is a natural compliment to a GPS receiver.

I like to keep my navigation simple.

It's a great coordinate system to introduce young folks to as well.

The following is a post that I wrote for Philip Werner at last spring.

Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) is a grid system that describes a person’s location in the backcountry.  It is wonderfully simple to understand and use because:

  1. It is intuitive -  it’s concepts can be understood quickly
  2. It can be easily self-taught
  3. Young hikers grasp this system easily
  4. A location on a map can be quickly determined. 
  5. It is a selection option for Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers
Because of its simplicity, UTM is quickly becoming the principal grid system for hikers, hunters and Search and Rescue (SAR) teams nationally.

To read the rest of the post go here.

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