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  1. #1
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    Question Navigation

    Maybe this is the wrong forum but hear goes. I would like to learn how to use GPS coordinates in coordination with a map in order to navigate long distances accuratly. For instance my small GPS Etrex I have on my boat doesnt have a good memory for long trips, such as a long run up the yukon. What kind of map can I get that will allow me to utilize a grid type system transfering long/lat numbers from my gps to the map. That way if I want to find, say a feeder creek to a lake with no known exact GPS coordinate, I just transfer my coordinates from my GPS to my map and zero in on it. I know itll take a recent and detailed map. I just dont know where to get one or what kind to even ask for. Ive never really been taught land nav.
    Cub, Im trying to get to that lake upstream from where we camped a couple of years ago to put in a bait this spring. Not where we fished last year, the other one. ( double secret OG code )

  2. #2
    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    It sounds like you want to buy a mapping program that will work with your gps. There are several programs available, mapsource, DeLorme, Nat. Geo. All these programs allow you to download waypoints onto a map on the computer, then print it. They also allow you to pick points on a map, on your computer, and then download them into the GPS.
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  3. #3
    New member mtcop71's Avatar
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    Default UTM

    Get a grid map of UTM (universal transmitter mercator)coordinates for the area you want to hunt, easier to use for the novice. and can pon point when encooperating a GPS. here is a good web site to help you.
    http://www.maptools.com/UsingUTM/

    Coop

  4. #4
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    Martentrapper is correct, and I would like to add if you had a USGS map 1:63.360 of the area (This map will give you the highest detail.) you can find the location of your feeder creek. (lon/lat)
    With the GPS you have, you can go to it. Total cost < $5.

  5. #5

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    Old school method. Buy one of the Alaska Gasetter with the Long/Lat Grid. Not all of the pubs have them, but the newer ones do. Use a ruler, up and down and across, to your destination. Plug in that coordinate as a way point in your gps, press go to (that waypoint) and it will guide you right to it. I use paper and electronic methods. A good map program for your computer will do the same deal. Some of the ones I have, will give you the long and lat for any place you put your cursor. Really easy that way. I use Delorme Topo, Nat Geo Topo and Microsoft Streets and Trips. All work about the same way.

  6. #6

    Default UTM

    Learn to use the UTM system and you'll be fine. Unlike the lat/lon grid, the UTM is a true square system, so an E-W tick is the same distance as a N-S tick. Distances calculated are metric, so if you brush up on your basic geometry, you'll be able to quickly figure your distances from your goal. Hey, if it is simple enough to teach to an infantryman (the US Army uses it), even a caveman can do it :-)

    By the bye, all North American topo maps have the UTM grid marks on them - maybe just on the margins of the map, but they're there and usable.
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  7. #7
    Member Rod in Wasilla's Avatar
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    Just for the sake of correctness, UTM is short for Universal Transverse Mercator. Here's a short informational article.
    Quote Originally Posted by northwestalska
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  8. #8

    Default Running Coord.

    Coordinates on your state plane coordinate system are your easting value over your northing value, for example.....if your are at the coordinate value of 5000(e)/6000(n) and you want to go to 6000(e)/7000(n) you would go 1,000 ft east & 1,000 ft north...your direct (as the crow flys) distance and direction can be calculated by the pythagorean theorm (a^2+b^2=c^2). The reason this coordinate system is in use is b/c of the ease of the calculations (everything is done by solving right angle triangles)....There is no need to buy any software in addition to your GPS, it will do everything you need, just learn how to use all of its features & learn how to read a quad map (available at USGS).

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    Talking Can't Use UTM At High Latitudes

    If you use UTM don't go traipsing around above 84 degrees north or 80 degrees south latitude.......that' where the grid ends. Then you're into the Universal Polar Stereographic (UPS) system. That may crimp your polar explorer aspirations!
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  10. #10

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    Seeing as how Barrow is a tad less than 74.5 North, there shouldn't be too much need for UPS in AK :-)
    He fears his fate too much or his desserts are small who fears on just one touch to win or lose it all.

  11. #11
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    Darn, I didnt realize there were so many smart folks here in alaska. You guys are some navigatin MOFO's. I really appretiate all the assistance. Thanks

  12. #12

    Default UTM rocks!

    I agree with everyone about using UTM. I use it all the time elk hunting in Colorado. You can draw out the grid on standard topo maps using the tick marks on the top, bottom and sides of the map. I've used it with the GPS to navigate to lots of places I would have never found using a compass and map.

  13. #13

    Default you guys blow me away

    Jeeze,
    You guys make this tough. Grab a USGS inch to the mile (that's the 1 to 63360 or whatever it is). In the margins of the map you will see lat and long marks. It's show in degrees, minutes (designated as ') and seconds (designated as "). There are sixty minutes in a degree, and sixty seconds in a minute. If you read the notes on the bottom end of the map you will see which datum has been used for the map. It could be NAD 83, or the NAD 27, but whichever one it is your GPS will spit it out. Just set your unit to display the correct datum to match your map.
    Ok, turn on the gps. Read your lat and long. Grab the map. Find out which lat and long tick marks you are between. Then you can scale by eye, or with a scale (get a six inch scale from any office supply supply store, and use the one marked 60), scale off your exact location. Draw the lines across the map, and X marks the spot.
    Believe it or now, that are tens of thousands of survey monuments in this state who's location was protracted in this fashion. If it's good enough for a government survey, it's good enough for me!
    I wonder what we would all do when a person had to find their location by solar or lunar observation?

  14. #14

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    GPS is a naviagtional aid. You still need to know how to do it with a map and compass. GPSs can run out of batteries and then you're left to fend for yourself. If you're wandering around the alaska bush, map and compass skills are not optional. I've been in situations in the fog where some dip**** staring at a GPS screen was 160 degrees off the heading we needed to be going. I had a map, compass and my brain, everyone ended up following me. If I remember correctly the boy scout handbook wasn't bad at orienteering and had other good first aid info. If you can take a class on land navigaion it's worth the money and effort. Every emergency situation you are in can be made better if you can find out where you are. Knowing where you are on the map can make the differnce between death and life. I like GPSs but I don't trust them.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ak Steve View Post
    Jeeze,
    ....Believe it or now, that are tens of thousands of survey monuments in this state who's location was protracted in this fashion. If it's good enough for a government survey, it's good enough for me!
    Yeah, but there's no actual physical monument SET by protraction. It ain't there until some surveyor runs the line and plants one. In some parts of the state the protracted positions are over 200' different from where the monument actually gets set.
    The Marines I have seen around the world have the cleanest bodies, the filthiest minds, the highest morale, and the lowest morals of any group of animals I have ever seen. Thank God for the United States Marine Corps! (Eleanor Roosevelt, 1945)

  16. #16
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    Default ak is right

    protracted locations are not actual physical monuments until a cadastral survey is performed. you can also get spc's on those monuments that appear on quad maps with location names from NOAA on line if you want to use one for navigation. most of these will be in high places since they were used for first-order horizontal control surveys in the past; and visibility between them was critical since there were dozens of miles from one to another.

  17. #17

    Default Cadastral Mons

    Cadastral mons are it, but you're right. Some of the old autosurveyor mons that were set by a gyro in a helicopter weren't that great. By the time I got into it we were just starting to use GPS for control, and then running line. Now a lot of it is pitched in with GPS, and there isn't much surveying left in it. Anyway, I know this becuase I've buried quite a few of those Cadastral Survey monuments myself.
    If you scale the map correctly and you can work the GPS you'd need an RTK setup to know if you weren't in the right location. It'll get you there.

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