GPS Coordinate Format - What say you?

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Billiebob

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I'm a DMS guy but no doubt computers prefer a decimal system.
And while DMS gave all the accuracy needed with a sextant.
Cruise missiles might want better data.
 

Boarider

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DMS, being a Merchant Mariner I have the priviledge of converting all our Local notice to Mariners before doing chart corrections.
 

titicaca

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Calgary
I am more of an 8-digit-grid kind of guy, the problem is it's so difficult to get topo maps these days and GPS is often useless on the trail.
Good reminder, my topo maps are in NAD83 UTM. I need figure out how to get my OruxMaps App to display 8 digits. It has been a long time since I used the grid on the map - I blame the oversue of GPS/Mapping for the lost art of navigation.
 

titicaca

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854
Calgary
I'm involved with Search and Rescue and we use UTM exclusively. Doesn't work for water or air travel but it's highly accurate for land travel. I teach a land navigation class to our SAR teams every year and this is the cornerstone of that class.
I wonder what receiving coordinates from people in an emergency situation is like. Folks reading out all these digits in different formats, and if, they can figure out how to get the App to display the numbers under stress. I suspect having someone read an 8-digit NAD83 UTM is a rarity these days.
 

4wheelspulling

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With the up and coming G5 Technology, wonder what will be the system by default? With all the available data speeds and linking everyone together that will a difference. Getting easier by the day to pin point any location in the world, and your location relevant to that information, all at the same time. Vance.
 

1Louder

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DD for ease of entry.
Ditto even though that is one D. It's also what apps like Google Maps use. So if someone sends me a pin via Google it is easy to add to Gaia GPS.
 

MidOH

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I think all the programs are DD. When you enter anything else, they convert it to digital so that the program can plot it.
 

Pathfinder I

We use UTM, but the variety of the responses here underscore what I would call a "best practice" -- which is to learn a bunch of 'em. You never know when you need to replace a map on a trip and that map isn't available in your preferred coordinate system, or when you need to communicate with others about where you are or where they are, and you need to translate your preferred coordinate system to some other navigation format.

Technology has made this skill less necessary day to day, but it's a good skill to have in one's brain. Full disclosure, I don't know them all myself but I do take opportunities to practice; when I find a new trail or mapped location, rather than immediately look to my computer for conversion I'll typically try to navigate it using whatever the map/trail/resource is presented in. I'm most comfortable using UTM because it's essentially the metric system (as another poster said) and that makes it easy to figure out distances.

Navigation and maps are a fascinating subject, especially with how relatively easy it is today as compared to only a short time ago. A neat book on the subject is called Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved The Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time by Dave Sobel. It details the importance of inventing a reliable timepiece for navigation. It really is amazing how easy we have it!