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Transfering Military Land Nav Knowledge


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i was wondering if anybody could point me in the right direction . i got out of the army before gps was widely used . we used protractors , compasses and maps to find our grid coordinates . it generally meant using the terrain features and a compass . i would like to use my limited memory and this new technology to get a fix on a map . because i would never go out in the boonies with out my map and compass . i don't trust anything with batteries ! i just want to be able to print topo maps and use my compass and have the gps for a true fix . some of the terms like waypoints and track logs and things like that aren't explained down enough . i've been looking ! i have been saving my pennies and plan on getting a gps , but i don't know what i'll really need or want .

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I am not sure I understand your question, but if it is "how to use a GPS to find your position on a map" I will take a shot at that. The GPS will allow you to set the map datum (WGS84, NAD27, etc.) and location format (lat/lon, UTM, MGRS, etc.) to match the map you are using. If you have the GPS set up right for the map, you just read the position and then plot it on the map.

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I've found all of mine without a GPS. Here are some thoughts.


The main one is to forget plotting coords manually (unless you are really, really looking forward to the act of manually plotting coords). Topozone (linked on each cache page), and Lostoutdoors.com/Map Maker will plot the cache coordinates accurately in WGS-84, which is the standard that geocaching uses. Topozone's advantage is that it's one click from the cache page. Lostoutdoors' advantages are that it offers both topo maps and aerial photos. The map images can by copied and pasted into a document program and then scaled and cropped. And you can plot multiple points onto a Lostoutdoors map, which will let you put several nearby caches on the same map.


A large number of caches are placed in developed areas where the aerial photo will help more than the topo map. As you learn the hobby, you'll be able to tell which product will help in what situations.


Other geocachers might have other map products that they like, but IMO, Lostoutdoors is the best for geocaching, by far.

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Don't feel bad. I never saw a GPS the entrire time I was in the Army and I got out last year! While I love land nav and maps there are advantages and disadvantages to the maps and GPS. GPS will give you an acurate distance to a point and be able to locate that point quickly. Map will tell you that there is a large gully between you and that point. We found that out the hard way when we first started out and the GPS said 1/2 mile and two large ravines and a hill later we finally got to the cache! Walking it was more like 2 or 3 miles. But if you look at the topo maps or arial maps that were mentioned above, that would give you a real idea as to what you are looking at.



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Now if you can make it to CO this summer I could put you thru the Land Navigation Course that I teach to outdoor involved groups.


In the meantime a good source of maps is Nat. Geo. TOPO, where you can use UTMs (first cousins to MGRS) and then you can make your GPS and maps talk to each other. EMail me and I'll send you a bunch of links to land navigation that should be helpful.

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A Garmin Legend might be a good candidate. You can load it with 100K topo maps from GArmin and corss reference your position on a 24K topo map from National Geographic (NG) or with a free printout from Topozone on each cache page also in 24K scale like NG but without the grid lines.

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