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Position Format on Garmin GPSmap 64st


Etherlord Clan
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Posted (edited)

Hi all,

One of my caching colleagues did something to his Garmin GPSmap 64st and now he can't revert it.

Under [Main Menu] > [setup] > [position format], it used to be hddd° mm.mmm' (3dp accuracy) but now it has changed to hddd° mm.mmmm' (4dp accuracy) and this is the only Decimal Minutes option you can choose of this type. Altering the Datums has not given different options and the User Guide from Garmin's website has not revealed any pearls of wisdom :(

 

The GPSr is running the latest firmware version - 6.10 - but I am tempted to try to downgrade it?

 

I located another setting under [Main Menu] > [setup] > [system] > [interface] => [Garmin Spanner] which allows you to choose 2, 3, or 4 digits for "precision of accuracy", however this doesn't resolve the issue. (I assume this only changes the 'interface' settings, not the setup of the GPS)

 

Has anyone else had this issue? or any thoughts on how to change it back?

20210514_151653.jpg

Edited by Etherlord Clan
additional troubleshooting info
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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Etherlord Clan said:

Has anyone else had this issue? or any thoughts on how to change it back?

 

Everyone else has this issue.  That is, Garmin's newest software format has four decimal places in the minutes.  For consistency across any device, I guess.  That fourth decimal place is a fact of location, even if a commercial handheld GPS is not precise enough to use it.  As it applies to Geocaching, I'd expect it will cause confusion.

 

 

Edited by kunarion
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6 minutes ago, kunarion said:

 

Everyone else has this issue.  That is, Garmin's newest software format has four decimal places in the minutes.  For consistency across any device, maybe.  That fourth decimal place is a fact of location, even if a commercial handheld GPS is not that precise.  For Geocaching, I'd expect it to cause confusion.

Thank you for your reply.

 

My confusion comes from the fact that Garmin's FAQ still gives 3dp :(

https://support.garmin.com/en-US/?faq=lvWzTYlPsx6BvUDTyKfqC8

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8 hours ago, Atlas Cached said:

It still amazes me that so many are bothered so deeply by this when it is so easy to simply ignore or drop the 4th decimal when not needed.

 

As I've said before, it makes the process more error-prone when reading coordinates off the device to enter onto a cache page, which is multiplied up when the cache is a multi with half a dozen or more waypoints. In this example that I've previously given, I could easily imagine transcribing the decimal minutes as 276 and 144, especially if I was tired or rushed or not paying close enough attention.

 

FourDecimalPlaces.jpg.ca120957ce90ca26215259b017b2e2fd.jpg

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

 

As I've said before, it makes the process more error-prone when reading coordinates off the device to enter onto a cache page, which is multiplied up when the cache is a multi with half a dozen or more waypoints. In this example that I've previously given, I could easily imagine transcribing the decimal minutes as 276 and 144, especially if I was tired or rushed or not paying close enough attention.

 

FourDecimalPlaces.jpg.ca120957ce90ca26215259b017b2e2fd.jpg

 

+1

 

It also creates a complication for puzzle caches that were written with the three decimal places in mind.  Fingers crossed that some future software update will honor the decimal places setting.  Don't get me wrong, the extra precision is cool, but also, the device is incapable of handling that precision.

 

If Geocaching.com added decimal places to cache coords, even just in The App, there would be mass protests.  Good thing nobody but me thinks there's any funny business going on with "Tracking Code" length lately.  B)

 

Edited by kunarion
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28 minutes ago, kunarion said:

Don't get me wrong, the extra precision is cool, but also, the device is incapable of handling that precision.

 

I must be getting old because having an extra digit to deal with when that digit doesn't convey any actual information isn't cool, it's just unneccesary clutter. What's the point of having a resolution to 180mm when the location accuracy is plus or minus 3 metres under ideal conditions? Okay, maybe the Galileo satellites are capable of better accuracy, for those devices that support them, but is that going to be of any real benefit in geocaching, or any other application for a consumer-grade handheld GPSr? Does a fisherman need to know the location of their favourite fishing spot to that accuracy? Or a cyclist their route? It seems very much like a solution looking for a problem, or simply a marketing ploy to sell the latest models (hey look, it's ten times more accurate than the old one!).

 

For me, part of the fun is not having my GPSr tell me exactly which rock the cache is hidden under and having to actually search and use my geosenses at GZ. Take that away with centimetre precision coordinates and devices and the game loses something, I'm sure.

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Posted (edited)
33 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

 

I must be getting old because having an extra digit to deal with when that digit doesn't convey any actual information isn't cool, it's just unneccesary clutter. What's the point of having a resolution to 180mm when the location accuracy is plus or minus 3 metres under ideal conditions? Okay, maybe the Galileo satellites are capable of better accuracy, for those devices that support them, but is that going to be of any real benefit in geocaching, or any other application for a consumer-grade handheld GPSr? Does a fisherman need to know the location of their favourite fishing spot to that accuracy? Or a cyclist their route? It seems very much like a solution looking for a problem, or simply a marketing ploy to sell the latest models (hey look, it's ten times more accurate than the old one!).

 

For me, part of the fun is not having my GPSr tell me exactly which rock the cache is hidden under and having to actually search and use my geosenses at GZ. Take that away with centimetre precision coordinates and devices and the game loses something, I'm sure.

 

 

Don't worry, you won't be directed to the exact rock while Geocaching.  You may get a lot of logs about "I was at .0000 and the cache isn't there, try .0001 instead!", but you don't know which device they used, they don't know yours, and neither of you are working under "ideal conditions".

 

But whether or not the 4th decimal place is calculated exactly, or even displayed, those coordinates do define a point, an exact spot on Earth.  It looks like Garmin is preparing for instruments that are that accurate, and they will point to a spot, at least in some cases exactly where the container is.  But a cache placed by phone App that has 3 decimal places will lead to a 4-decimal-place point rounded to 3 decimal places.  If you have a fancier Garmin, you will need Geosenses because it will consistently lead you away from the actual spot... doesn't that sound fun? B)

 

The issue with Geocaching is not that there's too much boring precision.  It's that the coordinate format on the site doesn't match the format on the device.  For now, the device works the same as always, but there's an extra decimal.  As you mention, now there are too many zeroes on the screen.  This will continue to come up until there's a way to have the same number of decimal places on the device as we see on the site.  No, it's not useful as it applies to Gecaching.  Yet accuracy to 4 decimal places is in fact useful when defining a location.  Garmin devices can do more than Geocaching.

 

 

Edited by kunarion
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56 minutes ago, kunarion said:

Garmin devices can do more than Geocaching.

 

Yes, they can, but how many of those other uses for a recreational handheld device require accuracy to four decimal places in the minutes? I'm struggling to think of any. Sure, in professional applications like surveying or autonomous cars they probably do, but they're unlikely to be using a GPSmap64 or an Oregon 700.

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4 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

As I've said before, it makes the process more error-prone when reading coordinates off the device to enter onto a cache page, especially if I was tired or rushed or not paying close enough attention.

 

Sounds like operator error to me. Why are you rushing it anyway? Where's the fun in that?

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, Atlas Cached said:

 

Awe, that's cute, geocachers thinking GPSr are made solely for geocaching....

 

Now where did I say that??? How about quoting my complete sentence which was "but is that going to be of any real benefit in geocaching, or any other application for a consumer-grade handheld GPSr?"

 

Tell me one, just one, application for a recreational handheld device that will be a much better experience from having the extra decimal place. Hiking? Fishing? Cycling? Kayaking? Jogging? Do any of these ever look at the actual coordinates anyway? I'd think most of the time they're just marking a point or a line on a map and that won't change regardless of the display format for the coordinates.

Edited by barefootjeff
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Posted (edited)
56 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

 

Yes, they can, but how many of those other uses for a recreational handheld device require accuracy to four decimal places in the minutes? I'm struggling to think of any. Sure, in professional applications like surveying or autonomous cars they probably do, but they're unlikely to be using a GPSmap64 or an Oregon 700.

 

That's what I was thinking... it's so the device can benefit from those other applications, or even from newer higher-end Garmins.  Someone will have that fourth decimal place for a very precise position, and now they can enter it into the Garmin, which can do calculations out to 4 decimal places, even if it's own limitations can't direct you to that specific 180mm area.

 

That doesn't mean we need to use that decimal place.  It's not a "Geocaching" decimal place.  Garmin has a lot of features I never use for Geocaching.  The question I'd ask is why we can't select what it will show in this instance.  

 

OK, another question is, "What exactly is Garmin thinking?!"  They kind of dumped this on us by surprise.

 

 

Edited by kunarion
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Posted (edited)

Are you serious ? Confused ? This is basic arithmetic any ten year old  masters, decimals, rounding etc... !

Now I understand why there are still people stuck with miles, inches who can't read maps understand scales etc....

Anyway, this Garmin GPS accuracy remains the same. Won't make Geocaching easier !

 

Don't question Garmin please ! Question yourself !

 

 

Edited by Suscrofa
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I own a Delorme PN60. They always had 4 decimal places on location. Garmin bought Delorme and it looks like they are now incorporating some of their good stuff. 

My unit is good to plus, minus 6 feet. I also have a Garmin 64st I guess I need to update that now. One thing that I wish Garmin would incorporate is the ability to delete 

waypoints or geocaches from the unit without connecting to a computer. Delorme has that ability, it helps to declutter the GPS.

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1 hour ago, Mn-treker said:

I own a Delorme PN60. They always had 4 decimal places on location. Garmin bought Delorme and it looks like they are now incorporating some of their good stuff. 

My unit is good to plus, minus 6 feet.

 

Three digits in the decimal minutes is sufficient to show plus or minus 6 feet. The fouth digit is meaningless clutter that doesn't make it any more accurate,

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2 hours ago, Mn-treker said:

I own a Delorme PN60. They always had 4 decimal places on location. Garmin bought Delorme and it looks like they are now incorporating some of their good stuff. 

My unit is good to plus, minus 6 feet. I also have a Garmin 64st I guess I need to update that now. One thing that I wish Garmin would incorporate is the ability to delete 

waypoints or geocaches from the unit without connecting to a computer. Delorme has that ability, it helps to declutter the GPS.

 

It makes sense if they're just making everything standard.  I can't imagine there couldn't be a "geocaching format" option that looks just like what you see on a cache page.  But what do I know.

 

Anyway, you can delete Geocaches that the Garmin loaded "Live".  Not waypoints nor USB-loaded cache files.

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36 minutes ago, kunarion said:

Anyway, you can delete Geocaches that the Garmin loaded "Live".  Not waypoints nor USB-loaded cache files

 

To add a little here, on most newer GCLive enabled Garmin GPSr, manually loaded geocache GPX and GGZ files can be filtered 'On' or 'Off' from within the Geocaching 'Filters' page.

 

Also, waypoints can similarly be filtered 'On' or 'Off' directly on the device when loaded in 'Collections' via Garmin Explore.

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Very true, the fourth digit does not make it more accurate. I was just pointing out that Garmin seems to be incorporating stuff from those companies they acquire. Which is normal for any company. Garmin bought Delorme specifically to get their hands on the In Reach. They changed that a bit to suit them and dumped the PN models.

But I really do like the things my PN unit has. Like multiple geocache files and waypoint files. Also the ability to delete any waypoint or geocache from any file without connecting to a computer. Also I was able to install maps with aerial photo overlay to my PN60. I don't think that I can do that with my Garmin GPSmap64st. I have used both units, but the PN60 more than the 64st. 

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13 minutes ago, Mn-treker said:

But I really do like the things my PN unit has. Like multiple geocache files and waypoint files.

 

Garmin has that.

 

13 minutes ago, Mn-treker said:

Also the ability to delete any waypoint or geocache from any file without connecting to a computer.

 

The same can be accomplished on modern Garmin devices. See my post above.

 

14 minutes ago, Mn-treker said:

Also I was able to install maps with aerial photo overlay to my PN60. I don't think that I can do that with my Garmin GPSmap64st.

 

Sure you can, via Garmin BirdsEye. See GPSrChive > How To... > Maps for detailed instructions.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Atlas Cached said:

 

For all the geocachers that are having difficulty coping with the additional digits, I offer you this solution!

 

36445319_GarminGPSrGeocacheDigitsFixed600x.thumb.png.23d99b96a508e079658e147d90d21927.png

 

Is that tape?!  I already have lots of tape on my PC screen after changes to the Geocaching.com web site. Simply tape it up!  This is also Garmin's new policy, fully integrated Geocaching except that the coordinates aren't what we are see on a cache page, and are different than many puzzles (like, "Add 52 to the numbers" now means "tape the last digit, add 52 to the next digits over").  It will mess up previously simple elegant puzzles, with the tape being how to see the standard format.  Never mind all the Apps, utilities, books, PDF files, and web sites that must change for a decimal place that adds complexity we never asked for and now ignore.  Beware that when viewing a cache description on the device, the tape must repositioned.

 

 

Edited by kunarion
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Right from day one of Delorme PN units they all had 4 decimal places. My first was a PN20 It was quite accurate. It even showed me the earths crust move after the Earthquake

That sent a tidal wave to Japan. When I saw that I hit Google to find out if I was seeing things. Geologists said the crust shifted from 30 to 50 feet. People who I know that work for Minnesota and have GPS in their car asked me why it was showing them suddenly driving way off the road. Once they heard my story they they understood. It took about a month for the Satellites to reconfigure for the new shift. For now all is well. Why the 4 decimal place? Who knows. I am a machinist in my job I make parts with tolerance of +/- .0002. That is no typo, yes that looks almost perfect. In our profession decimal that far out is greater accuracy. So who knows maybe that was their same thought when it was done. But either way Just drop the fourth or round it, It hurts nothing.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Mn-treker said:

But either way Just drop the fourth or round it, It hurts nothing.


But the Delorme PN had the same accuracy as today’s most capable handhelds.  There’s no way to locate a spot with accuracy beyond the third decimal.  So it’s only a gimmick, a company added feature that nobody uses, that adds no value, no new capability, like selling an amplifier that “Goes Up To 11”.  


Instead of a bug fix or new function, we get something that everyone ignores, and if someone asks why it’s even there, the answer is “just ignore it”.  Tell me any other feature on a Garmin GPS that has no purpose, “just ignore it”... go ahead, I’ll wait.  B)
 

Someday there may be a GPS powerful enough to just drop that 4th decimal automatically.  That will be sweet!

 

Edited by kunarion
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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Mn-treker said:

So lets see here. Groundspeak uses 3 decimal format. Our GPS uses 4 decimal format. So what is wrong with the statement to just ignore the 4th or round it?

That makes things much simpler.

 

 

When I bought my Oregon 700 in 2018 it showed DDM format rounded to three decimal places, so copying coordinates from it into a new cache page was just that, copying digit for digit. Now there's an extra step to mentally round from DDD MM.mmmm to DDD MM.mmm, taking into account any carries into the whole minutes or even, in rare cases, into the degrees. Yes I know it's not difficult but it's still an extra step and an extra point at which errors can be introduced. Even before this change, I occasionally came across caches where the CO had inadvertently transposed digits in their coordinates and this extra step significantly increases the chance of that sort of thing happening.

 

In that screen shot I posted earlier, where the decimal digits were .0276 and .0144, it's an error waiting to happen since my mind is trained to ignore leading zeros most of the time and at first glance the three-digit numbers I see are 276 and 144. I have to stop and think and make sure I round and truncate those to .028 and .014. I didn't used to have to do that, the device did that for me from whatever internal representation it uses.

 

This would be okay if there was actually a benefit from having the extra digit but there isn't, at least not on the Oregon 700 or any other GPSr that doesn't support the Galileo satellites. That extra digit doesn't increase the accuracy or provide any other useful information because the underlying GPS satellite technology can't provide any more than three decimal digits of accuracy even under ideal conditions. Even with those units that do support Galileo, the extra digit still isn't of any benefit for geocaching since the coordinates on the website are only shown to three decimal places, and you still have to mentally round and truncate to transfer from the device to the site.

 

The simplest solution would be for Garmin to provide an extra option in the list of display formats for DDD MM.mmm. There are already 43 options in the Position Format settings so surely adding another one can't be that difficult. While geocaching isn't the only application for their recreational handheld devices, it must still be a significant part of their market and is likely to be the only application where users are actually wanting to enter and extract coordinates in DDM format. Hikers and orienteerers, in this part of the world at least, generally use UTM because that's what the printed maps use, while most other applications likely use decimal degrees or DMS, or just want to see a point or a line on a map without any reference at all to the actual coordinates.

Edited by barefootjeff
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3 hours ago, Mn-treker said:

So lets see here. Groundspeak uses 3 decimal format. Our GPS uses 4 decimal format. So what is wrong with the statement to just ignore the 4th or round it?

That makes things much simpler.

 


What’s wrong is the extra digit that we’re told to just ignore.  Working around an extra digit is the opposite of making things simpler.


And what barefootjeff said. :anicute:
 

There should be a setting for the standard Geocaching decimal format.  Or Geocaching.com needs to also switch to a 4th decimal format. But while it remains pointless to do that, Garmin should provide options.  We can’t just ignore it.

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puzzles shouldn't break because you're not asking users to solve for coordinates using their GPS *in the field.* You have to enter coordinates for the final in the DD MM.MMM format on the website, and so those coordinates are what your puzzle is going to revolve around.

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5 minutes ago, Mineral2 said:

puzzles shouldn't break because you're not asking users to solve for coordinates using their GPS *in the field.* You have to enter coordinates for the final in the DD MM.MMM format on the website, and so those coordinates are what your puzzle is going to revolve around.

 

The suggestion was to change the website to use four decimal digits for coordinate display and entry, but there are lots of puzzles that rely on extracting 15 digits from something, or a pair of 7 and 8 digit numbers, or even require manipulating the digits in the posted coordinates in some way. Then there are the third party checkers that expect 3 decimal digits and will give an incorrect response if the rounding/truncation isn't done the way the CO expected it. Sure, most could be worked around with a bit of thought and trial and error, but boy, if that were to happen I'd likely archive all my puzzles rather than have to field all the messages from those who got confused.

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34 minutes ago, Mineral2 said:

puzzles shouldn't break because you're not asking users to solve for coordinates using their GPS *in the field.* You have to enter coordinates for the final in the DD MM.MMM format on the website, and so those coordinates are what your puzzle is going to revolve around.

 

That depends on whether or not you're asking users to solve for coordinates using their GPS in the field.  If I have a waypoint on my GPSr where the first set of coords ends in .2340 and the puzzle asks me to "add 52 to that", now I'm at .2392, and I go navigate to a point that's off by a large distance. 

 

If instead Groundspeak changes to four decimal places so it matches the GPSr because that's the way things are done now, many puzzles will break.  Especially puzzles that are simple and unique, when the whole mystery of the puzzle is ruined when we explain the new decimal places.

 

I'm not saying never change anything.  I am saying don't change things just to change things.  When the most compelling reason for the change is "just ignore it", that's a problem.

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So now we are arguing about hypotheticals that are not going to happen.

 

First world problems, much?

 

And those pretending that simply dropping or ignoring the final digit requires some advanced algebraic math calculation performed with a slide rule and cray computer are just being silly, and purposely making thier lives much more difficult than necessary. If you can not simply ignore an extra digit, this hobby may not be best suited for you.

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39 minutes ago, Atlas Cached said:

And those pretending that simply dropping or ignoring the final digit requires some advanced algebraic math calculation performed with a slide rule and cray computer are just being silly, and purposely making thier lives much more difficult than necessary. If you can not simply ignore an extra digit, this hobby may not be best suited for you.

 

Who is saying that? Good grief, all I'm saying is it's added an extra step, and hence another potential source of mistakes, that wasn't previously there, and it's been done for absolutely no benefit at all. We can't use the extra digit for either finding or hiding caches, and no-one has been able to come up with any other applications of recreational handheld devices that are benefiting from the extra digit in DDM format. I ask again, does any class of users other than cachers even use DDM format?

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11 hours ago, kunarion said:

 

That depends on whether or not you're asking users to solve for coordinates using their GPS in the field.  If I have a waypoint on my GPSr where the first set of coords ends in .2340 and the puzzle asks me to "add 52 to that", now I'm at .2392, and I go navigate to a point that's off by a large distance. 

 

.....

.2340 + 52 = 52.2340 ! Indeed a LARGE DISTANCE ! 

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10 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

 

Who is saying that? Good grief, all I'm saying is it's added an extra step, and hence another potential source of mistakes, that wasn't previously there, and it's been done for absolutely no benefit at all. We can't use the extra digit for either finding or hiding caches, and no-one has been able to come up with any other applications of recreational handheld devices that are benefiting from the extra digit in DDM format. I ask again, does any class of users other than cachers even use DDM format?

14 years ago I asked why not use Decimal degree instead. Easier and in fact it is the way it is stored, computed ... Was too late already.

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Posted (edited)
23 hours ago, Suscrofa said:

.2340 + 52 = 52.2340 ! Indeed a LARGE DISTANCE ! 

 

Sure, but the cache puzzles tend to have you add or subtract "numbers" in the decimal portion without presenting the numbers as decimal.  It's very common to see that, and it can make an elegant puzzle without requiring a lot of explanation, working with 6 digits, 3 decimal places each for lat/lon.  Sometimes it's the only tricky part of the puzzle... do you add the whole number "52" or are you adding ".052".  If I add a number to the whole number portion or to the minutes portion and the result is in the middle of the ocean or something, then you know it's added as a decimal.

 

Edited by kunarion
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23 hours ago, kunarion said:

 

Sure, but the cache puzzles tend to have you add or subtract "numbers" in the decimal portion without presenting the numbers as decimal.  It's very common to see that, and it can make an elegant puzzle without requiring a lot of explanation, working with 6 digits, 3 decimal places each for lat/lon.  Sometimes it's the only tricky part of the puzzle... do you add the whole number "52" or are you adding ".052".  If I add a number to the whole number portion or to the minutes portion and the result is in the middle of the ocean or something, then you know it's added as a decimal.

 

 

In fact you give a lot of explanation ! How about making it SIMPLE and just have people do a normal addition ? In that case, you wouldn't have to change anything in your description because of this extra decimal place added by Garmin.

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