# Who Prefers UTM?

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I love UTM, and hate LAT/LONG for any type of use. I guess it is just my years of using MGRS, but I love MGRS and UTM because you can look at the coordinates and get an idea of the real distance between them, since every digit means so many meters.

Am I the only one who finds UTM much, much easier to use?

Edited by Clyde1140

Only for solving certain puzzle caches.

UTM= Underwater Topiary Museum?

In which case, I've never needed one.

jarja grl=technologically challenged.

Edited by jarja_grl

i prefer to use utm/mgrs when navigating with a map. for caching really doesn't matter. -harry

I've been using UTM for purely pragmatic reasons. My Blazer 12 is one digit shy of a precise waypoint in Lat/Lon . UTM gets me closer, but it's tricky for puzzle caches, switching back and forth in the field. Fortunately, a new Meridian Gold is on the way, so I doubt if I'll be using UTM (or the good old Blazer) as often in the future.

As an ex-USAf pilot. I'm very used to thinking in Nautical miles (6000 feet). As some of you may know, a minute of latitude was originally defined as a nautical mile. (OK - for purists - now it's defined a few feet more, and varies slightly from equator to poles). That makes it easy (in decimal minutes) to figure: 0.1' = 600 ft. 0.01' = 60 ft. 0.001' = 6 ft.

Longitude: Well, if you are on the equator, it's about the same as latitude (1 minute = about 6000 ft). Most of us are not. There are many Tables available, but where I am (about 33 degrees North), I know it is about 5100 ft.

For most "rough eyeball estimates" I just figure 1.0' = 6000 ft. I guess it all comes down to what you are used to. Personally, even though I'm an engineer, and work with Europeans everyday, and know the conversions, when I'm out in the field (or mountain side, or whatever), I just don't think / estimate in meters. I've tried. It's just conditioning, I guess.

What does UTM stand for anyway. Hmmm Ultra Tight....nah not going there!!, I'll get warned.

I use UTM because there are UTM hash marks on the USGS 7.5 min quads and my compass has a 1:24,000 markings on the baseplate so I can locate a position off the map in the field to 10 meters ( and can usually eyeball it to within 100 ).

Also I tend to think in cartesian coordinates where the first number given is the horizontal component which increases going to the right (x coordinate) and the second number is the vertical component which increases going up (y axis). UTM is like this with the Easting given 1st and then the Northing. Just like math. Lat/Lon on the other hand gives the vertical component first (Lat) increasing as you go up the page (Northern hemisphere only) and the horizontal component (Lon) increasing as you go left on the page in the western hemisphere. Confusing to my brain.

And I like the constant relationship of 1 unit is always 1 meter, don't have to multiply by the cosine of the latitude.

That being said, I also will use lat lon on occasion, like when using nautical charts.

Each has its advantages, I wouldn't say one is better than the other, just use what makes sense to you.

The Lat/Lon vs UTM discussions always remind me of the RPN vs. algebraic argument about HP calculators vs. TI. (RPN is best by the way)

Or to get way off topic, the Ginger vs. Mary Ann debate. (I'm a Mary Ann man from way back. Although Mrs. Howell lookes better and better as I get older.)

I have to study up.

In my country all normally available topographic maps are printed with the so called 'Rijksdriehoeksmeting' grid as primal grid. (mapcorners nowadays contain WGS84 lat/lon coordinates)

It is a metric square grid and all official positions are done in this grid. Surveyers use it always for their job and benchmarks are also primairy in our grid.

When I see the numbers on my GPS12 display I have feeling of where I am in meters. And with the paper topo-maps at hand no problem finding the place I am on the map.

I have started to use UTM more and more. It is my fathers prefered method and I am finding it much siompler than Lat/Long.

What does UTM stand for anyway. Hmmm Ultra Tight....nah not going there!!, I'll get warned.

Universal Transverse Mercator - just in case you were serious.

Admits he is unwise in the ways of the nefarious UTM!

Anyone have a quick refresher??

Try this site for a basic explanation of how it works and this site for a visual representation of the grid zones.

I typically use UTM at work with Trimble units and Lat/Long for caching (and I don't have a clue why ) probably just a habit I got into.

Try this site for a basic explanation of how it works and this site for a visual representation of the grid zones.

Thanks, will do!

Admits he is unwise in the ways of the nefarious UTM!

Anyone have a quick refresher??

UTM is fine for using legacy maps, but it bothers me that north doesn't point north and east doesn't point east. I find lat/lon much easier to use because the Earth is a sphere, not a plane.

for those of us who learned UTM from Uncle Sam it's hard to forget...

As I have not learned UTM, is there error in conversion of Lat/Long into UTM on the cache pages?

I wonder if using UTM might be better for me as the caches placed by Etrex users seem to be a little off on both of my Magellan's. I used to think it was just my old 2 digit 300, but even with my Meridian, its still off. Maybe UTM would get some of this error under control?

I use it all the time - less numbers to enter

I haved use Lat. and Long. along with a map and compass for many years. Never got lost and never had a problem figuring out where I was or where I wanted to go.

I have had many people offer to tell me where I should go, though!

John

As another US Army retiree, I worked with UTM in the artillery all of the time. Like was mentioned earlier, I too find it easier to use when I have a paper map. Although I now have a Vista, I don't have a Mapsource topo data yet, so I still rely on paper maps. As for distortion, when using UTM, there is an associated speriod that is used to flatten the small portion of the earths surface sor that the grids do not distort the locations. The closer one is to the center of the Grid Zone (for instance 14S is in Oklahoma), the less the distortion. Even out on the fringes, I have not found it to be a problem.

I love UTM and HATE!!!! everything else!!! UTM is so much easiser. Its measured in meters, and because I have an older GPS that only has .01mile increments I just look at the coords themselfs and pace count the distance. I'm an orienteer so pace counting is natural to me. Also when I draft orienteering maps that only contain 1 or 2 position regester marks UTM you can just measure using the OCAD(mapping software) grids. 1:15000scale means 1milimeter=15meters. That might also be part of the reason I like UTM so much. If the cache pages didn't have the UTM coords on them I probably wouldn't cache. It would be nice if the benchmark pages where updated to match the cache pages (deg min-decimal with UTM underneath).

Does anyone use the Lat-long to UTM conversion available on the cache pages and if so, do you notice any problems finding the caches?

I always enter the UTM coordinates found right underneath the Lat/Lon on the cache page.

Sometimes they are 1 meter off from what my GPS calculates if I had entered Lat/Lon then switched to UTM, but that is well within the accuracy of the GPS anyway so I don't worry about it.

So if my 7 year old niece is using my old Magellan 310, would I be better off switching to UTM when caching with her so she could get accurate readings instead of the limited Lat/Long she now gets?

I use UTM. It makes more sense to navigate with linear dimensions than angular lines.

UTM/MGRS rules. That is all.

Would someone care to fill us in to whether or not we could use UTM with our Rino? And if so.... how would we go about entering it in?

Just FYI also...... you will be sharing info with basically newbie geocachers (hubby is prior military but he says our Rino is nothing like the military GPSs).

Thanks!

I am a self-professed UTM convert, and now a UTM snob. I like being able to compare real distances, as UTM is in metres. The d/m/s thing on Lat/Long doesn't do it for me, and the less I have to figure out the better. I found, however, that when we were in the US a few months ago, that local cachers did things exclusively in Lat/Long. That's OK, and it's good that metres and yards are fairly close together in distance, so I can convert from metric to Imperial, and sound like I belong! I also like that CacheMate on my Palm converts Lat/Long into UTM, so I have them both on the same screen. VERY ! Anyway, that's where I stand!

PS for ICQLOVE: I have a Rino 120, and you can have it in whatever format you choose! On the Setup screen, choose Units, and then just change your Position Format to whatever you like! Hope that helps-good luck!

Edited by cacherunner

Thanks Cacherunner....

I did find the area of set up you described and changed it.... but it didn't appear to me that I could enter the #'s as they were listed on a cache page like I needed to. (Changed it to the UTM UPS Position format--is that the correct one?)

Hi!

Yes, you got the right one. Where do you enter the co-ords from? I use the Mark feature, and you should be able to enter the UTM as it appears on the cache page. The UTM co-rds are right under the Lat/Long ones. The UTM on the cache pages have the E and N before the co-ords, but on the GPS, it's not necessary to enter them. Also, for the Easting number, the 0 is implied on the cache page, but the GPS requires you to enter it. Provided you're caching in your home area, and not too far out of your UTM zone, you can just arrow past the zone (in my case 10 U) and enter the numbers. Hope this helps!

One of mine

Email me through the site, if you have any further questions, and I'll do what I can!

Edited by cacherunner
I use UTM.  It makes more sense to navigate with linear dimensions than angular lines.

At least, it would if the world were flat.

Thanks so much again cacherunner.... next geocache I go on I'll try both UTM and the WGS84 and see which one I like best:). And if I do have trouble:D you'll get an email from me:) hehehee... danke!

Yes, you got the right one. Where do you enter the co-ords from? I use the Mark feature, and you should be able to enter the UTM as it appears on the cache page. The UTM co-rds are right under the Lat/Long ones. The UTM on the cache pages have the E and N before the co-ords, but on the GPS, it's not necessary to enter them. Also, for the Easting number, the 0 is implied on the cache page, but the GPS requires you to enter it. Provided you're caching in your home area, and not too far out of your UTM zone, you can just arrow past the zone (in my case 10 U) and enter the numbers. Hope this helps!

Email me through the site, if you have any further questions, and I'll do what I can!

PS: We do use the Mark feature to enter the coordinates:)

I am a self-professed UTM convert, and now a UTM snob. I like being able to compare real distances, as UTM is in metres. The d/m/s thing on Lat/Long doesn't do it for me, and the less I have to figure out the better.  I found, however, that when we were in the US a few months ago, that local cachers did things exclusively in Lat/Long. That's OK, and it's good that metres and yards are fairly close together in distance, so I can convert from metric to Imperial, and sound like I belong! I also like that CacheMate on my Palm converts Lat/Long into UTM, so I have them both on the same screen. VERY  ! Anyway, that's where I stand!

PS for ICQLOVE: I have a Rino 120, and you can have it in whatever format you choose! On the Setup screen, choose Units, and then just change your Position Format to whatever you like! Hope that helps-good luck!

What she said. I do what she tells me.

It's all just funny numbers to me. I ain't good with them gazintas.

Oh, and ICQLOVE, don't thank her too much. You should see WHAT she makes me do. Then there's that goofy pet Rhinoceros she just HAD to have....and guess who has to change the Rhino litter? All this for UTM.

Thanks so much again cacherunner.... next geocache I go on I'll try both UTM and the WGS84 and see which one I like best:). And if I do have trouble:D you'll get an email from me:) hehehee... danke!

No problem! It is my pleasure! I wish there had been this much help and info when I was starting out.

Just for the record, WGS84 is just how a map is calibrated. Probably the most 2 widely used formats are Lat/Long and UTM. Have fun!

I use UTM.  It makes more sense to navigate with linear dimensions than angular lines.

At least, it would if the world were flat.

Have you ever calculated the arc that you travel in a day?

I use UTM.  It makes more sense to navigate with linear dimensions than angular lines.

At least, it would if the world were flat.

Have you ever calculated the arc that you travel in a day?

Yes, as a matter of fact, I have.

Actually, I have a puzzle cache out there that, if done using UTM, gives final coordinates off by about 100 yards. That's because UTM is great for distances, but not so great for angles.

That brings up another question.

What is up with the puzzle caches? I remember when geocaching took me to interesting places in interesting locations. Now it seems everyother cache is a puzzle in a parking lot.

I have a puzzle book in my bathroom for those times I need to concentrate.

That brings up another question.

What is up with the puzzle caches? I remember when geocaching took me to interesting places in interesting locations. Now it seems everyother cache is a puzzle in a parking lot.

I have a puzzle book in my bathroom for those times I need to concentrate.

Don't want to get too far off topic, so I will say that I set my GPSr to UTM last night and will try it out on New Year's.

To your comment, all I can say is AMEN! Can I get a testimony! Puzzle caches were often way over the top when they came out, bouncing people all over 100's of acres to find a tupperware full of McToys. The new ones have swung dangerously in the opposite direction, now rarely leaving the park.

If these cachers want a puzzle, how about the coords to a parking lot where they can figure out the location of the cache via a landmark visible from their car if pointed in the right direction. Keeps it short for kids and keeps it interesting for the puzzle fans.

At least, it would if the world were flat.

That's why I always take a globe with me when I hike, because paper maps are flat and therefore useless.

Specialization is for insects

I don't fully subscribe to the above statement, but there is value in being competent and comfortable in more than one method of doing anything.

This cache is a case in point. There are several puzzles to solve but all the action takes place in a beautiful city park so solohiker has no excuse on that score (geography might be another matter). The cacher will have to manipulate coordinates in both UTM and WGS84, so the snobs on either side will have to swallow their pride. And at the end - No McToys, just a log to sign; Deal with it.

Let's see now - anyone I haven't offended, who feels left out?

-Nellie

P.S. RPN rules, has always ruled, and shall always rule.

P.P.S. All you Puget Puzzlers that haven't found GCGE6V yet; Hurry. There may be another one coming soon and you don't want to get behind.

The British use the Transverse Mercator projection (origin N49, W2, False E 400000, False N -100000, Scale Factor 0.9996012717). Ergo, the "Rest of the World" should use the Universal Transverse Mercator projection. Except for the Swiss...

Edited by bexybear

UTM would be my first choice but I understand both. Using UTM I have found it easier to project a waypoint.

The simple fact that UTM describes distances in METERS makes it more useful in my way of thinking. With UTM coords I know how far I am from where I want to be. When I see "N 45 26.876 W 119 23. 566", then "N 45 25.497 W 120 01.44", I have no idea how far apart those are, without consulting my Map, PDA, or GPS Receiver. Give me 10 T 456224 5116778 and 456933 5117896 and I can do a quick calc in my head and see that they're about 1100 one way and 700 the other way meters apart. Another mental shortcut and you get about 1300 meters away. No way I could do that in Lat/Long. Not a chance.

UTM would be my first choice but I understand both. Using UTM I have found it easier to project a waypoint.

Hmm. I guess I don't understand that. Here's a simple problem. How would you do it using UTM?

Starting at UTM coords 16T E 737152 N 4949950 (it's in Michigan):

Go due north exactly 15 km.

What are your new coords in UTM?

Tell you what: I'll make it interesting. I'll send a custom-made magnetic Bison micro cache container (worth about \$10) to the first person who can solve this correctly by hand using only UTM. No using projection on your GPS units; you have to show your work. Using a calculator is fine, of course. Let the contest begin!

Oh, and NO USING GeoCalc!!!

Edited by fizzymagic

Oh, and NO USING GeoCalc!!!

Oh Man! Guess that rules me out

UTM would be my first choice but I understand both. Using UTM I have found it easier to project a waypoint.

Hmm. I guess I don't understand that. Here's a simple problem. How would you do it using UTM?

Starting at UTM coords 16T E 737152 N 4949950 (it's in Michigan):

Go due north exactly 15 km.

What are your new coords in UTM?

Tell you what: I'll make it interesting. I'll send a custom-made magnetic Bison micro cache container (worth about \$10) to the first person who can solve this correctly by hand using only UTM. No using projection on your GPS units; you have to show your work. Using a calculator is fine, of course. Let the contest begin!

Oh, and NO USING GeoCalc!!!

OK, here goes. You said that you want to go due north 15KM. The thing to realize about using UTM is that it is oriented to grid-north, which due to the fact that you are to the eastern edge of the gridzone, means that it would not be the same. If you were on the center line of the gridzone (E 500000), then grid-north and true-north would be the same. Now assuming you wanted to go grid-north 15km from your starting point, you would simply add 15000 to the northing portion of the UTM grid. So 4949950 + 15000 = 4964950. The easting would remain the same (737152). That being said, if you are at the extreme right edge of gridzone 16T, then you might cross into gridzone 17. If that happens, then your UTM easting might be in the area of 280000. If you are wanting to go north in some standard other than grid-north, you will have to use some trig to compute the new grid.

Starting at UTM coords 16T E 737152 N 4949950 (it's in Michigan):

Go due north exactly 15 km.

What are your new coords in UTM?

Once again with a quick mental calc, I get 16T 737152 N 4964950. I just added 15000 meters to the Northing. Then I cheated a little, just to see where that actually is. It looks like Comins, Michigan is a nice small town to visit some time. Maybe I should do a "Closest" Pocket Query.

Fizzymagic, good to see you again. Your intelligence provides an anchor in these sometimes stormy Forums.

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