Which type of coordinates do you use?

axlesandantennas

Approved Vendor
Hey dudes.

Got a question for y'all. I'd do a poll, but I'm not sure how to. Anyway, when using either a paper map or GPS, which type of coordinates do you use? In the US, your 2 main options are Lat/Long (which is also the more traditional), Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM), or just let the GPS tell you where you are with zero thought to the actual coordinates?

Also, some of you probably want to say MGRS, but that does not count as we don't really find that in the civilian world. And besides, MGRS and UTM are kissing cousins anyway.

I personally use both. When looking at a map that covers the entire US, I prefer Lat/Long as I can visualize coordinates across the US.

However, when I am only working in one area, I like UTM much better as it is based off meters and the math is quicker. You just cannot go across zones with it without starting over (well you can, but it's not as easy).
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
Neither, I've gone completely thinking to AuthaGraph PLSS. It's a real SOB since all my maps give WGS84 or NAD83 lat/long and only some UTM. How's using those gonna impress the people at the next GIS convention social mixer? The fact that it takes my laptop half an hour to crunch the directions to the pub around the corner is of serious consequence, though.
 
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NatersXJ6

Explorer
Neither, I've gone completely thinking to AuthaGraph PLSS. It's a real SOB since all my maps give WGS84 or NAD83 lat/long and only some UTM. How's using those gonna impress the people at the next GIS convention social mixer? The fact that it takes my laptop half an hour to crunch the directions to the pub around the corner is of serious consequence, though.
Why did you leave the pub to begin with?
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
I'm used to UTM and lat/long and use both. If a map shows lat/long I use that, if UTM then UTM.
Yup, the map will dictate. The Delorme Gazetteers don't provide UTM at all. I've one set of maps that don't give lat/lon at all, the Singletrack Maps for mountain bikes are only in UTM. Most give both so it's whatever is easier. For example USFS MVUMs are much easier to use in UTM since the grid is obvious and lat/lon is only provided for reference.
 
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axlesandantennas

Approved Vendor
Yup, the map will dictate. The Delorme Gazetteers don't provide UTM at all. I've one set of maps that don't give lat/lon at all, the Singletrack Maps for mountain bikes are only in UTM. Most give both so it's whatever is easier. For example USFS MVUMs are much easier to use in UTM since the grid is obvious and lat/lon is only provided for reference.
Mind the map margins for the coordinate system. Some of the MVUM maps are state plane coordinate system, such as the ones here for Cherokee National Forest.
 

axlesandantennas

Approved Vendor
That's got to be a pain since your Garmin isn't going to be much help.
Garmins can be used with it. You have to go and make a user setting and then find out how the system is set up in the state. Took me about 10 minutes after looking up the system for Tennessee. But in general, yeah, it can be a hassle. I’m not sure why some MVUM are in UTM and other are in state plane. It’s one of the reason I reinvented that when came out with the set of offer for sale.
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
Garmins can be used with it. You have to go and make a user setting and then find out how the system is set up in the state. Took me about 10 minutes after looking up the system for Tennessee. But in general, yeah, it can be a hassle. I’m not sure why some MVUM are in UTM and other are in state plane. It’s one of the reason I reinvented that when came out with the set of offer for sale.
That's interesting you got it to work. I suspect it's got to do with Lambert vs Transverse projections (is Tennessee in TM?). Colorado's SPC is LCC and I'd think won't be easy to trick a Garmin into using without significant error.
 

Howard70

Adventurer
Latitude & Longitude in decimal degrees. Started with that when I was working across vast regions and the zones of UTM were a pain. The only glitch I ever had with lat/long was in a project where I was mapping floating weather buoys that roamed around oceans for years. When those tracks crossed from +180 to -180 longitude in the middle of the Pacific it was a GIS programming nightmare.

Howard
 
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