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How do I
Board: Letterboxing Help Desk
Nov 7, 2019 11:23am
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I'm ashamed to say after 14 years of boxing I don't know how to read GPS coordinates. I guess I'd make a louse geocacher, huh? So I've done internet searches for sites to explain a 'how to' but can't find any easy to follow ones. Would someone lead me in the right direction. Say a box is listed with JUST coordinates, how do I find a location for the starting point?
Re: How do I
Board: Letterboxing Help Desk
Reply to: #980930 by Sagacorn
Nov 7, 2019 11:57am
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What are the coordinates that you have? They come in a number of different formats but most GPS units will accept any of them. I can provide you a map with that point marked if you like.
Re: How do I
Board: Letterboxing Help Desk
Reply to: #980930 by Sagacorn
Nov 7, 2019 1:21pm
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Copy the coordinates into Google Maps.
Re: How do I
Board: Letterboxing Help Desk
Reply to: #980934 by Green Tortuga
Nov 7, 2019 1:24pm
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I was about to ask that. Can't you just copy and paste the coordinates into google maps? I did that just now with a box and came up with the location.

I have never seen a box listed that was just coordinates and nothing in the clues. Doesn't mean they don't exist but I've never seen one listed.
Re: How do I
Board: Letterboxing Help Desk
Reply to: #980935 by MissMoon
Nov 7, 2019 3:26pm
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There are clues to find the box but the coordinates lead you to the state, town and/or trail.
I know the world is mapped into grids and the coord. go by that. I am wanting to learn HOW to find them on a physical map not depend on technology.
Re: How do I
Board: Letterboxing Help Desk
Reply to: #980935 by MissMoon
Nov 7, 2019 3:32pm
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I use the gps coordinates from google maps all the time. I find the location of the box on google maps and then enter the gps coordinates into my garmin. You now how when you get to your location the garmin at least says "now arriving at 32 willow st. on the left" Well when you use gps coordinates it is much more fun to listen to. It says "now arriving at forty two point one two three five eight four dash seventy five point nine seven three two three eight on the left. Much more fun to listen to, and the garmin actually sounds out of breath when it gets done.
Re: How do I
Board: Letterboxing Help Desk
Reply to: #980936 by Sagacorn
Nov 7, 2019 4:46pm
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I know the world is mapped into grids and the coord. go by that. I am wanting to learn HOW to find them on a physical map not depend on technology.

You would need a map with the lines of lat/long gridded in, then. I think you'd want a general map (where in the world) and then to would need many smaller, much finer detail maps, depending on where you're looking. Latitude runs both North and South from zero to 90, with zero at the equator, slicing the globe into a northern and southern hemisphere. Longitude runs like the slices of an orange, with longitude 0 at Greenwich all the way to 180. Lines of longitude meet at N and S poles.

Coordinates are given latitude (N/S) then longitude (E/W). The first numbers are broad; each degree is about 69 miles wide (circumference of earth divided by 360 degrees).

Paris is at 48°51′24″N 2°21′03″E.

First figure - 48 degrees North (of equator), 2 degrees East (of Greenwich England). 48 degrees N is a little bit over half way between the equator and the North Pole. 2 degrees E is only about 140 miles east (makes sense, Paris and England are fairly close lined up vertically). Then you get finer details. The next set of figures (51' and 21') are measurements within the first degree, minutes - subdividing that 69 miles into 60 degrees. 51/60 is about 5/6ths, so if your map is helpfully subdivided into 6 in the minutes, you can approximate to the 5th little notch. The third set of figures (24" and 03") are seconds, which is the minutes divided into 60 again.

With a map with lat/long rulers, I would look for first the latitude, and draw a line straight across (like the border of CAD/US is the 49th parallel). Then find the longitude and draw straight up and down. Where they intersect is your coordinates. To find the lat/long, you'll have to do math to figure out exactly how long 1 minute/second is, for that particular map (depends on how zoomed in things are).

Also the reason why people are mentioning the tech stuff is because Paris is big, so the GPS coordinates aren't very fine. To find a small BOX, you would need really fine measurements (many many decimal points) which also means you need a map that grades far enough down into those. Which means owning a lot of maps...
Re: How do I
Board: Letterboxing Help Desk
Reply to: #980936 by Sagacorn
Nov 7, 2019 5:00pm
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I know the world is mapped into grids and the coord. go by that. I am wanting to learn HOW to find them on a physical map not depend on technology.

You can definitely do that and in fact that was done for many years before the technology magicians gave us gps gizmos.

You would need a map that shows latitude and longitude along the horizontal and vertical margins. Traditional USGS maps have those. USGS maps are organized by quadrangles or "quads". USGS quads can be obtained at the USGS store here: https://store.usgs.gov/map-locator PDF downloads are free or you can buy a print for $15 each. A quad is roughly the size of a town. The standard quads are "7.5 minute series", so they are defined by lat/long.

Once you have the quad, you'll see the latitude/longitude listed for each corner, and then labeled ticks along the margins for lat/long so that you can find a location if you have coordinates. Latitude would be along the vertical margin and longitude along the horizontal margin.

One complication is that there are a few ways to express latitude and longitude. One is degrees, minutes and seconds (minutes and seconds are just like a clock, so 60 seconds is the same as one minute). An example would be 73°41'36". Another way to express lat/long is decimal degrees. That would look like 73.6739° and is the more common approach. There are conversion tools online to convert one to the other.

Here's a video that may help: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_if_6jXvfo

Doing it this way will not be as accurate or precise as using modern technology. But you should be able to get the general location of a parking area or an idea of what part of a park a box is in.
Re: How do I
Board: Letterboxing Help Desk
Reply to: #980934 by Green Tortuga
Nov 7, 2019 11:13pm
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Copy the coordinates into Google Maps.

This.
Re: How do I
Board: Letterboxing Help Desk
Reply to: #980936 by Sagacorn
Nov 8, 2019 3:42am
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I can tell you how I learned to do it.
Get a local, paper map that has places that are familiar to you.

Be sure to check that it has the degrees marked on the edges of the map.
I have Delorme street map books.
Start with larger numbers, none of the fancy-shmancy "minutes and seconds".

I also have "Be Expert With Map and Compass"
It's an easy to read and understand tutorial (and, as it happens, the map included with the book is a place I've been to.
https://www.amazon.com/Be-Expert-Map-Compass-3rd/dp/0470407654

This could be a fun boxing-adjacent type of event.
Re: How do I
Board: Letterboxing Help Desk
Reply to: #980947 by Grrly Girl
Nov 8, 2019 4:11am
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Most helpful. Thanks Grrly Girl
Re: How do I
Board: Letterboxing Help Desk
Reply to: #980930 by Sagacorn
Nov 8, 2019 6:58am
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I've just read most of the responses... a word of caution... Google Earth and Google Maps are pretty good, I use them a lot... but ... some areas can be slightly distorted and sometimes the coordinates don't line up with field readings...

Fine if you want to get to the area (really close) but seldom get you 'right there'... Even a GPS of consumer grade has a limitation of accuracy that will change as you watch it... first rule... don't expect perfection... even Geocachers refer to ground zero, which is usually larger than 'right there' by a bit... you need to understand the limits of that... a bit... PM if you have specific questions..

As for how to... GE is a good way to rough in a location... subject to the above.
you can certainly see quickly how to get to 'Ground Zero' and how the different coordinate systems really say the same thing, but differently... lots of other handy tools as well... GM also has some good useful stuff on there...

For most the real problem is that you have to learn to be a good navigator... emphasis on YOU... The GPS, the compass, the map, even your car, bike, and boots are just tools to use by YOU. It's not that hard just takes some time.

I'm going to send you a PM... not much, but might help you...