[Tweeters] Location tools

Jane Hadley hadleyj1725 at gmail.com
Sat Mar 19 05:16:47 PDT 2016



Hello Tweesters--

Kevin Lucas recommended a free phone app that he likes for sharing
location information by providing longitude and latitude coordinates.

I'd also like to recommend a free phone app that I use Called "GPS Test."

The GPS Test app for Android reads and displays GPS information from
your phone's internal GPS.

Because it's a GPS app, it is not dependent upon Internet access, which
is fortunate, given that we birders are often in remote areas without
Internet access.

On my phone (a Nexus 6P), this app tells me my latitude and longitude
coordinates, my heading in degrees, my altitude, the time, my location
on a map, and the speed at which I am traveling.

I use it most often for the lat-long coordinates and especially to get
my altitude.

The GPS Test app allows you to share or save the lat-long coordinates in
a number of ways, including email, text message, Twitter, Keep, or copy
to clipboard. (Probably Facebook, too, but I don't have Facebook on my
phone, so I can't say for sure.)

The GPS Test app is available at:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.chartcross.gpstest&hl=en

I do not know whether it is available for the iPhone.

Ann Marie Wood said in a post that "GPS coordinates sound like a good
idea but, frankly, I've never figured out how to use them, with or
without my Garmin or IPhone."

On Google Maps using the Chrome or Firefox browser (and possibly other
browsers as well), here is how you can obtain lat-long coordinates for a
particular spot on the map.

Click on a spot on the map and a small label will pop up at the bottom
of your screen giving the coordinates. First, click on those coordinates
in the little box. Then on the blue and white panel on the left, click
on the "Share" icon and copy the link. (If you want a shorter, more
manageable version of this link, check the "Short Link" box.)

Once you've copied the link with the coordinates, you can paste it into
a text, email message or document. The recipient can paste the link into
the address bar of his/her browser and be shown immediately the spot on
the map.

Now here is how you can use GPS coordinates that you are given to find a
spot on the map.

The first thing to note is that latitude and longitude coordinates can
be given in several different formats. The ones used by Google are in
the decimal format: for example, 47.669605, -121.926026

The ones we may be familiar with from our school years are given in the
degrees, minutes, seconds format: 41°25'01"N and 120°58'57"W

If you have coordinates in the degrees-minutes-seconds format, you'll
need to convert them to decimal format for use in Google maps.

There are many converters between these formats online. Here's a simple
and easy one:
https://www.fcc.gov/media/radio/dms-decimal

The GPS Test app that I recommended above displays the lat-long
coordinates in the degrees-minutes-seconds format, which you would need
to convert to decimal format to use on Google maps. However, if you use
the "share" function in GPS Test to save or send the coordinates, the
app actually saves them in a URL (i.e., http// link) using
Google-compatible decimal coordinates, so no conversion is necessary.
Just click on the link or paste it into your browser's address bar.

If you have Google-compatible decimal coordinates rather than a URL,
simply go to Google maps and paste the coordinates into the map search
box and you will be taken to the spot.

You can click on the directions icon (blue diamond with white arrow) to
be given directions to the spot. You can also use Google Maps'
"Satellite View" and "Street View" functions to see exactly how the
roads and intersections look, though Street View often isn't available
on remote roads. And Google Maps is certainly not infallible. As several
people have mentioned, if you're in particularly difficult locations, it
might be better to have directions from a person who is familiar with
the area.

Jane Hadley
Seattle, WA


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