[Tweeters] Location tools

Wally Davis wallydavis3 at gmail.com
Sat Mar 19 10:36:30 PDT 2016


Thanks Jane; great job.



I was mulling over how to explain use of a GPS. One comment though is that Google will read the degrees, minutes, seconds format even though it outputs in decimal degrees. If you use a phone, tablet, or camera in the field you probably get your position in degrees, minutes, seconds. Giving either format will allow everyone to see the location on Google.



Wally Davis

Snohomish



From: tweeters-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu [mailto:tweeters-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Jane Hadley
Sent: Saturday, March 19, 2016 5:17 AM
To: Tweeters, Dear
Subject: [Tweeters] Location tools




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 <https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.chartcross.gpstest&hl=en> &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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