GPS coordinate types

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by Spade, Sep 6, 2015.

  1. Spade

    Spade Funster

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    Hi everyone.we will be heading to France in the new year for the second time.we used the acsi book and camping car book etc for places to stay
    Now my question is can someone point me to a tutorial about the different formats of coordinates and how to know which format is which for a garmin sat nav

    I tried the different formats when I was in France but it only worked some of the time.
    I don't know which format is which.
    When I try to input them here as a practice run the sat nav runs out of memory while calculating the route
     
  2. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    There may be a tutorial but I don't think it is that difficult to explain so I will give it a go.:)

    The original format as used by sailors was degrees minutes and seconds. A typical coordinate of this form might look like this: 4° 34' 54.6" that is four degrees thirty four minutes and fifty four point six seconds. However, this isn't enough as the heading needs to specified as well, N or S for latitude and E or W for longitude. Here in Europe the latitude is always going to be north (N) but inconveniently longitude is commonly E or W as the meridian where it changes runs roughly on a line through London right down through France and down to the bottom right hand corner of Spain. This is a frequent source of error so you need to be sure which it should be. A further complication is W is sometimes shown by a negative sign (-) and E by a positive (+).

    The format shown above is shown on my Garmin as
    h ddd° mm' ss.s"

    The Garmin also shows two other formats you can select:

    h ddd° mm.mmm'. which is a format using degrees and minutes but not seconds. This is the format used by the Vicarious All the Aires books and a typical set of coordinates might be N47° 36.581' E002° 09.982'

    To use the above you just need to ensure the Garmin is set to the format h ddd° mm.mmm'. You don't need to worry about the zeros in front of the numbers, so just enter 2 not 002 although it won't matter if you do. Also don't worry there are not enough numbers after the decimal points. 42.5 is fine and you don't have to enter 42.500.

    The final format is degrees only and is shown like this h ddd.ddddd° and an example might look like this: E034.63968° which means thirty four point six three nine six eight degrees east. The CamperContact app shows coordinates in this format as well as the first type described, hours, minutes and seconds.

    Your Garmin may be different to mine but to see the formats enter "Where to" and then select "coordinates" which you may have to scroll down to find. There is then an option on mine called "Formats" which if you select it allows you to choose the format you want.

    In summary, you just need to recognise what format you have and ensure the Garmin has been set to the same, this avoids faffing about trying to convert formats.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2015
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  3. Greenway

    Greenway Funster

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    Great explanation @DBK many thanks.
     
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  4. GeriatricWanderer

    GeriatricWanderer Funster

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    My advice would be to just concentrate on using the simplest format and the one in most common use ie Decimal.
    I know most modern sat navs can handle any of the 3 formats but I find it irritating to keep changing languages. There are a couple of very easy to use conversion spreadsheets. here.

    If, like me, you plan to keep a record of tried and tested/favourite/whatever, co-ords - so much easier to keep them all in the same format.
     
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  5. Spade

    Spade Funster

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    Thanks @dbk.a great explanation.
    Will save your post and keep it.

    Another question please.
    How do people set up their sat navs.
    Shortest distance/fastest time etc.
    We got a few scares in Normandy. Traveling up really narrow roads with grass in the middle.thankfully did not meet anything coming against us.
    We were heading for campsite "LA roseraie d,Omaha" coming from Lisieux..we hardly saw a main road for the last 30 miles.scary

    Anyway how do you set yours
     
  6. GeriatricWanderer

    GeriatricWanderer Funster

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    It's not so much of how to set your sat nav as how to plan your route.

    Always better to take a look at the map first, see where you want to go, note some road numbers/village names etc (and a crib note on the dash helps me), then use your sat nav as an aid to get to your destination.
    If you just set a destination your sat nav will use the roads it has in it's mapping to get you there and choosing fastest/shortest/most economic won't guarantee you staying on tarmac, especially in France. It's all about knowing where you're going and roughly what roads you would expect to take so you can ignore any sudden and unexpected "turn left here" instructions.

    Having said that, some of these sudden and unexpected instructions will take you to some lovely places you would never have found by sticking to the main roads (but not always!).

    And, as a general rule, if you start to see tufts of grass growing on the crown of the road, now would be a good time to pull over and check that map :)
     
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  7. Spade

    Spade Funster

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    @GeriatricWanderer .
    Hi did you mean to include a link to some conversion spreadsheets in one of your posts for me.if so any chance you could relink it for me..thanks
     
  8. GeriatricWanderer

    GeriatricWanderer Funster

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    If you take a look in Resources, there are 2 there. A dead simple one by me and a rather fancy one by Jellyneck.
     
  9. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    We had some fun when we first arrived in France earlier this week. The little box was taking us on some very scenic routes! A bit of fiddling discovered it was set for "least fuel" which I must have set it to when having a play with it recently. Oops, so I returned it to "quickest route" and it has been fine since. You can also set it to avoid tolls but sometimes a toll road is sensible if you are short of time so I haven't set that.
     
  10. mitzimad

    mitzimad Funster

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    we usually do two routes with and without tolls to decide if its worth going on the tolls. Do the route once saying yes to tolls then go back to recent destinations and do it again saying no
     
  11. Spade

    Spade Funster

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    Many thanks to all.have printed off @DBK post and it is stapled to the inside cover of the Aires book.about to do the same with @GeriatricWanderer conversion table.
    Cheers
     
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