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  • 04/27/2016
  • VETS

I recently taught a map and compass class and as has happened many times before a large portion of the class was deeply perplexed by the UTM grid system. In the end all the participants  finally grasped the concept but a lot of valuable class time was consumed by this section of the training. My question is who is using the UTM system to find their location on a map? I completely understand that the UTM system is used as the primary projection for incident mapping by the GIS community but usually a Lat/Lon grid is displayed on the maps produced on incident maps. Is it still worth the time to include this section in the training with such a focus on digital mapping and hand held devices usually configured to display Lat/Lon?

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  1. MAPS
    April 27, 2016 Reply

    UTM has been widely adopted by Search and Rescue groups. Take home message is that it’s a grid system that allows for distance to be measured and interrupted by the grid. Granted cell phones, GPS devices and other technologies typically display Lat/Long it’s a good element to tough on. Positive Quadrants, the black grid on the axes, and the positive number with false easting and northing being used. Classes get hung up on them because they are not commonly used, but should at least be mentioned as a map element.

  2. Ryan
    May 2, 2016 Reply

    Boise District BLM uses UTM.

  3. heliodoc
    May 4, 2016 Reply

    Time for Forestry schools and agencies to start teaching map n compass, MGRS, USNG, and UTM

    Somewhat like the old 11B Infantry training all us Army types went through

    This CERTAINLY should be a requirement for the Agencies who brag about teaching paratroopers hanging from towers and “borrowing” leadership education and Cockpit Resource Management / Crew Resource Management to fire crews

    Now it is time to get back to basics in Land Navigation…..you proficient with your compass when your batteries die in your GPS? Best know a “ruff” Lat and Long just by looking at your Red DeLorme State map books or topo maps…or are those in some desks somewhere???

    People taught me…….now its time Agencies taught someone else….

    That pretty clear from a former Army type??

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