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GROUND RULES by cl i f f jacobson

Positioned for Success? Test your skills with a GPS device.

b) Program in the zone number of the map. c) Program in the contour interval of the coordinates.

4 The elevation reading on your GPS device is 1,633 feet. But contour lines on your topo map read 1,550 feet. Which is more accurate? a) The map b) The GPS device c) Neither one — split the differ- ence and you’ll be right on target

THERE’S MORE TO using a GPS device than setting waypoints and following routes on an electronic map. There are settings to adjust, coordinate systems to learn and procedures to prevent errors. You must be on target 100 percent of the time when navigating. One error is enough to get you lost! Take this quiz and see how much

you know about GPS navigation. Some questions might appear to have more than one right answer. Choose the best answer.

1 You are setting up your GPS unit to be compatible with your topo- graphic map. You must: a) Specify true or magnetic north in the setup menu. b) Indicate the specified map datum in the setup menu. c) Select the matching contour interval on the map page.


2 You are planning a canoeing trip and are pleased to note that the UTM coordinates of major obstacles like rapids and falls are indicated on your trip guide. What is “UTM”? a) An angular coordinate system that replaces latitude/longitude b) Stands for “Universal Transverse Mercator,” which is a rectangular coordinate system printed on topographic maps. It allows you to pinpoint a map position to the nearest 100 meters or less without using special measuring tools. c) Same as the military grid refer- ence system. The coordinate system uses two letters and a string of numbers to define a position.

3 When setting up your GPS unit, you must go to the setup menu and: a) Set the GPS device to read the same units (feet or meters) as your map.

5 Your GPS unit can determine your position even though there are heavy clouds overhead. But the position doesn’t match up with where you know you’re located. What could be wrong? a) The GPS unit is always more accurate on a sunny day. b) The GPS unit is getting a two dimensional (2-D) fix, not a 3-D one. c) The GPS unit isn’t locking onto enough satellites for an accurate fix.

6 One of your Scouts is injured while hiking. You call 911 on your satellite phone and request a medical evacua- tion. You should give the operator: a) The UTM coordinates of your position b) The latitude/longitude of your position c) The distance you are from the trailhead

7 You change the batteries in your GPS navigator and observe that

TEST YOUR SCOUTING SKILLS with more interactive quizzes at


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