A couple of gps questions

I have a Garmin etrex base model, and am finally getting around to using it for more than just a speedometer. I’ve found the lat/long for some waypoints I’d like to enter, but they’re in degrees minutes and seconds as opposed to the decimalized minutes accepted by the gps. Can I just divide the seconds by 60 to get the decimal equivalent?

Also, how in heck do you enter a waypoint manually? The manual is as clear as mud.

easy, you can change your format
by going into navigation page and choosing what lat long time measurement you want. then to enter waypoints you enter waypoint from the menu page and move the cursor to (new) …

to try
to clarify what lees said. To change degree measurement got to Set Up - then Units. Under units menu choose the degree setup ya want. As for inserting a waypoint. Got to Mark Choose a new waypoint . Then go back to the waypoint you just inserted. Scroll down to the Lat. -Long. #'s. Press enter and change the #'s 1 at a time. when all #'s are in press ok then you should be set. You can also name the point and add a symbol the same way.

Hey thanks. Cool destination for fossils
I had missed the degrees submenu when scrolling through. Doh. Figured out how to add waypoints by marking my present location then editing the lat/long to suit my new one.

Many thanks. This is where I’m trying to get to, it’s about 25-30 miles along the coast from my place: http://museum.gov.ns.ca/fossils/amazing/arisaig.htm

GPS Coordinates
You can divide seconds by 3600 (60 X 60) and minutes by 60 and add the result to degrees to get decimal degrees. To get decimal minutes divide seconds by 60 and add this to the minutes value. However, you also need to be careful about the Datum you use. If you are scaling these points from an existing paper map the values may be in the North American Datum of 1927 (NAD27). Your GPS normally operates in World Geodetic System 1984 (WGS84) which is essentially identical to the North American Datum of 1983 (NAD83). Distances measured between NAD27 and NAD83 can be quite different depending upon your location, so make sure all of your points are in the same Datum. You can set most if not all GPS units to operate in NAD27 if you are going to enter coordiantes from this datum, but what the GPS unit is really doing is converting on the fly from its native WGS84 datum to display your coordinates in NAD27. You can also go to www.topozone.com, click on view map and enter coordinates in a variety of formats (note the radio button for selecting NAD27 or WGS84/NAD83). When the map displays you can change the coordinate system from degrees, minutes, seconds to decimal degrees (or several other formats) in the left hand pane and the value of your point will change accordingly. Sorry for this tome.

like a great place. Never been to the Northeast coast area.

Google for GPS coordinates
and the name of the location you are looking for

I’ve found lots of coordinates for out of the way places this way. However check with a map after you have them. I got coordinates for a small island in Mexico off the coast this way and when we got to the neighboring Island it looked like the GPS coordinates from the internet were off by about 2 miles … would not have been useful in the fog.

In doing this I have found navigation aids for boaters and it’s been pretty interesting and useful in learning about currents, hazzards and wrecks that are underneath the bland looking ocean.

You can also project waypoints from a given waypoint if you have a compass bearing from a guide. this is useful because its a lot easier to use the GPS to goto a weighpoint than it is to use it like a compass since second to second it may swing around a bit. Using your deck mounted compass, a map and your etrex all together really works well.

Also look into Geocaching sites and the GPS Confluence Project site… lots of cools stuff. I’ve started collecting GPS coordinates from all the peaks I’ve climbed … kind of wierd but fun.

Shortage of Canadian co-ordinates
Harder to find for some reason. I did find some very useful wharf co-ordinates on a local yachting website, a/la Seadart’s suggestion.

Wow wetzool
I just learned more in one paragraph than I did in a morning of web browsing. Thanks!

You Ever Use This?
Put your cursor on a point and the lat and lon show up in a window.


Well I tried
Thanks. Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t find Nova Scotia on there anywhere.

Hey Magoo
Now that you’ve learned how to put waypionts in go to www.geocaching.com and enter the wonderful world of geocaching. New Brunswick it full of geocaches and I suspect NS is too. Look over the site and if you like scavenger hunts you’ll love this.

Yep, been there
My sons and I found a few and placed one in a gypsum cave. There’s a particularly devilish one that’s only about a mile from our house on a walking trail, but it’s a multi-parter and has stumped us three times now. Great fun!

Lat/long conversions
Just for future reference should anyone need to convert. Here’s a good site:


Remember one thing
The speed is speed over ground–not water. Big difference if you are in a current.

Great site, thanks Pam. (NM)