19 December 2007

Your Garmin and Genealogy

A portable GPS (Global Positioning System) is very helpful for traveling and for genealogy. Garmin, Magellan, and TomTom are some of the most common manufacturers. For genealogy, they can be used to identify the exact location of any significance such as homes or gravesites. I recently used my Garmin GPS to correctly identify the name and location of a cemetery referenced on Find A Grave, which usually has a map included on the front page description for the cemetery. Find A Grave uses Google maps and reference the GPS coordinates. I went to the cemetery and looked at the map on the Garmin in my hand. There is a menu option on the Garmin to save the location where you are standing. I saved the location and named it the cemetery name. Then at any time I can go back to it on the screen of the Garmin and it will display the GPS coordinates of where I was standing when I saved the location. When back home researching on the internet, I can reference the information and determine exactly what cemetery is on Find A Grave. I can also go to my genealogy software and add the GPS coordinates for the cemetery. I could add the GPS coordinates for any address I want to reference in my software.
In the United States, the latitude is referenced as positive number for the northern hemisphere. The longitude is referenced as a negative number for the western hemisphere.
These GPS's are very handy little devices.
What ideas do you have for using them to assist with your research?


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  2. This is one way to limit confusing road direction to the cemetery.

    In Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter of December 30, 2007, he wrote, Recording Longitudes and Latitudes, suggesting that we should record the latitude and longitude of the places that we find our source material, and that it is added to the name of the place and it's mailing address location.