Geographic Positioning Systems
Presented by Rob Snyder
Several IPY Expeditions are now collecting
data on “traverses” of Antarctic .
Norwegian and American scientists are traversing
across some of the least known parts of East
Antarctica to expand our knowledge about the effects
of climate change in the Cold Continent.
A vehicle pulls the living module for the scientists
across the Antarctic Plateau. 20 steel drums
underneath the living module do not supply
enough fuel for the entire transect.
GPS devices are used to locate fuel
depots on the route of the traverse.
The South Pole is the final destination of
the Norwegian U.S. Scientific Traverse.
A network of GPS satellites orbiting Earth
can be used to collect data in Polar regions
and guide Polar Expeditions.
In this YouTube video, GPS devices are being
deployed at many locations in Antarctica to
detect the movement of land and ice.
Handheld GPS devices use microwaves
to communicate with the
network of satellites.
Handheld GPS devices can indicate:
► The coordinates of a location
► The elevation at a location
► In what direction you are going (Heading)
► In what direction you should be going
► How fast you are moving
► How far you have traveled
► And much more
There are 2 ways for the polar scientists
to navigate to a fuel depot.
► They can be given the coordinates
for the locations of fuel depots. In this
case they would use the “GPS
Information Page” of a Garmin GPS.
► Locations of the fuel depots can be
saved in a GPS unit as “waypoints”. In
this case they would use the GOTO
function and the “Pointer Page” of a
Your Challenge Today
► Use the UMass campus to create a model of
a polar traverse that includes the location of
a base station, 2 fuels depots and a final
► Record the coordinates for the base station,
fuel depots and the final destination.
► Name and save the locations of a base
station, 2 fuel depots, and a final destination
► Follow a route created by another team of
► Each leg of the route should be no
longer than 100 meters.
► Each team traverses to a different
destination so that data can be
compiled that describes a large area.
► Each team records data in a journal
with reference to landmarks.
Getting Started with a Garmin GPS
Power button will
On/Off switch off
The ROCKER. screens.
scrolls up and
When you are inside a building, you can use
the Simulator to become familiar with the
Garmin 72 pages and data fields.
The Simulator Mode
► Turn on the GPS
► Press ENTER to clear a warning statement.
► Press MENU.
► Start Simulator will be highlighted
► Press ENTER
► You will see some recently acquired data
that includes Latitude, Longitude, and
► Use the PAGE button to view different
The GPS Information Page will indicate how
many satellite signals you are receiving, your
coordinates, and your elevation.
Latitude and Longitude angles that
originate at the center of Earth
describe the coordinates of a location.
Earth Science: The Challenge of Discovery; D.C.Heath and Co. 1991
Latitude and Longitude Systems
The coordinates for locations can be
expressed as Degree, Minutes, and
Seconds. This system is used on USGS
For example: 41º 20’ 37” N, 71º 56’ 17” W
There are other ways to indicate
coordinates. Meteorologists often indicate
the location of Atlantic Ocean hurricanes
in Degree Decimal form.
For example: 22.76 N, 59.45º W
You can change how Latitude and Longitude is
expressed while in the simulator mode.
This procedure is on Page 5 of GPS Basics. A very similar
procedure for establishing North Reference is also on Page 5.
► Press MENU.
► Press MENU again.
► Use the ROCKER to highlight “setup”.
► Press ENTER
► Use the ROCKER to move to the right to the Units
Tab and highlight the Location Tab.
► Press ENTER.
► Use the ROCKER to highlight your choice. You
may need to scroll up to some options.
► Press ENTER
► Press PAGE
When you go outside, you will need to
turn on your GPS unit and wait until
you receive at least 4 satellite signals.
Directions for turning
on the Garmin GPS
are on Page One of
Then you will need to name and save
your base station, both fuel depots, and
final destination as “waypoints”
This process is
on Page One of
Use the GPS Information Page
to record waypoint data in a journal.
Data can include:
of the area.
When you have reached your final
destination you can use GOTO to navigate
back to the Base Station.
to display the
stored in the 3. Press ENTER
GPS to select the
waypoint that you
want to GOTO.
Use the This is described
ROCKER. to on Page Three of
highlight the GPS Basics
will be your
The Pointer Page can indicate
Bearing and Distance to Base Station
One Data Field
needs to indicate
Another Data Field
needs to indicate
Distance to Next.
See Page 4 of GPS
Basics to change
displays in Data Fields.
Heading and Bearing
on the Pointer Page
The Line at top of
The Black Arrow shows the
shows compass direction you are
direction (bearing) walking (heading).
to your selected
Heading and Bearing are also
measured in degrees.
Summary of Tasks
1. Make sure that your GPS
receives sufficient satellite
signals for navigation.
2. Go to a location outside of
Hasbrouck Lab. Mark, name,
and save the location of your
3. Use the latitude and longitude
coordinates on the GPS
Information Page to collect
4. Save and name the locations
of fuel depots and your final
5. Once you are at your final
destination, use the GOTO to
get bearing and distance to
your Base Station..
► Trade journals and GPS units with another
► Decide which of the following strategies you
will use to locate a fuel depot.
Option 1: Use the GPS Information page
to navigate to the coordinates recorded in a
journal. The coordinates on the GPS
Information page will change as you move.
Option 2: Use the GOTO function to guide
you to the location of a fuel depot that has
been named and saved as a waypoint.