Monday, December 30, 2013

Finding not the spiritual inner being, but your current location on Earth.

usbackroads information--Finding yourself on Earth.

Above is the view from the back door of our vacation rental cabin outside Leavenworth (Camas Meadows Lodge).   Last spring, we decided to expand our customer base by advertising with a couple of high tech oriented services.  Since we are off-grid and green by definition we also started advertising ourselves as Camas Meadows Eco-Lodge.

We have been blessed by increased bookings.  However, I am suspecting that when kids say they are computer savvy it only means a high score in some computer game!!  Definitely, not a game that requires mapping or any outdoor skills.  In the world of high tech youth every location has a physical address and all roads are paved.

So it sometimes comes as a shock when they are driving around with marginal cell service and totally lost.

Here is a handy little trick for finding yourself on Earth and more importantly being able to tell someone where exactly you are on the planet.  Trust me this comes in very handy in a medical or vehicle emergency.

I found this out the hard way when I had my near death experience about a decade ago.  I clearly read the 911 operator my township, range, and section number of my location.  AND for a 911 service that serves a rural area, she had no clue what I was talking about.

I doubt she even knew that the Forest Service made maps for the public to use.

Everything is Latitude and Longitude these days.  Fortunately, it is easy to find on your cell phone if you know where to look.

Right there is the Apple Compass app.  It even looks like a compass.  If it does not show up on your IPHONE or Android device you can download from their respective services.  They are free!!  Not a bad price for saving somebody's life.

Tap on the compass app.

Apple is a little vague about whether they use a magnet, cell towers, or GPS satellites to find the correct bearing.  It looks like it might be all three at different times.  The only real thing is to make sure that the compass read TRUE rather than MAGNETIC NORTH.

I suspect that you won't be running property lines with your IPHONE.  What you really need are those little numbers at the bottom on the screen.  You can enlarge the photo, but the numbers are in this format:  47 degrees 29 minutes 19 seconds N   120 degrees 20 minutes 4 seconds W.

Here is how you write it in the Google Earth search bar:  47 29 21 N   120 20 14 W   Be sure not to put a period after the W since it will want to send you to the Phillipines.

Give it a try with your smartphone.  Get the coordinates and then load them into Google earth or Google maps.  Press enter and your current position should come up in program.  You can also use this with handheld and automotive GPS units.

Practice it a few times unless times until it becomes second nature.  Your kids will tell you that you can easily find their location using Google earth, but remember you want to tell somebody else where you are located.  Don't forget you can take a screen shot of your map location and mail it.

Myself, I would just rather give the coordinates to 911.

In a non-emergency like trying to find Camas Meadows Lodge this method comes in real handy if your lost in the middle of somewhere.