If coordinates are to be passed on to another person it is technically necessary to report the horizontal datum and the latitude/longitude of the point (e.g.
How is the State Plane Coordinate system set up? Can GPS provide coordinates in these values? What about Public Land Survey System (PLSS) readouts?
The State Plane Coordinate System (SPCS) is a plane coordinate system (N-S and E-W lines are perpendicular) in which each individual state has from one to six zones, depending on the state's size and shape.
Generally, for the conterminous United States, the North American Datum (NAD) shift amounts to about 210 meters. This shift occurs because of the change in shape of the spheroid used to define the datum.
UTM is the acronym for Universal Transverse Mercator, a plane coordinate grid system named for the map projection on which it is based (Transverse Mercator). The UTM system consists of 60 zones, each 6-degrees of longitude in width.
One system is no more or less accurate than the other. They are just two different ways of positioning a point. Many experienced users prefer UTM over latitude/longitude when using 7.5' topographic quadrangle maps.
Most survey marks were set by the US Coast & Geodetic Survey (now called the National Geodetic Survey) and information for those marks is available on the web.
Instructions for downloading from The National Map Viewer are located in a Download and Cart user guide. Orthoimagery is downloaded with the following steps:
Each National Aerial Photography Program (NAPP) frame covers a 5-by-5 mile area at 1:40,000 scale. Each National High Altitude Photography (NHAP) color infrared (CIR) frame covers an 8-by-8 mile area at 1:58,000 scale.
We generally emphasize the following four points:
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