Additional Instructions for Finding U. S. Geographical Coordinates (Updated May 12, 2008)
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1. Open the USGS National Mapping Information Query Form. Type in the requested information and send query. A Feature Detail Report Page will appear with general coordinates for your location. The values are given both in degrees, minutes, and seconds and decimal degrees. You will need decimal degree values for our entry form. To obtain more precise coordinates for your specific location, I recommend the link, "ACME Mapper 2.0," found under "Mapping Services" on the right side of the USGS Feature Detail Report Page. Select this link to bring up a map of your area.

 2. When the ACME Mapper 2.0 window opens, it shows the Control Panel in the lower right corner of the window. Select one of the three buttons at the bottom of the Control Panel to open the map of your site. (To check the settings, select Options. The default value should be decimal degrees (Coords d.ddd d.ddd). The map widgets, Pan/Zoom, Scale, Crosshairs, and Map Type, should also be checked.) Then select Close to close the menu. Doing so will activate the map.

3. To find the coordinates of a specific point on the map, put your cursor on the map and hold down your left mouse button (if you have a PC computer). The cursor will change to a Pan symbol (small hand). Next, note the crosshairs in the center of the map. This location corresponds to the coordinates shown in the ACME Mapper 2.0 box. To find the coordinates of any other point on the map, move your mouse while continuing to hold down your left mouse button. The map will move beneath the stationary crosshairs. Put your chosen location beneath the crosshairs and then release your mouse button. Once you do so, the coordinates in the ACME Mapper box will change to those of your site.

4. Instructions for North America/Western Hemisphere: Note that ACME Mapper 2.0 shows longitude (west) as a negative number. This differs from the format of our data entry form. When entering a longitude, enter the positive value of this number, while being sure that "W" is selected (this is the default setting). However, if you want to edit the coordinates of an observation that you have already added to the database, enter the negative value instead. Whenever you edit any previous observations, the latitude and longitude boxes appear without the (N - S) and (W - E) menu boxes, and the longitude appears as a negative number.

5. ACME Mapper 2.0 also has options to zoom in or out or pan up, down, right, or left (near upper left corner of the map). You can also use the buttons near the top right of the map to select from a variety of map views, including a road map, satellite photos, a hybrid of both, a USGS topographic map view, and two other aerial views. If you are having trouble pinpointing your location on the road map, try switching to the topo map or to one of the aerial views. This feature makes it much easier to find your coordinates than before, because you can switch to another view without having to open another mapping program or another window.


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This page was added on May 12, 2008.