How to Draw MGRS Coordinates in Google Maps

by Jacob Andrew
Military grids differ from the latitude and longitude coordinates used by Google Maps.

Military grids differ from the latitude and longitude coordinates used by Google Maps.

An MGRS coordinate is comprised a single string of numbers and letters instead of two separate numbers for latitude and longitude. Google Maps, however, uses only the traditional, two-number coordinate system. In order to map MGRS coordinates, you have to first use one of a number of free online tools to convert the MGRS to traditional format. You can then automatically map them using a spreadsheet program.

Converting MGRS to Coordinates

The best way to convert your MGRS is to use an online converter. Many options are available (see Resources for a few examples), and all work generally in the same way. First, copy your MGRS coordinate into the area marked "location" and then click the buttons marked "convert" or "calculate."

Preparing the Coordinates

Once you have the converted coordinates, open a spreadsheet program. Create three columns, titled something like "Name," "Lat" and "Long." In the name column, type a name to identify the location information -- a date, for example, if the data relates to the time a particular event occurred. Then return to your website and copy the latitude and longitude conversions, minus any characters besides the numbers, negative sign and decimal point, into the corresponding columns. Microsoft Excel is a common spreadsheet program, but free programs are available from Google Drive and Apache OpenOffice (see Resources).

Import the Data

Once you've created the spreadsheet, save it, open a browser and navigate to the Google Maps Engine (see Resources). Open a new map and click "Import" from the Layers toolbar. Upload your spreadsheet and, when prompted, select the latitude and longitude columns to identify the location and the "Name" column to give each place a name. After clicking "Finish," the MGRS points should all appear on the Google map.

About the Author

Jacob Andrew previously worked as an A+ and CCNA-certified technology specialist. After receiving his BA in journalism from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 2012, he turned his focus towards writing about travel, politics and current technology.

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