University of Maryland Extension

GPS Resources

Handheld GPS receivers are a great resource for landowners, natural resource professionals, and other outdoor recreationalists. Current GPS units are accurate (plus or minus 15 feet) and can be used for marking hunting locations, structures, streams, your vehicle location, as well as for fun activities such as geocaching. Professional natural resource managers can save valuable field time by using GPS with a computer to locate inventory plots, access roads, outlining timber sale and property boundaries, directing customers to sale locations, and much more.

The University of Maryland Extension offers workshops in Beginner GPS Training to teach those interested in learning how to use GPS handheld receivers with a computer, with specific applications to forestry and logging uses. The workshop provides a Garmin GPS MAP76CSx unit for each participant to use as well as a laptop computer. The day-long workshop uses both classroom and field instruction. The skills learned can be applied to a GPS handheld you may have purchased. The workshop will provide the basics of using a GPS receiver, as well as: marking waypoints, creating routes, entering and finding coordinates, determining acreage of a site, incorporating coordinates into timber sale bids, locating roads, stream crossings, points of interest, downloading and uploading data to a computer (laptops provided), computer software options, and comparing different GPS handheld units.

A second one-day workshop provides an orientation to the use of Terrain Navigator (TN) software that provides USGS topographic maps on CD-ROM. It enables you to create GPS waypoints, routes and tracks; to transfer them to a GPS unit, or to download GPS information taken in the field; and create a individualized computer map of the area you are working. This is very useful for natural resource professionals and landowners as well.

Workshops are offered at various locations throughout Maryland. Check the Events calendar for upcoming programs.

Beginner Training Manual

Table of Contents:


GPS Introduction PowerPoint

GPS Activities PowerPoint

GPS Training Field Activity Sheets

  • Activity 1: Getting to Know the GPS Receiver
  • Activity 2: Setting Up the GPS Unit
  • Activity 3: Waypoints, Routes, and Tracks
  • Activity 4: Entering Coordinates and Finding Locations
  • Activity 5: Creating Waypoints Using the Map Feature

Using a GPS Receiver with Computer Software

  • USA PhotoMaps – Short Tutorial
  • Field Experience with GPS: Verifying Coordinate Data Using USAPhotoMaps Software
  • EasyGPS
  • GPS Utility: A User Guide for Educators
  • Using GPS with Google Earth
  • Terrain Navigator: A User Guide for Natural Resource Managers

Other Resources

  • Common GPS Related Terms
  • GPS Hardware and Software Resource List
  • Web-Based GPS Resources



Advanced GPS Training Manual

Table of Contents:



  • Activity 1: Setting Up Terrain Navigator
  • Activity 2: Terrain Navigator Tools
  • Activity 3: Creating Routes & Waypoints Using Bearings
  • Activity 4: GPS Receiver Functions
  • Activity 5: File Management
  • Activity 6: Printing from Terrain Navigator
  • Activity 7: Putting It All Together

Using a GPS Receiver with Computer Software

  • USAPhotoMaps – Short Tutorial
  • Using GPS with Google Earth
  • EasyGPS – Short Tutorial 
  • Field Experience with GPS: Verifying Coordinate Data Using USAPhotoMaps Software
  • GPS Utility: A User Guide for Educators
    • Terrain Navigator: A User Guide for Natural Resource Managers

ƒOther Resources

  • Converting Coordinates
  • Common GPS Terms 
  • GPS Hardware and Software Resource List
  • Web-Based Resources
    • Merlin Online



GPS Useful Links


EasyGPS from TopoGrafix enables the user to upload and download waypoints, routes, and tracks between your Windows computer and your Garmin, Magellan, or Lowrance GPS. EasyGPS lists all of your waypoints on the left side of the screen, and shows a plot of your GPS data on the right. EasyGPS can be used to back up and organize GPS data, print maps, or load new waypoints onto your GPS for your next hike or geocaching adventure.

GPS Utility v. 5.20 enables the user to transfer data to/from a GPS receiver and store the data in PC files in one of several text formats. The program converts between different map datums and many coordinate formats (Lat/Long, UTM/UPS, country grids etc.). The user can filter information in various ways and sort waypoints according to specified criteria.

GPS TrackMaker is compatible with more than 160 GPS models, and contains support for Garmin, Magellan and others types of devices. The program enables the user to easily create maps with full integration with Google Maps® and Google Earth®.

Google Earth combines satellite imagery, maps and the power of Google Search to put the world's geographic information at hand. Users can utilize it for planning a trip, getting driving directions, finding a house or business, or for, in Google's words, "Exploring the world."

MERLIN Online (Maryland's Environmental Resources and Land Information Network) takes advantage of online mapping technologies to ensure the user has the best mapping experience with the most recent data available. This version enables users to navigate across county boundaries and to set the transparency of the data layers, among many other improvements.

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service's Web Soil Survey provides soil data and information produced by the National Cooperative Soil Survey. It provides access to the largest natural resource information system in the world. NRCS has soil maps and data available online for more than 95 percent of the nation’s counties and anticipates having 100 percent in the near future. The site is updated and maintained online as the single authoritative source of soil survey information.

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