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Gadget Fu: the USNG APP

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There will be a number of advantages to using the USNG App for navigation — not least among them is the fact that you only need an internet connection to use it the first time you visit the website. That's what OFFGRIDweb tells us in an overview of a new navigation tool that allows you to determine your exact geographic location in seconds.

Even if you're, well, off the web.

Says OGW's Patrick McCarthy,

“After you visit the USNG App site once, the data that makes the tool work is cached (or temporarily stored) in your device’s browser. Then, as long as your GPS chip is functional and you don’t clear your browser cache, you can open the web page at any time and see your USNG coordinates. No internet connection or cellular data plan required, since everything required to run the tool is stored in your browser’s cache.”

This is a tool that has applications for everyone from recreational hikers and campers to anyone who might be worried about having to give a precise location to emergency services in the event of an emergency (like a car crash). Many people believe this can be effectively accomplished using the GPS in your device, but that is actually not correct. In fact, the FCC has reportedly advised that phone location data can only be transmitted reliably up to 40% of the time. The UNSG App could help mitigate that deficiency.

Google Maps and similar sites or programs can deliver your latitude and longitude, but they require WiFi or cellular data connection to do so. That doesn't do you a lot of good if you're miles from anywhere on blacktop highway KK in Vernon County, Missouri or miles off the beaten track in Rocky Mountain National Park.

The USNG App uses, wait for it…the United States National Grid — hence the acronym.

This system was developed in by the U.S. Federal Geographic Data Committee, and is similar to national grid reference systems used by many other countries. It also bears resemblance to the Military Grid Reference System (MGRS) used extensively by NATO military forces, and as of October 2015, it is now the official location system used by FEMA.

Overall it sounds like an excellent tool to look at — you can learn more, and check out a much more detailed tutorial, right here on We'll try to let you know when the App is fully completed for download. In the meantime you can visit the website and begin using it here.

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