US National Grid (USNG) is the civilian version of the Military Grid Reference System (MGRS) used since World War II, and is the state and national location format for emergency response. It’s especially helpful for off-road or wilderness locations that have no addresses, and in disasters when street signs and addresses have been destroyed by floods or tornados.
USNG also makes the most sense for everyday communication of locations where addresses are not specific enough. In most cases, giving 8 USNG digits will locate a person within 10 meters (30 feet) in a parking lot, large building, urban park, or on a backwoods trail. Think of it as a phone number for your location (using just 8 digits locally or all 13 for nationwide location).
In fact, your smartphone is the easiest way to keep track of your location and tell it to others. Simply download www.usngapp.org on a browser, save it as a bookmark, make sure GPS is enabled on your phone, and you’re ready to go. Send the numbers to your friends keeping track of you, or to 911 in an emergency. You can also use them to locate yourself on trail maps with USNG grid collars, or vice-versa, use the grid collar to find your coordinates if you know where you are on the map.
Thanks to www.SharedGeo.org for their leadership and funding for this project. The continue to be an outstanding source of information and expertise.