Land Navigation Part III: MGRS

Our MGRS guide is a quick and simplified breakdown of the Military Grid Reference System.

We go over different measuring techniques when finding the distance between two separate points, how to determine an azimuth, the difference between the three Norths, how to convert an azimuth from grid to magnetic and from magnetic to grid, and finally what a 10-digit grid looks like when plotted. In our next and final Land Nav guide (Part IV) we will go over how to plot a grid point on a map.

We hope that this guide gets some of you thinking about land navigation as it is a great skill to have. At some point, you won’t be able to rely on your GPS watch or phone, and that’s when skills like this become invaluable.

Military Grid Reference System (MGRS)

  • Used for navigational purposes, to find your location and/or objective 
  • Map is made up of lines running up and down, side to side, known as grid lines 
  • Each line is designated a number 
  • Grid lines increase in numbers from left to right and bottom to top 
  • The grid squares formed by the series of lines are 1,000 meters on each side 
  • The precision of a location is shown by the number of digits in the coordinate 
  • 4 digit coordinate will bring you to within 1,000 meters of your objective 
  • 6 digit coordinate will bring you within 100 meters of your objective 
  • 8 digit coordinate will bring you within 10 meters of your objective 
  • 10 digit coordinate will bring you within 1 meter of your objective


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