Plotting UTM coordinates is an essential skill for a variety of outdoor activities from backpacking to hunting to adventure racing. Introduced by the US Army in 1947, it is the preferred method for representing a point on a map for the purpose of land navigation.
The simplest way to plot a point on your map using UTM coordinates is with the help of a UTM plotter, like the Brooks-Range Adventure Racing Plotter Pro.
To plot the point at the coordinates 345136/3877609 using the a plotter like the B-R Plotter Pro do the following:
1. Download and print the practice map.
2. Position the intersection of the horizontal and vertical rules of your plotter (origin) at the intersection of the UTM gridlines on the map that correspond to first 3 digits of the easting coordinate (345) on the bottom edge of the map and the first 4 digits of the northing coordinate (3877) on the right edge of the map
3. Now slide the plotter to the right along the east/west gridline to the tick mark corresponding to remaining digits of the easting coordinate (136)
4. Next, follow the north/south rule of your plotter to the tick mark corresponding to the remaining digits of the northing coordinate (609)
5. Carefully make a legible mark on your map, preferably with highly visible ink that won’t smear (fine point Sharpies are PERFECT)
Congratulations, you’ve just plotted your first UTM coordinate…in the middle of Pinnacle Lake at Table Rock State Park in SC!!
Paul “Yak” Angell, President