Frequently Asked Questions.
What are feature coordinates and how do I view them?
A feature coordinate defines a specific place on the earth’s surface. For each recreation location, several coordinates may be provided. Some coordinates may define the general location of the site, which is to say they generally identify the middle of the site and are intended to provide a reference point to assist in trip planning and preparation. Other coordinates may define important places within a recreation location, such as bathrooms, facility entrances, trailheads, or parking lots. These types of coordinates are intended to assist users who may be using navigational devices enabled with a geographical positioning system (GPS). Coordinates that define important places within a recreation location will have an accompanying description of the feature they are identifying.
Coordinates may be downloaded in either KML, CSV, or GPS file formats.
KML is a file format used to display geographic data in an Earth browser such as Google Earth, Google Maps, or Google Maps for mobile. Google Earth is a free program that uses a computer's internet connection to display coordinates in conjunction with aerial photographs of the earth's surface. If Google Earth is not already installed on your computer, you may use the following link to download Google Earth. To view the minimum and recommended requirements for Google Earth, follow the link corresponding to your computer type: PC, Mac, or Linux.
To view coordinates in Google Earth, click on the ‘download coordinates’ link on the location information page and either open the file with Google Earth or download the file to your computer. If the coordinate (KML) file is downloaded to your computer, you will need to open Google Earth and then choose File-->Open and navigate the KML file that was downloaded. From within Google Earth, you can click on a coordinate to view that particular place.
CSV is a specially formatted plain text file which stores spreadsheet or basic database-style information in a very simple format, with one record on each line, and each field within that record separated by a comma. Download coordinates in the CSV file format if you plan to view them with a text editor or spreadsheet program such as Microsoft Excel, or if you plan to enter coordinates into a GPS receiver manually.
GPS is a file format compatible with the popular PC freeware program GPS Utility. GPS Utility is an easy-to-use application that can transfer up to 100 coordinates per transfer (using the freeware version) to most popular GPS receivers, as well as having many other useful functions. Download coordinates in the GPS file format if you plan to use GPS Utility to transfer the coordinated for a recreation site from your PC to your GPS receiver.