Discussion How has GPS impacted our understanding of Civil War events?

major bill

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Aug 25, 2012
GPS is a great tool to to understand exactly where you are. This allows people to compare where they are to where Civil War events occurred. So has GPS influence how we study battles? Note some authors are including GPS locations in thier books.
 

DixieRifles

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I wish I was an expert with GPS. I wish I had an App that would allow me to plan a hike to go to several points on the map.
I have tried to use GPS at Fort Pillow, TN to mark locations of earthworks, peaks(& possible Confederate sniper locations) and the modern trails while wandering thru thick woods.
But there is a Problem. There are no cell towers and signals are bad. So I cant even trust my Elevation readings.
But you get the idea of how GPS can be used.

Also you can take the GPS coordinates and input it into Google Maps. One of my friends who researches WW2, created a spreadsheet of GPS coordinates and dates, unit ID, & text which he imports into Google Earth. (For some reason, I can no longer open Google Earth without downloading a program.)

Here is one such map my friend created. Each point has a date and a Unit ID. If not then it was his father's 752 Tank Battalion and lists the company or tank platoon. Some hills and locations are marked in White with GPS(expressed in decimals) OR the Army 6-digit grid coordinate. No enemy units plotted on this map.

Bobs Map.JPG
 
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ucvrelics

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I have a GPS based relic hunting app that allows me to log my finds with the GPS coordinates and then down load over a google map to let me see how things are laid out. It will even locate Fallen Timbers battlefield. :D
 

DixieRifles

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then down load over a google map to let me see how things are laid out
That is what I want to learn how to do. Do you have to "register" on Google to be able to do this?

Google Earth used to be free to use without registering. Now I can't find a link or an App that allows me to use it at all.

{Edited} Wait! I seemed to have launched a GE program. Finally!
 

Lubliner

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Chattanooga, Tennessee
Most military action maps I have seen were given excellent legends, as well as 1000-meter coordinates. These could be overlayed upon photo-recon imagery. For pin-point accuracy though, the GPS can be an extremely versatile tool, especially now that topographical technology has advanced.
Lubliner.
 

huskerblitz

Major
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Jun 8, 2013
Location
Nebraska
Wow that is interesting. I am not good with GPS so I started this thread to find out what I was missing and perhaps encourage myself to learn more about how to use GPS.
If you can get your hands on a pretty accurate period map, you can use modern maps like Google Earth or Google Maps to make an overlay like above. I find them really helpful.

Also of note, don't forget the Staff Ride guides also use GPS to lay out points for drivers. Very useful as well.
 

WScott

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May 6, 2021
I think GPS mapping and searching is a marvelous tool for the modern day historian. Knowing where you are on the battlefield gives you a more realistic view of what took place and the relationship of the different elements of the battle. Unfortunately, trying to learn how to use GPS on the battlefield at my age is a little to much for me so I'll just have to stick with the maps and compass.
 
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