Global Positioning System (GPS)


GPS is one of the primary data collection tools used for recording coordinates of places.


Checklist for IMOs and HAOs who will use GPS to collect geographic data ( adopted from Field Guide to Humanitarian Mapping)

Time of assessment

Points to remember


Insert new batteries and switch GPS unit on to “warm up” and allow it to locate itself.

Select the coordinate system. Either Decimal Degrees, Degrees Minutes Seconds, or UTM and record.

Check the datum is WGS84 and record.


Check the tracklog will record at an appropriate frequency.

Take a waypoint of your current location and start a tracklog.

When done, stop tracklog.


Download data to a laptop

Enter your recorded waypoint recording sheet data into a spreadsheet.

If you are handing your GPS or data to someone else, talk to them and make sure they understand what you are giving them.