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How to read a Military Grid

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 1 0

Military Grids

            The main thing to remember when reading a military grid is to read it "right and up". There are numbers, usually in circles, that are running left to right and bottom to top. If you have a four digit grid like 7 0 3 3 you will first divide it in half. Then taking the first set of numbers (7 0) you will look at the numbers running left to right and find 7 0. This is your first grid line it runs vertically. Next take your second set of numbers (3 3) and look at the numbers running from bottom to top until you find 3 3. This is your second grid line, and it runs horizontally. Where these two grid lines meet is the grid 7 0 3 3. The entire box to the right and above where these grid lines meet is actually your grid. This grid will cover 1000 meters of land.

            If you happen to want to get a closer grid then more numbers will be used in your grid. (WARNING the following gets a little more complicated so if all you need is a four-digit grid than you might want to stop now before you get confused.) For example to get within 100 meters of something on the map than your grid may look like this 7 0 5 3 3 5. The same rules apply, separate the number in half, then take the first two numbers of your first set of three numbers to find the 7 0 grid line. Then take that 5 and imagine the grid separated into ten sections. Count over, moving to the right, five of those sections. This should have divided your grid in half. Now imagine a vertical line going through your new location. This is your new first grid line. To get your second grid line do the same thing with the second set of three numbers except you are now moving up instead of to the right, and the grid line is going horizontal now.

            If you want to get within 10 meters you will have an eight-digit grid, and to get within one meter you will need a one-digit grid. However in order to get that close you will need a protractor, or GPS, and I will cover those in other posts if you are interested.

            Often your grid will have a grid zone identifier in front of it. The grid zone identifier will be two letters like N U or N V. So your grid will look like this - N U 7 0 3 3. The reason for this is often your map will show parts of two or more 100,000-meter sections divided by grid lines numbered 00. If this is the case it is very important to include the grid zone identifier with your grid or you could be 100,000 meters off. The Grid Zone Identifier can be located in the Grid Reference Box usually at the bottom of the map.



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