This standard, SAE1002, is a republication of FGDC-STD-011-2001, and defines a preferred USNG for mapping applications at scales of approximately 1:1000000 and larger. It defines how to present Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) coordinates at various levels of precision. It specifies the use of those coordinates with the grid system defined by the Military Grid Reference System (MGRS). Additionally, it addresses specific presentation issues such as grid spacing. Together, the UTM coordinate representation, the MGRS grid, and the specific grid presentation requirements define the USNG.
Use of USNG grid coordinates may be useful, and even desirable, within some systems or enterprises. The decision to use USNG grid coordinates or some other coordinate system internal to geographic information systems or location service appliances is left to the discretion of the system developer as long as the human interface provides for USNG grid coordinate readout as one option.
The U.S. National Grid (USNG) is the civilian version of the Military Grid Reference System (MGRS) the Department of Defense uses for tactical operations. The USNG enables geoaddressing incident locations from 100 m to 1 m precision. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) teams have been using USNG for years but many other first responder organizations and agencies are slow in adopting it. Examples include E911, Firstnet™, the Coast Guard, and state/local emergency response jurisdictions. In October, 2017, FEMA issued its third edition of the National Incident Management System, which states, “The (U.S.) National Grid is simple to apply to support risk assessment, planning, response, and recovery operations. Individuals, public agencies, voluntary organizations, and commercial enterprises may use the National Grid within and across diverse geographic areas and disciplines. The use of the National Grid promotes consistent situational awareness across all levels of government, disciplines, threats, and hazards, regardless of an individual or program’s role.” Adoption of the USNG as an SAE International standard by its Position, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Committee will enhance the Committee’s ongoing work in Critical Infrastructure support efforts relative to mobilization and coordination of resources for all types of emergency response operations.