Need: For the Camp Roberts XCTC National Guard Training mission, I will be given MGRS coordinates by the Range Ops via radio to locate troops for things like battery replenishment.
Equipment: Aside from other tools I will be given, I also have my iPhone (Xr with version 14.4) and a recently downloaded app I found called “Tactical Nav” by Capt. Jonathan J. Springer, US Army. Objective: I’m finding “minimal” documentation for this app so my objective is to figure out how to actually navigate to a MGRS entry from my current location.
Summary of Pending Action Items:
-Resolved: Saved waypoints are not preserved after quitting app
-Tactical Drawing Mode (Add-in) not loading
-Creating a route (via truck) between current location and a saved waypoint
-How to edit an existing waypoint name for a Troop Unit’s new MGRS location
-Pending instructions towards Resolved – Decision to purchase subscription add-on for offline mode – need to test cell coverage
Detail of Action Items:
Objective of offline mapping is that I can be in airplane mode (be off the cellular grid) and still have full access to a map — all layers. I tried this today and was able to see details on map while having cellular service turned off. This also saved battery, which is good.
My concern is the end-to-end flow of saving an offline map. I’m unclear of the actual process. I understand that the ideal place to download an offline map is when you’re at a high-speed internet location. My confusion is the method – I zoom into the highest level of the map that captures the perimeter of what I’m looking for; I save this as an offline map and name it. But… How do I know that I’ve also captured all the details down to the lowest level of granularity within the map?
REFERENCE (and additional info)
-I’m at home
-The MGRS for Camp Roberts is 10S GE 00047 61807
-Click the button for “Go to Grid”; MGRS; Entered the MGRS Code; Clicked Navigate. I get the compass rose.
Q: Now what? How do I now which road to get there? If I’m on the base, what’s the next step with this app?
A: At first, I was thinking that when you click “Navigate” it was going to be like GoogleMaps which overlays the map and gives point-to-point direction – based on marked/unmarked roads. In my case, I will be on an Army base in a truck. I’m now seeing that this app, when you click Navigate, is more designed for being on foot. If you’re in a car/truck, then you would just locate the MGRS waypoint and then drive towards it – you will see a green dot on the map, and figure out the best route.
Q: Do I need to spend an additional $5.99 for the “Tactical Drawing Mode” feature. If that’s the case – fine – but how do I know this? With the core app, is the only feature the compass rose after entering MGRS code? Does the Tactical Drawing Mode feature give me what I’m actually looking for – ability to enter a MGRS Coordinate and then know which roads to actually take, based on recent satellite imagery and possible names of roads?
A: I purchased the add-on. I was originally thinking that this would give me the point-to-point directions, but it’s more about making lines on the map, as an overlay. This could be useful for marking up suggested routes that I’m given from point A to B. I can also see it useful for marking a road/bridge that is not accessible.
Labeling stuff on Map
-I entered the Camp Roberts MGRS coordinate and just named it “Camp Roberts” and associated a basic pin. I then centered back to home. Then I entered “Go to Grid” and went back to Camp Roberts, and the named pin is still there. Even though I’m basically in the middle of the camp, at least it’s preserving the labeled name.
-Entered another “bogus” MGRS close to the Camp Roberts one I just entered. 10S GE 00090 61890 (Note: I’m making this up). At the new MGRS I just labeled it with something generic and “Unit 3”.
-Now I can click on the new MGRS “Anti-Armor3…” and there is an option for “Nav”.
-Now I’m back being given the compass rose…
-I still have the objective of figuring out, by roads, in a truck, with supplies, to get from one location to another.
A: This is more designed for navigating on foot, but can be used in map-mode by car.
Modifying a labeled unit’s name MGRS Location
Q: If I labeled a unit with their location, and then the next day they are somewhere else (which is likely) how do I update (Edit/modify) the MGRS for the label name (which is the actual unit name/number?).
A: Pending an answer from Jon Springer.
Response from Capt. Springer, which I’m really impressed with communication turnaround, considering he’s currently overseas:
-Bottom line, to navigate to the point that you have plotted, for instance, it’s as easy as clicking on the waypoint you’ve marked and then clicking the “NAV” button on the waypoint popup. The compass will immediately be displayed to show you where you need to navigate to (your selected waypoint or target). The blue arrow indicates your destination’s location, and other pertinent information is displayed below as well.
-My observation so far: Good to know I’ve been doing the correct thing by creating waypoints. Still need to know if I can maintain a waypoint name (name of a troop’s unit, for example) and update their current MGRS coordinate. The compass rose is great, but my movement towards troops will be in a truck (with supplies). I need to be seeing a map between current location and waypoint, so I can tell which road/trail to take. Also, there was some intel at the NOC yesterday that what looks like a bridge on the map has actually been washed out and is not navigable — therefore I’ll update that waypoint with a red-flag.
-Current thought: I’m thinking I need the add-on “Tactical Drawing Mode” for $5.99. The byline says, “You can create tactical overlays, draw up training scenarios, plan routes for operations, conduct after action reviews (AARs) and much more”. Based on the wording of this add-on, and knowing what I currently know about the core app, I’m taking the intuitive leap that this is the add-on I need.
-At this point, not sure if I need the add-on feature of being offline. I’ve been told that some parts of Camp Roberts has flaky cellphone coverage. If that’s true, then the app may not function as desired – we’ll see. If that happens, then I’ll get the 1 month subscription for being offline.
Purchasing and downloading the add-on “Tactical Drawing Mode”
-“Tactical overlays” — that looks like what I need. I need the navigation to be overlayed over an existing map, which is that actual satellite (Hybrid) imagery of roads, trees, names of roads, etc. It’s actually really good that I can see images of trees, as that’s likely where troops could be under to avoid the sun.
“Plan routes for operations”
-OK — on to the download…
Tactical Drawing Mode add-on
-Very easy to purchase, download and install
-Didn’t really see my next step, so I quit out of app and back in again
-Noticed that my two waypoints – Camp Roberts and the bogus MGRS waypoint were gone
-Note: For me, not a big deal, but what if I had a bunch of actual waypoints and then purchased the add-on…
-Plugged in the above MGRS coordinates for Camp Roberts and bogus waypoint
-I also quit out of app and went back in again; checked the waypoints I entered, and they are both not there.
-Within Settings, I also updated Tactical Nav to use:
–Location – while using
–Camera – turned on
–Document storage – changed to “On my iPhone” from “iCloud Drive”. Note: This is an example of documentation I was referring to above — if I hadn’t checked this, and left it on iCloud Storage, then I’m thinking I could have run into a lot of issues considering flaky wireless coverage.
–BUG WITHIN the add-on – when I enter and save waypoints, and then quit out of app, all the waypoints are lost when I come back in again to the app
-RESOLVED (for the waypoints) – within the blank folder icon; click on white folder icon; choose a saved name for folder (from prior) – in my case I called it XCTC; the saved waypoints then come back. OK. That’s resolved.
Wondering why I’m not seeing additional features of the add-in within core app
-Opened the iTunes app, and I’m seeing the add-in as “Pending”. Maybe that’s why
-Note: This may not be an actual issue, but I’m not seeing anything specifically within the Core App that’s about features of the newly purchased add-in
Test from Home
-Creating a waypoint called “Home”, based on current location
-Note: Reason I’m testing from home, is because maybe you cannot plan ahead with mapping out a route from a two prior saved waypoints. That’s odd, though.
-Created a bogus waypoint as a test
-I’m back to the compass rose again. My objective is to navigate based on an overlay with a map.