Using Handheld GPS Devices

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GPS Devices are everywhere!  From our cars, to our phones, and even our cameras you can find global positioning technology embedded in many new devices.  Garmin GPS devices are currently being used by FCPS "STEM" programs to teach students the skill of using digital resources and satellite information to support navigation.

Geocaching, a "high tech treasure hunting game", can also be done using GPS devices on school property.  To learn more about geocaching specifically, visit

Curriculum Connections

There are many ways to incorporate the use of GPS devices and "Geocaching" into curriculum, here are just a few ideas:
Language Arts - make a literary geocaching trip for a novel or literary unit
Math - measure the perimeter and area of a location on school property
Physical Education - students can use a GPS device to measure speed, distance, and "moving time"
Science - mark the location of an experiment or outdoor location and study changes over time
Social Studies - hands on experiences to understand cardinal directions and basic navigation
                       - plot points on a field trip and create a Google Earth trip with information


Equipment Needed

  • Handheld GPS device (FCPS currently supports the Garmin eTrex Venture HC)
  • Approved "Waypoint" software from Garmin
  • Google Earth (for making trips or overlaying data)
  • Teacher and/or student computers



Screencast: Connecting your GPS to a computer


Additional Resources

Garmin MapSource Quick Glance Handout
GPS Tips from Garmin
Geocaching Fact Sheet from