Geographers use the system of grid references to find their way around maps and to locate places and features on topographic maps. A grid is a system of intersecting parallel lines.

Location can be described by a four-figure reference (area reference) or a six-figure reference (grid reference). The area reference gives a general location, while the grid reference provides an accurate location for a place or feature.

Eastings are the lines which increase in number towards the east; they are vertical lines.

Northings are the lines which increase in number towards the north; they are horizontal lines.

To give an area reference for a place or feature: First, find the nothing grid line before the place or feature.

These two grid lines give the area reference of the grid square.

The area reference is written as AR then four figures, two easting references followed by two northing references.

To use a grid reference for a place or feature, you will need to be much more accurate.

Follow the steps for area references.

If the place is on the easting grid line, its reference would be - 0.

If the place is not on the easting grid line, imagine that the space between the easting and the next easting grid line is divided into 10 equal parts. The line scale of the map will help you divide the grid into tenths.

Count how many parts the place is east of the easting grid line in front it.

The easting is written as three figures, the first two for the easting before the place or feature, the third for the number of tenths.

If the place is not on the northing line, repeat the same directions for the space between the northing and the next northing grid line.

The grid reference is written as GR, then six figures (three easting references, followed by three northing references):