GARS – Global Area Reference System

is a GRID that’s used by different US Government Agencies and the US Military

is a standardized geospatial reference system developed by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) for use across the United States Department of Defense. Under the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Instruction CJCSI 3900.01C dated 30 June 2007, GARS was adopted for use by the US DoD as “the “area-centric” counterpart to the “point-centric” MGRS“. It uses the WGS 1984 Datum and is based on lines of longitude (LONG) and latitude (LAT). It is intended to provide an integrated common frame of reference for joint force situational awareness to facilitate air-to-ground coordination, deconfliction, integration, and synchronization. This area reference system provides a common language between the components and simplifies communications. 


  • GARS divides the surface of the earth into 30-minute by 30-minute cells. Each cell is identified by a five-character designation. (ex. 006AG)
  • Each 30-minute cell is divided into four 15-minute by 15-minute quadrants.
  • Each 15-minute quadrant is divided into nine 5-minute by 5-minute areas.

GeoNames supports showing Map Coordinates in GARS

and Go to Coordinate/Grid to move the map to a GARS GRID Cell