There is no “best” method, it depends what you have to help you !
Eg “Devices” :
Road Atlas :
Ordnance Survey Maps :
SatNav device (Satellite Navigation) :
Smartphone / Tablet PC / Computer :
Different Methods of Defining a Location :
A full 6 figure Post Code typically covers an average of 15, but upto 100 properties - which in a built-up area, Towns or City can be an area as small as a single building - eg a block of flats. However, in the countryside where our off-road sites are typically located, this can be a very large area - more than a mile across.
For this reason Post Codes are almost no use for finding our sites & we don't bother providing Post Codes !
Ordnance Survey Grid References / Coordinates :
Not very common unless you have some oldish paper OS maps.
Longitude / Latitude Map References are generally a better choice !
Until SatNav (Satellite Navigation) devices & Google Maps became common, a more accurate method for defining & finding locations in the UK was using OS (Ordance Survey) Grid Reference & paper maps – as the maps provide the most comprehensive / detailed mapping for the UK & are divided into 1 km squares or grids.
By providing a Map Number & 6 figure Grid Reference, a location can be defined to within 100m using the more common Landranger 1:50,000 scale maps where 1km = 2cm on the map . The 6 fig Reference is made up of 3 figs for the East-West Reference ("Easting") & 3 figs for the North-South Reference ("Northing"). Accuracy can be increased to 10m by specifying an 8 fig Grid Reference.
NB 1 : Location accuracy is easier to achieve & more detail is provided by using the less common & more expensive Explorer 1:25,000 scale maps where 1 km = 4cm on the map).
NB 2 : The OS Grid References are based on actual distances in metres from an artificial origin and DO NOT relate to Longitude / Latitude Map References (as explained below).
NB 3 : Nowadays, the mapping detail provided by Ordnance Survey can be obtained by using portable Tablets, PCs, Smartphones or dedicated devices using OS based mapping software / Apps. This software / Apps typically permit use of Longitude / Latitude Map References as well as OS Grid References.
Longitude / Latitude Map References :
Amongst the easiest systems to use to locate places accurately & fast via GPS systems, modern SatNavs & Google Maps !
All of the above mainly use a Global Map reference system based on Degrees of Longitude (Eastings) & Degrees of Latitude (Northings) with 0 Longitude being a line North - South through Greenwich (near London) & 0 Latitude being the Equator.
This system allows anywhere on Earth to be defined to a very high degree of accuracy.
Historically , people defined positions in Degrees, Minutes & Seconds eg 51°57'29.2"N 1°36'38.5"W
However, many people now use "Decimal Degrees" since it is far easier to remember the string of numbers & enter them into GPS or mapping systems / devices. Eg 51.9581,-1.6107
NB 4 digits after the decimal place is usually enough to define a location to within a few meters accuracy.