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Imperial Or Metric?

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About a month ago, I was out caching with Alibags and Third Degree Witch. As we approached the cache, Alibags said the distance from the cache off her GPS, giving the distance in feet, I replied with the distance off my GPS in metres. To this, Alibags commented that I was about the only cacher she knew who worked in metres.


Last weekend as I was visitting a cache in Chorleywood, I noticed this sign



It all set me wondering, how many have their GPS set to metric, and how many to Imperial? Also, is there generally an age split? First vote is a 50 yr old, using metric.

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Always work in feet/miles (and I'm your age). But get confused when I go out caching with Haggis Hunter (who's a lot younger than me), who works in metric. Maybe something to do with the fact that he was in the army, where I expect metric is standard practice.


But then maybe I can't reply to this thread....as I am neither English nor French. ;)

Edited by Firth of Forth
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Imperial for us. When caching in the USA recently, some of the local cachers were surprised that we did - they expected us 'Europeans' to use metric.


I am 30, and was taught in metric at school, so for small measurements I prefer cm, but for caching I would have no idea how far say 3km was in my mind. Somehow when a distance is in miles, it's easier for me to picture how far it is.



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Perhaps I should also point out that is Alibags' fault that I cache in metric. When I started, I only used imperial, but then I did an Alibags cache. This involves walking 550 yards from the waypoint, but at 176yards (528ft) my GPSr suddenly changed to 0.1 mile. I immediately thought that 550yds = 500m, why not switch to metric? Found the cache, and stayed on metric ever since.

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Always work in feet/miles (and I'm your age). But get confused when I go out caching with Haggis Hunter (who's a lot younger than me), who works in metric. Maybe something to do with the fact that he was in the army, where I expect metric is standard practice.


But then maybe I can't reply to this thread....as I am neither English nor French. ;)

As FoF has pointed out I am indeed metric, roolku who comes along with us too, is metric as well, but then again he isn't French, English or even Scottish.


I take my metric side from being ex military where everything is done in metric, due to this I don't use imperial for anything other than driving and road distances.


A little tip for the metric people out there. For the average person a long stride is usually 1 metre. Good for measuring those last few metres when the GPS is going haywire.


I honestly can't fathom why most cachers within the UK use imperial? As when it comes to map reading you don't have any choice but to do it in metric. Unless there is a good conversion tip for when out and about. I guess if it works for you, then why change it?

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36 here and the product of the 80's modern teaaching methods!!!


so for small distances metric. inches mean nothing to me.

but then once any distance involved i revert to imperial. KM mean nothing but 1 mile does!!! bizarre.


weight is oz but liquids are ml !!!


and what the heck is farenheit? :D

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Distance / Speed in MPH & feet - only because I cant have speed in MPH and distance in metres on a 76CSX .. thats what I'd do if I could. BUt the metres for distances goes out the window when it comes to large distances ie how far from London to Birmingham which has to be miles - same as Nobby.nobbs


Altitude HAS to be in Metres .. its a old diving thing .. I know what 100m deep feels like and could visualise it .. so can do the same when it comes to hills


Temperature has to be Centigrade


Weights are Ok in Kilos / Grams and Volumes are OK in Litres.... But then Fuel consumption has to be mpg ... So I'd be pretty much metric apart from speed, fuel consumption and large distances :/


Age 44

Edited by S&G.Davison
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Similar story to some others her, I use a right mix of measurements!


When driving, it's always miles. It makes sense, signs use it, the speedo does, everything does. When walking or caching, again miles and feet. I would struggle to visualise what a distance given to me in m would be. With feet or miles I am fine.


When it comes to smaller measurements, I am ambidexterous! I prefere mm, not cm. Inches are OK, but would be my second choice. For volumes it has to be ml or l, except for fuel. Weights of things have to be in kilograms, although I measure the weight of myself in stone!


I'm 24, so was bought up and taught in school to use metric. I had to learn to think and talk fluent in imperial measuremnts when I worked at a builders' merchant. 95% or builders would stare blankly at you if you tried to give them any measuremnts in metric, even though all the stock would be labeled in metric (mm only, unless talking about a long peice of timber or something).


It's a funny place we live in here, one day, everything will be metric, gone will be mph, miles, feet inches, all of it. I gues we are the last generation who will be using alot of these measuremnts, as the kids that come out of school will have no idea what an inch is or how many to a foot!

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I drive in miles but cache in metric, only because my gps was set to metric when I bought it and I never got round to changing it. I will however, never change it back, it's all psychological I know but Kms are much quicker to walk between caches, and I know I would much rather glance down at my machine and see the distance to go falling more quickly. Just me being a lazy bounder I suppose.

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Age 36 and metric. I was taught only metric in primary school but suddenly at secondary school we were expected to konw imperial since most of the text books were so old. I would hope that this has changed!

Anyway can now use both metric and imperial but metric is a much, much better system. Please note that this is only my opinion but since I can use both I feel this opinion is valid :D

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Like a few others here I got taught in metric but live in an imperial world (no not material you Madonna fans!) so I use both everyday.

I've had to teach myself imperial otherwise nobody else in the family would have a clue what I was talking about although I still find it very bizarre - bushels and chains? What's that all about!!!!


For caching though I always use an O/S map so metric wins everytime.


Down the pub I'll stick to pints............

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It depends what I'm measuring and why.


For speeds: I use knots for navigating at sea and in the air, but mph for driving in the UK/US and kph elsewhere.


For water depths I use metres, but that's because I'm a Hydrographer and metrication happened while I was still in short trousers and learning the difference between compasses singular and compasses plural. Sonic velocities are invariably measured in metres per second, so it makes no sense to use archaic length measures such as fathoms or leagues.


For altitudes or heights, it depends what kind of altitude or height. For altitude and height (they're quite different things) in the aeronautical sense, I use feet. For hypsographic altitude I use metric measure because that's standard almost everywhere in the advanced world.


For land navigation other than by car, I use metric measure because modern maps are invariably gridded metrically and because I know my double pace distance per kilometre.


For geodetic calculations I use metres exclusively.


Some mapping systems do use feet, but they're a serious pain because there are so many different definitions of how long a "foot" is. For example, the US Survey Foot is a different length from the Standard Foot, which is different from the Ordnance Survey Foot, which is different from the Indian Foot; and all of those Feet are different from the International Foot.


For angular measure, I'm accustomed to the DMS.ssss convention, but the first thing I do when calculating with that format is to decimalise it and reconvert back to DMS format upon completion of the calc.


When working with UK land forces surveyors, sometimes I'm forced forced to use their infernal metric angular measure called mils. A mil is a thousandth of 360°.


When working with some of the older Norwegian mapping data, I have to use their rather quaint angular measure which they call "gon". There are 400 gon in 360° and the bear trap in that conversion is remembering to to divide gons by 1.1111111, not multiply, when converting to and fro.


The old joke among Surveyors about Geodesists that we like standards so much that we have lots of 'em!

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Born in 1960 I was taught both at school. My GPS is set in Imperial, but I use C for temperature. I am pretty compfortable with metric - my motorbike is Italian and has a speedo and odometer in Km which I have no problems with. When driving abroad I configure TomTom to give distances in Km so it is more consitent with the road signs. I confess I do tend to convert metric measures to imperial in my head.

Edited by Learned Gerbil
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I'm 57 and mixed up !


I use feet and inches for small household measurements ...

but "think" in Kilometres when out walking .

From years of map reading when walking I can judge from the terrain how long it will take me to walk somewhere in kilometres ..but no idea how to judge the time in miles , other than doing the 1 K = 5/8ths of a mile sums before starting .

Edited by t.a.folk
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Imperial for me. Metric is a dillusion.


One of Zensunni's was a "Dash and Cache" as I read the cache page. P*ss*ng down with rain and just a mere 500ft from the car park.


WRONG! Saw the 500 and assumed it was feet. Quick conversion: Just a quick run around the corner. What I discovered was that 500m converts to over 0.3 miles!




The other confusion was a cache I did with SP where you had to walk a certain distance in Metres. I reset the GPS to metric and off we set. Glancing down, when in imperial, as you know, when you see whole numbers as opposed to decimal, you're working in feet otherwise in tenths of a mile. Looking and seeing 276 makes you think that it is just up ahead - less than a hundred yards BUT IT'S NOT! Doh! More walking.....

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I'm definitely feeling in a minority...

It's metres for me, I'm afraid. I'm not sure why - maybe it's because I'm (only just) under 30 so it's what I was taught at school... and because I'm quite tall I reckon a metre is a longish stride. That theory doesn't hold out for my wife tho - she has to take 2 steps for every 1 of mine :D

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34 and metric all round. Don't think i've ever used feet/inches/yards.


Even when i'm back in uk (with EU/metric car), I subconciously convert all miles roadsigns into km, probably becasue that's about the only 'abnormal' unit I ever come across. Sure I can cope with miles, half/quarter miles, but wth is 0.1mi? Dunno about anyone else, but I can't even visualise that, but the GPS will tell me that in the car if I set it to imperial!

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Depsite being taight metric at school I still tend to use imperial, although for measuring some things I stick with metric.

Lengths/distances I always quote in imperial unless it's something small in which case I use millimetres rather than fractions of an inch (except guitar string gauges, for some reason, which I still think of in terms of thousandths of an inch).

Temperatures I always think of in terms of centigrade rather than fahrenheit.

Incidentally, have you noted that when decsribing weather, we tend to adopt the unit which makes the measurement sound more extreme? In winter "Brrrr...it's only about 1 or 2 degrees out there" sounds better than saying it's in the low 30s" But in the summer it's "phew what a scorcher - it's in the high 90s out there".

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34 years old here and I use imperial. The main reason is that we all (as far as I know) use Miles when on the road so it is useful to use miles on the GPSr - I can navigate to the cache site on foot in either feet or metres but I don't see much point in changing the GPSr into metric so it stays imperial throughout.


Incidentally - how many years has SP been 34? :D:D:D

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metric for me!!! But - then I was brought up in NZ which is totally metric. Miles confused me when I first got here as it seemed to take ages to get anyway - I'm used to it now (after 15 years) and when I drive the distances are in miles (because of the road signs), but I do most else in metric, including my GPSr

(except I have no idea of my metric weight, just in imperial)



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