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# Newbie Confused: Coordinates way off

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I don't get the coordinates system.

I look up coordinates using a site on Google:

http://gmaps-samples.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/geocoder/singlegeocode.html

and the coordinates are WAY different from what I see posted on the caches page.

For example, a cache by my house is defined as 38' 41.316 121' 08.532

but the Google mapper indicates it's 38.693650, -121.142378

Errrr . . . wait a minute! I think I get it. Is one using minutes and seconds

and the other using all decimals??

I'm so confused!!

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You are exactly right. Those are two different formats. If you go to ANY geocache page, right next to the coordinates you'll see a link that says "other conversions". Click on that, and then select a different format and you will see how the numbers change for the exact same spot.

It can be confusing!

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yup just a different format. I beleive in google earth you can change it to what you want right under tools, options.

Edited by Jayman11
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There you go. You got it !

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Errrr . . . wait a minute! I think I get it. Is one using minutes and seconds

and the other using all decimals??

I'm so confused!!

Actually the first one is not using minutes and seconds, it's only using minutes. You're right about the rest though. 60 minutes make one degree, so 38.5° (which can also be written as 38.50000°) equals 38° 30', which can also be written as 38° 30.000'. That's what you see on cache listings.

Edited by dfx
##### Link to comment
Errrr . . . wait a minute! I think I get it. Is one using minutes and seconds

and the other using all decimals??

I'm so confused!!

Actually the first one is not using minutes and seconds, it's only using minutes. You're right about the rest though. 60 minutes make one degree, so 38.5° (which can also be written as 38.50000°) equals 38° 30', which can also be written as 38° 30.000'. That's what you see on cache listings.

Actually, the first one is degrees, decimal minutes

38° 41.316 121° 08.532 Degrees, Decimal Minutes (there should be a degree symbol following the first digit, not a minute mark)

38.693650, -121.142378 Decimal Degrees

Sometimes you'll also see:

38° 41′47″ 121° 58′36″ Degrees, Minutes, Seconds

Typically, coordinates will also include N/S/E/W before each lat/long coordinate, ie.

N 38° 41.316 W 121° 08.532

However, when entering coordinates into a GPS only the digits and decimal point are typically entered

Great feedback.

Thanks to all.

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However, when entering coordinates into a GPS only the digits and decimal point are typically entered

ah, how does it tell the difference between California and India? I think it is pretty useful and important to also enter the NEWS and needed in front of the numbers. Although I will admit that most of in the north and western hemisphere rarely, if ever, change that part of the dialog.

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