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Gps Coordinates


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I know this is an easy one to answer, but not sure what it is.


If GPS coordinates are: N 40 34.850 W 111 56.754 (degrees after the 40 and 111), and then in Mapquest, the same coordinates automatically convert to:


Latitude: 40.58083

Longitude: -111.9459


What is the difference?



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It is simply a matter of the format. Since there are only 60 seconds in a minute, and 60 minutes in a degree, decimal equivalents look skewed at first glance.


Decimal degrees (DDD.DDDDDD)= 40.580833 -111.945900

Degrees decimal minutes (DDD MM.MMM)=N 40 34.850 W 111 56.754

Degrees minutes seconds (DDD MM SS.SS)=N 40 34 51.00 W 111 56 45.24

And finally, just to really throw you off:

UTM (Universal TransMercator)=12T E 419946 N 4492657


All of the above refer to the exact same location. Geocaching.com uses the DDD MM.MMM format on cache pages. You can set your GPS unit to any format you want, although if you are entering coordinates manually, you need to make sure you are entering them in the correct format. If you are downloading them from your PC, then the conversion is done automatically by your GPS unit.

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Uh, format and datum are two different things.


WGS-84 is a datum.

NAD-27 is a datum.


A datum is a system for mapping out latitude and longitude coordinates by approximating the shape of the earth as something other than a perfect sphere, which it isn't.


Decimal degrees is a format for expressing coordinates. Mapquest uses Decimal Degrees. Geocaching.com uses MinDec (minutes and decimal minutes). Multiply or divide by 60 to move from one to the other. If both sites use the same datum, the numbers will mean the same place but just in a different format.


There, hopefully I've redeemed myself for my original flip answer.

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