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Where in the world are you? Degrees vs. degrees, minutes, and seconds


You can specify your location on Earth using latitude and longitude. There are many different ways to represent latitude and longitude, for example in decimal degrees or in degrees, minutes, and seconds.

A degree is 1/360 of the arc of a circle, a minute is 1/60 of a degree, and a second is 1/60 of a minute.

1º       =           60’       =     3600’’ 
1 degree     =  60 minutes   =  3600 seconds

If you specify your location in decimal degrees, then the fraction of the degree remains as a decimal:
 HDD.DDDDº            92.755º

If, on the other hand, you use degrees and decimal minutes, then you’d multiply the fraction of the degree by 60 to calculate minutes and then leave the fraction of a minute remaining as a decimal:
HDDºMM.MMM’            92º 45.3’

If you use degrees, minutes, and decimal seconds, then you’d multiply the fraction of the minute by 60 to calculate seconds:

HDDºMM’SS.SS’’            92º45’18’’

Here at McMurdo, we’re at:
S 77.51º        77º 30’ 36’’     
E 166.41        166º 24’ 36’’