As previously written, I enjoy writing about topics that interest me. When the topic doesn’t interest me, I tend to get a little cynical. In that vein, I'd like to share with you a question that got me thinking: What is the accuracy of each decimal place when a location is provided in decimal degrees? In other words, how long is a coordinate degree?
(Can you tell I am a GIS nerd?)
The location of the SSP headquarters is 39.5830852 degrees north latitude and 104.8371366 degrees west longitude. Is that last “2” in the ten-millionth latitude degree place really necessary to find the office? Let’s dig in …
Using those figures, we can determine what a degree actually means in terms of length.
If we break down the latitude degrees into decimal places and the distance between parallel lines, we get a conversion equal to this (Figure 1):
So, by applying these values in a practical manner:
So ... if SSP wanted to provide coordinates for clients to navigate to the office, probably stopping at the thousandths place would suffice. Want to try it out?
Stop by the SSP headquarters and see us. We're here:
39.583 degrees north latitude and 104.837 degrees west longitude