How To Find a Location Using Coordinates

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How To Find a Location Using Coordinates
How To Find a Location Using Coordinates (Image: jghphoto21)

Locating a position on a map using coordinates can be relatively simple; however, to make it easier for the human eye to determine exact coordinates, a simple decimal degree (DD) is often converted into degree:minute:second (DMS) format. One would need to convert this from its current form back into a decimal degree to manually find it on a map.

Recognize the parts of the DMS coordinate. For example, a coordinate reading 45°23'19"N means the location is at latitude 45 degrees, 23 minutes and 19 seconds North.

Convert the minutes into seconds. Multiply 23 by 60 to get 1380 (23 x 60 = 1380).

Add the number of seconds in the DMS coordinate with the resultant number of seconds from Step 2. In this case, 19 plus 1380 renders 1399 (19 + 1380 = 1399).

Divide the number of seconds by 3600 (since there are 3600 seconds in an hour). So, 1399 divided by 3600 equals 0.38861 repeating (1399 / 3600 = 0.38861¯).

Add the fractional amount to the whole degree amount. In this instance, 45 plus 0.38861, which yields 45.38861° (45 + 0.38861 = 45.38861). This is the decimal degree version of the coordinate.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the coordinate is West or South, a negative sign would appear before the number to indicate such (for example, 80°50'12"W would be -80.8367°).

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