Recording decimal latitude and longitude

Charles Hussey cgh at NHM.AC.UK
Tue Jul 30 09:52:12 CDT 1996

>I am involved in setting up databases for recording specimen data at the
Natural History Museum, London. We have provided separate fields for
recording degrees, minutes, seconds and direction for latitude and
longitude, plus fields for decimal degrees for lat. & long. to cope with
output from GPS devices. In due course, in order to facilitate GIS analysis
of data, we expect to convert degrees/minutes/seconds to decimal degrees and
fill the decimal fields.
>In designing the system I had anticipated that decimal degrees would be
presented as a positive or negative number with up to four decimal places.
One of our researchers, who uses a GIS device has alerted me to the fact
that his GPS device outputs things as degrees and decimal minutes (114
24.567'E for example); which would indicate the requirement for an integer
degree field and a decimal minute field.
>Can anyone out there who has experience of these things provide details how
many formats exist for data from GIS/GPS systems and which are the most common.
>Your assistance would be most appreciated.
>From Charles Hussey
     Systems Manager, Department of Zoology,
     The Natural History Museum,
     Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD
     United Kingdom

     Tel. +44 (0)171 938 8921
     Fax. +44 (0)171 938 8940
     e-mail cgh at

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