San Vicente map MapGazer – coordinate formats


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Latitude and longitude coordinates can be written in many different formats, including pure degrees, degrees and minutes, and degrees with minutes and seconds. All of these may be signed (+ or −) or may have their direction indicated by North or South of the equator (for latitude) or East or West of the Greenwich meridian (for longitude). MapGazer uses the 1984 World Geodetic System (WGS84) coordinate system.

Displayed formats

You may select the format that MapGazer uses for displaying coordinates using the Settings → Coordinate formats menu items, which lets you choose between:
  Degrees°minutes′seconds″   e.g., N52°08′18.9″ W1°44′47.0″
  Degrees°minutes   e.g., N52°08.314 W1°44.784
  Degrees (5 fractional digits)   e.g., 52.13857 −1.74640
  Degrees (6 fractional digits)   e.g., 52.138572 −1.746397
  UTM (Universal Transverse Mercator)   e.g., 30U 585792 5777191

Input formats

MapGazer accepts all the ‘Degrees’ formats above (but not the UTM format) when parsing entered coordinates, as in the Map → Go to coordinates dialog (available from menus, or press the ‘g’ key):

<i>Go to coordinates</i> dialog

Go to coordinates dialog

It also accepts a number of variations on the degrees formats, including:

  • The separator between latitude and longitude may include, or be only, a comma.
  • The directional sign (N, E, S, W, +, −) may be in lowercase if a letter and may follow rather than precede the rest of a coordinate.
  • The degrees, minutes, or seconds indicator may be a colon (‘:’) instead of °, ′, or ″.
  • The degrees indicator may also be a lowercase O (‘o’) or one of various other codes from different codepages (e.g., the Windows command prompt codepage).
  • Multiple leading zeros are accepted on any number.

A more formal description of what is accepted is below. Here are some examples:

  12:15:59.05s   003:12.768w
  S17o12:00.57  W91:15:12:


Input formats definition

A position is described by a text string that contains two coordinates: a latitude and a longitude (in that order) in a variety of formats.

The overall format is (square brackets indicate optional parts):

  [whitespace] latitude separation longitude [whitespace]

where whitespace is zero or more spaces, tabs, carriage returns, or line feeds in any combination and separation is whitespace then an optional comma followed by more whitespace, and must have at least one whitespace character or comma.

latitude and longitude are of the form:

  [sign] amount [sign]

where sign for latitude is one of ‘Nn+’ for a latitude north of or including the equator and is one of ‘Ss−’ for a latitude south of or including the equator; similarly, the sign for longitude is one of ‘Ee+’ for a longitude east of or including the Greenwich meridian and is one of ‘Ww−’ for a a longitude west of or including the Greenwich meridian. In both cases, only one sign (before or after the amount) is allowed, and the default sign is ‘+’.

amount is of the form:

  number [degchar [number [minchar [number [secchar]]]]]

where each number is an unsigned decimal number which must start with a digit. Only the final number included in the coordinate may include an embedded decimal point and following decimal digits (fractional part). The three numbers are valued as degrees, minutes, and seconds respectively.

The first number must be in the range 0 through 90 (for latitude) or 0 through 180 (for longitude). The other two numbers may be 0 up to (but not including) 60. Extra leading zeros are permitted for all numbers.

The accepted separator characters are:

  degchar: ':', 'o', or degree symbols ('\xb0', '\xba', '\xf8')
  minchar: ':' or single quote
  secchar: ':' or double quote

For example, the following strings are accepted:

  43.754 -3.200
  N12:15:59.05 W003:12.768
  N120o35'05.15  W091:44.768:

Note that latitude and longitude are not required to use the same notations.

MapGazer and these web pages were written by Mike Cowlishaw; Please send me any corrections, suggestions, etc.
All content Copyright © Mike Cowlishaw, 2014–2020, except where marked otherwise. All rights reserved. The pages here, and the MapGazer program, are for non-commercial use only. Privacy policy: the Speleotrove website records no personal information and sets no ‘cookies’. However, statistics, etc. might be recorded by the web hosting service.

This page was last updated on 2018-09-20 by mfc.