Working With GPS Coordinate Formats


GPS coordinates are usually shown in one of three formats. All of the formats shown below are for approximately the same location.

1. Degrees, minutes, seconds: 19° 30’ 06” N, 101° 35’ 36” W

2. Minutes, seconds with decimal fractions. Also sometimes called GPS Format: N 19 30.112, E 101 35.614

3. Decimal degrees: 19.50187, -101.59356 OR 19.50187 N, 101.59356 W.

Conversion Websites

There are many internet website converters. They'll let you enter a coordinate in one format and convert it to another. Here are a few sites:


Helpful Hints

1. All North American coordinates are north latitude and west longitude. That means they have an N either before or after the first set of numbers, then a W either before or after the second set of numbers.

2. Often this is expressed by showing no N or W, just a – before the second group of numbers, like this: 19.50187, -101.59356.

3. All GPS receivers we’ve ever seen can be set to use any of the above formats. Some readers tell us that very old receivers may not accept all formats, however we’ve never seen one ourselves that won’t. Sometimes you have to dig through the menus a bit, but the format selection should be there somewhere.

4. Many programs will accept degrees, minutes, seconds even if it seems like they won't at first. Try just leaving a blank space instead of °, ', and ". Don't forget the - in front of the second set of numbers. Microsoft Streets and Trips is one of these programs, Google Earth is another.

5. To type a degree sign on a PC keyboard hold down the control, alt, and shift keys with one hand and hit the colon key with the other.










 Mexico Book | Alaska Book | Northwest Book | Southwest Book  |  Baja Book | Europe Book
Vacations in Europe Book
To Order | Excerpts | Updates | Authors
Letters | Links | E-mail

Copyright © 1998-2009 Mike and Terri Church