Getting Longitude and Latitude from GPS Coordinates
written by: Misty Faucheux•edited by: Shawn S. Lealos•updated: 6/17/2011
If you want to find longitude and latitude, then you may be able to do this with GPS coordinates. Knowing longitude and latitude degrees is good for different reasons, especially for boating. Learn how to change your GPS coordinates into longitude/latitude degrees.
slide 1 of 6
Why Use Longitude and Latitude?
Longitude and latitude are the lines that run across your globe. The ancient Greeks and Romans didn’t know about these lines because they weren’t invented until the Middle Ages. Since then, however, people have been using these lines to navigate to different locations around the globe. You can convert GPS coordinates to latitude and longitude measurements if you want another tool for finding a location.
Some people are more familiar with longitude and latitude coordinates, which make them more useful than standard GPS coordinates. For example, boating nautical charts are written in longitude and latitude. Many boaters prefer to use longitude and latitude coordinates because of this reason.
slide 2 of 6
About These Lines
If you have never worked with these lines, you may be curious as to what they actually mean. Latitude lines are the lines that run horizontally. They are often called parallels since they parallel each other on the globe. Latitude degrees are numbered from zero to 90 degrees, running north to south. The North Pole is at 90 degrees north, and the South Pole is at 90 degrees south. The equator is located at zero degrees.
Longitude lines are pretty much the opposite of latitude lines. These lines are vertical, and they are commonly called the meridians. The longitude lines are the widest where they intersect the equator, but they come together at the North and South Poles.
slide 3 of 6
Now that you know about longitude and latitude lines, you are probably wondering how to use these lines. The longitude and latitude degrees are broken up into minutes and seconds, which are represented by the (‘) and (“) symbols respectively. The minutes and seconds provide you with the exact location of a point. To get even more technical, these longitude and latitude lines are broken up into thousandths, hundredths and tenths of seconds.
Each location on earth has an exact degree measurement. This makes the longitude and latitude measurements extremely accurate and precise. If you are searching for a location, you can use these coordinates to find exactly where it is.
slide 4 of 6
If you want to get the exact longitude and latitude of a GPS point, you can use different free services. iTouchMap is one of those services. You have two ways to search for the longitude and latitude. You can actually input the degrees, minutes and seconds or you can drag a pointer around a Google Map. The latter is probably the easiest way of doing this since you probably don’t know the exact coordinates of your location.
To find a location using the map, follow the below steps:
Use the zoomed out map, and drag the pointer to the country where your location is.
Zoom into the map into the area or state where your destination is.
Keep zooming until you find the exact location that you need the longitude and latitude coordinates for.
When you are done, the coordinates will automatically show up in the Latitude and Longitude boxes beneath the map.
If you pulled up the wrong coordinates, simply press the Clear/Reset All Markers button.
On this site, you can also enter the longitude and latitude information, and do basically a reverse lookup. This shows you on the map the area that corresponds to the inputted coordinates.
Another similar site is on JeepReviews.com since this is the vehicle that many people use to go geocaching and off-roading. This site provides you with two different ways to convert latitude and longitude degrees into GPS coordinates and one way to convert GPS coordinates into longitude and latitude coordinates degrees.
To find the GPS coordinates, you can put in the degrees, minutes and seconds, or you can input the decimal degrees. If you need the longitude and latitude information, input the degree and minutes of the GPS coordinates.
Other similar sites include the calculators on CSGNetwork.com and 123 Marbella.
slide 5 of 6
Inputting Info Into Your Unit
Once you get all of this information, you can input the longitude and latitude information into your GPS unit. Most units have different preference settings. You simply need to go into the settings and then change the preference to longitude and latitude. If you are unsure about how to access your settings, read your manual.
Generally, you change the preferences and then press OK or Next. Once the preference is changed, input the minutes and seconds of the coordinates. Then, you simply need to follow the directions the same as you would with standard GPS coordinates.
You have different ways to convert GPS coordinates to latitude and longitude. These services are easy to use and readily available.