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July 1, 2019

#2170: Coordinate Precision

Coordinate Precision

[Single panel containing a table with two columns for “Lat/Lon Precision” and “Meaning” and a caption above the table.]

Caption: What The Number of Digits in Your Coordinates Means

[Row 1]

Lat/Lon: 28°N, 80°W

Meaning: You’re probably doing something space-related

[Row 2]

Lat/Lon: 28.5°N, 80.6°W

Meaning: You’re pointing out a specific city

[Row 3]

Lat/Lon: 28.52°N, 80.68°W

Meaning: You’re pointing out a neighborhood

[Row 4]

Lat/Lon: 28.523°N, 80.683°W

Meaning: You’re pointing out a specific suburban cul-de-sac

[Row 5]

Lat/Lon: 28.5234°N, 80.6830°W

Meaning: You’re pointing to a particular corner of a house

[Row 6]

Lat/Lon: 28.52345°N, 80.68309°W

Meaning: You’re pointing to a specific person in a room, but since you didn’t include datum information, we can’t tell who

[Row 7]

Lat/Lon: 28.5234571°N, 80.6830941°W

Meaning: You’re pointing to Waldo on a page

[Row 8]

Lat/Lon: 28.523457182°N, 80.683094159°W

Meaning: “Hey, check out this specific sand grain!”

[Row 9]

Lat/Lon: 28.523457182818284°N, 80.683094159265358°W

Meaning: Either you’re handing out raw floating point variables, or you’ve built a database to track individual atoms. In either case, please stop.