Getting someone coordinates jewelry with wrong location rather than the one you want to celebrate is like getting a misspelled tattoo. Both make for a cringe-worthy experience that takes time and money to correct.
We've received scores of questions every week about coordinates, and we thought it'd be useful to put together a guide that would help you:
(1) understand the basic concepts of GPS coordinates
(3) avoid the common mistakes that we see all the time when our customers try to find the coordinates for their gift.
GPS coordinates are two sets of numbers that help specify the unique position of any address point on the Earth surface. One set is the latitude, marking the horizontal position. The other is the longitude, marking the vertical position.
Note that the address has to be a point on the map to have GPS coordinates. This means a district, a city, a state or a country do not have GPS coordinates. They are too big to be pinpointed using coordinates.
For example, the Golden Gate Bridge’s GPS location can be precisely marked as
37.8199°N (latitude) 122.4786°W (longitude)
However, the entire city of San Francisco cannot be pinpointed to one set of GPS coordinates.
Latitude shows the horizontal position of a place relative to the Equator. The Equator is a latitude line that divides the globe into Northern and Southern Hemispheres. It is considered the 0° latitude.
Moving north or south of the Equator, the value of latitude increases from 0° to 90°. Any place North of the equator are denoted with letter N. South of the equator, letter S.
For example, the latitude of Golden Gate Bridge is 37.8199°N, meaning it is 37.8199 degrees north of equator.
Similarly, longitude shows the vertical position of a place relative to the Prime Meridian. The Prime Meridian is a longitude line that divides the globe into the Eastern and Western hemisphere. It is considered the 0° longitude.
Moving east or west of the Prime Meridian, the value of longitude increases from 0° to 180°. Any place east of this line are denoted with letter E. West, letter W.
For example, the longitude of Golden Gate Bridge is 122.4786°W, meaning it is 122.4783 degrees west of the Prime Meridian.
GPS coordinates formats differ in 2 ways: how you divide a degree and how you denote direction.
To precisely pinpoint a location, the degree of latitude and longitude are further divided. There are three ways to divide a degree, using the same Golden Gate Bridge coordinates as an example:
The GPS coordinates are written as decimals of degree:
The degree is broken down into minutes, where 1 degree = 60 minutes. Minutes are divided into decimals:
The degree is broken down into minutes and seconds. 1 degree = 60 minutes, and 1 minute = 60 seconds. Seconds are divided into decimals:
Sometimes, you might also see coordinates written in a numbers-only format: 37.8199°, -122.4783°.
The sign - is another way of indicating directions instead of letters. You either use letters N/S (for latitude) E/W (for longitude) or use -, but not both together.
Here’s a simple table showing you how to convert:
‘No - sign’: same as N
‘With - sign’: same as S
‘No - sign’: same as E
‘With - sign’: same as W
Whichever format you use, they should all mark the same address, and are easily converted to each other.
Just make sure you recognize that there are differences. Do not enter one format on an website/converter that uses another, e.g. check a DMS coordinates on a DD website. Do not round up a minute or degree decimal - it could bring you to a different city or state!
Also, consider how the format looks on your jewelry or gift. In our experience, DMS coordinates are popular due to its beautiful and balanced mix of letters, signs & numbers (see our best-seller Coordinates Bracelet). But DD format is the shortest, and suits smaller jewelry such as our Vertical Bar Coordinates Necklace.
At Centime Gift, we can convert any format to one that suits your jewelry best. If you are not sure, the simplest thing to do is to give us the address - we will convert to GPS coordinates for you.
We recommend Google Maps as the easiest and most accurate coordinates finder. You can get the coordinates of a location you have in mind or search for a place using its latitude and longitude coordinates.
To get coordinates in numbers-only DS format:
1. Open Google Maps.
2. Right-click the place or area on the map.
3. Select What's here?
4. A card appears at the bottom of the screen with the coordinates in numbers-only DS format.
To get coordinates in DMS with letters format:
1. Follow all the steps above
2. Paste the DD coordinates into the top left box on the same Google Maps screen.
3. Press “Enter"
4. A card will appear on the left showing the coordinates in DMS with letters format
Remember you can alway just send the address or GPS coordinates in any format to us and we will convert it to the GPS format best suited for your jewelry.
This is useful for checking if the coordinates you have correctly mark the place you want.
1. Open Google Maps.
2. In the search box at the top, type your coordinates. It accepts any coordinates format:
- Degrees, minutes, and seconds (DMS)
- Degrees and decimal minutes (DMM)
- Decimal degrees (DD)
3. A pin will be dropped at the place corresponding to the coordinates.