# NavList:

## A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding

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Re: 6080 ft vs 1852 m
From: Gary LaPook
Date: 2007 Oct 22, 23:01 -0700

```Gary LaPook writes:

You got that a bit wrong, the meter was originally defined as one ten
millionth of the distance from the equator to the north pole. The
nautical mile is the length of one minute of latitude, 5400 between the
equator and the pole. Since the size and shape of the earth varies none
of these are accurate at all places on the earth so the choice of the
length to use for the nautical mile is somewhat arbitrary. It used to be
defined as 6080 feet but by international agreement it was redefined to
be exactly 1852 meters, hence 6076.1155 feet, close enough for
government work.

BTW, going back to first principles, ten million meters divided by 5400
nautical miles equals 1851.851851851851851851851..... awfully close to
1852 meters per nautical mile, accurate to 8 one thousandths of one
percent, .008%

Dan Allen wrote:

>Occasionally you will see a reference to an "Admiralty mile".  In the
>1800s this was used by England and was 6,080 feet long.
>
>Today England uses a new "nautical mile" and it is a bit shorter at
>1852 meters exactly, or 6,076.1155 feet long.
>
>Q1:  Does anyone still use the older, slightly large British nautical
>mile?  Do any parts of England still refer to it?
>
>Q2:  Why was the change made?  Was it part of the move to metric in
>the 1970s?
>
>I know that the distance of a nautical mile was originally to be
>1/10,000,000th of the distance from the equator to the poles but
>early estimates of this distance were out a bit.  Was this an
>influence on the adoption of a "new" nautical mile?
>
>Dan Allen
>N39.997� W111.757�
>
>
>
>
>
>>
>
>
>

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