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Distance formats for editing

In the project Options dialog box, you can add unit formats to your project that are different from your data. After adding alternate unit formats, you can enter them followed by the unit abbreviation in editing tools. These formats are described in the following sections.

Note:

You can use alternate unit formats with editing tools only in maps assigned a projected coordinate system. By default, they are set to units defined by the data you are editing.

Metric units

Distance unitsAbbreviationMeters per unitDescription

Millimeter

mm

0.001

1/1000 meters exactly

Centimeter

cm

.01

1/100 meters exactly

Meter

m

1

International meter

Kilometer

km

1,000

1,000 meters exactly

Metric units

International and imperial units

Distance unitsAbbreviationMeters per unitDescription

Inch

in

0.0254

1/12 international feet

Foot

ft

0.3048

Known as the international foot

Yard

yd

0.9144

3 international feet

Mile

mi

1,609.344

Also referred to as a statute mile, equal to 5,280 international feet

Nautical mile

nm

1,852

The average distance on the earth's surface represented by one minute of latitude

Link

lk

0.201168

1/100 international chain, or 66/100 international feet

Rod

rd

5.0292

1/4 chain, or 16.5 international feet

Chain

ch

20.1168

66 international feet

International and imperial units
Note:

The nautical mile is a unit of distance used primarily in sea travel and aviation. In 1929, it was defined as exactly 1,852 meters, or 6,076.11549 feet, a distance known as the international nautical mile.

U.S. survey units

Distance unitsAbbreviationMeters per unitDescription

Survey foot

ftUS

0.3048006096

Used in the state plane coordinate systems. To convert to meters, multiply U.S. survey feet by the fraction 1200/3937.

Survey mile

miUS

1,609.3472186944

5,280 survey feet.

Survey chain

chUS

20.1168402337

66 survey feet.

Survey rod

rdUS

5.0292100584

1/4 survey chain.

Survey link

lkUS

0.2011684023

1/100 survey chain.

Survey yard

ydUS

0.9144018288

3 survey feet.

U.S. survey units
Dive-in:

In 1959, the National Bureau of Standards and the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey changed the definition of the yard to bring the U.S. yard and the yard used in other countries into agreement. This change redefined 1 foot as equal to 0.3048 meters exactly. The name of this new foot is international foot.

It was also decided that any data expressed in feet derived from geodetic surveys within the United States would continue to bear the relationship as defined in 1893 as 1 US Survey foot = (1200/3937) meters. The name of this foot is U.S. survey foot. The two are related to each other through the expression 1 international foot = 0.999 998 U.S. survey foot exactly.

The difference between these two values for the foot is very small, two parts per million, which is hardly measurable, but not trivial when computational consistency is desired. Fundamental survey units, such as rods, chains, statute miles, acres, sections, and townships, all depend on the relationship of 1 meter equaling 39.37 inches exactly.