The different formats for coordinates and how do you type “°”, a degree symbol?

The different formats for mapping coordinates have to be typed in exactly and they are not interchangeable. However, Google Maps will take any format (pretty amazing).  I like to keep it simple so, I generally only use the Decimal Degrees (DD) format (34.03439 -112.7397, the Box Canyon cleanup coordinates, as an example). You do not have to worry about typing in the degree “°” symbol.  Under preferences in GAIAgps you can set this up to only use the DD format.

For example, on the Club’s website the Box Canyon Cleanup, near Wickenburg, is scheduled for February 26 (Please sign up!!!!). They use the following Degrees, Minutes, Seconds coordinate (DMS) format (34°02’03.8″N 112°44’22.9″W). I had to research how in the world do you type in the degree symbol on my PC. Well, it turns out, you have to hold down the “Alt” key and while you hold it down with your left hand you type in 0176 on the number pad with your right hand and then let up the Alt key and by golly the degree symbol will magically appear. I never knew that.

Now for an iphone, which everyone uses Google Maps on to get to our location, you have to do something different, use your “symbol” key (#+=) and then hold down the “0” key. Above it you will see both symbols “° 0” and I had to literally slide my finger up to designate the degree symbol. That took some practice.   Now you know why I use only the Decimal Degrees (DD) format and I encourage everyone else to use this format as well.

There are web pages that will give you a “converter”, converting the DMS format to the DD format, one of which is: Unfortunately, you will still have to type in the degree symbol at some point. The converted format for the Box Canyon Cleanup is: 34.03439 -112.7397. Google Maps will not accept using N or W but you need this when using the DMS format.

Keith Menasco


  1. This is what I do: highlight the coordinates. right click on the highlighted coordinates. Gives you some options…click search Google. Brings you to the map marking the coordinates. click on it. If your phone is synced with the computer, it will now be available on your phone.

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