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02 February, 2007

Looking For Brisbane

I needed to know the latitude of Brisbane, Australia today (as one does) and discovered that finding it was not so simple. My first shot was to type ‘latitude Brisbane’ into Google. This brought up lots of relevant sites – but they all gave different figures. Here is a selection:

And so on and so on.

It seems that this is not an uncommon problem but, like others, I am astounded at the magnitude of it.

Since each minute of latitude or longitude is about 1.85 kilometres on the Earth’s surface and we have a latitudinal spread of 7 minutes and a longitudinal spread of 8 minutes, this means the location of Brisbane is somewhere in a box measuring 13 by almost 15 kilometres! Since the entire Brisbane CBD will fit into two square kilometres, this is an enormous error margin. You could get 97 Brisbane CBDs in a box this big! Surely, in this age of GPS receivers, someone could go and stand outside the Post Office and tell the world the true location of the place!

So where is Brisbane? Does anybody really know?

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