GIS Thoughts


Graticule 2005

This weekend I’m travelling to India to deliver a keynote presentation at Graticule the first International conference on positional technology and Location Intelligence to take place in India. Understandably perhaps the focus on these technologies has been in the west, however this is changing.

India not only offers highly skilled engineers and scientists who are advancing the industry globally, but also has an enormous potential market for the next generation of “location aware” applications. I’ll report back on the conference here next week.

7 replies on “Graticule”

I work for the US Geological Survery and see the samething here….Some of our traditional topo map products are metric and some in feet. aside from that issue, at least most the US actually users only one unit.

Wish I had 12 fingers to count with.

I adore traditional measurements (nb: not ‘imperial’, traditional) and can never understand why people like you ridicule them and scorn our love for them. What have we done to offend you?

I find older, traditional measures more poetic, more interesting. I find the ‘tyranny of the ten’ dull and tedious. What particularly puzzles me is why it’s cool to mock traditional, colourful measures, but not cool to mock people who want their own language or culture.

If you want to mock us for liking to count in colourful ways, I do hope you also have the courage to mock the Welsh for speaking in an impractical language and the Muslims for worshipping an impractical religion.

But you probably won’t bother. Until there are enough of us to bully you, you’ll be content to bully us. It’s only human nature, after all!

I forgot to mention that ‘Imperial’ is not how traditional measures are referred to in America. It was how they were referred to in a statutory way in the UK and colonies, and even then only in the last hundred years or so. Actually, they are ‘customary’ measures.

But ‘Imperial’ is a convenient shorthand to mock them mindlessly, so ‘Imperial’ they will probably remain to people who only want to do things one way and can’t tolerate variety or difference. I hardly think that wanting to do something differently constitutes ‘madness’ – although that certainly used to be the official attitude in Soviet Russia.


Sorry you find the standisation of units of measure such an infrigment of your personal liberty, of course if you would like to continue to use “traditional” messures you should be able to, indeed pehaps you might also like to try other nations “tradional” units as well – how about the japanese shyaku (3.3 m) or historic measues like the cubit (2.187 m) – I wonder when traditional becomes historic ?

My point is that a standard unit of measure used by all makes life easier, and the sooner the UK adopts metric measures used by almost every other nation other than the US, the better !

My favourite example of mixed units is in the sailing world. Distances are measured in nautical miles and cables (1/10th of a mile) but depths are in meters. It is the only case I know of where the unit of distance used depends on the direction of the measurement.

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