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• # Methods of Expressing Direction

Military personnel need a way of expressing direction that is accurate, is adaptable to any part of the world, and has a common unit of measure. Directions are expressed as units of angular measure.

a.   Degree. The most common unit of measure is the degree (°) with its subdivisions of minutes (') and seconds (").

1 degree = 60 minutes.

1 minute = 60 seconds.

b.   Mil. Another unit of measure, the mil (abbreviated ), is used mainly in artillery, tank, and mortar gunnery. The mil expresses the size of an angle formed when a circle is divided into 6,400 angles, with the vertex of the angles at the center of the circle. A relationship can be established between degrees and mils. A circle equals 6400 mils divided by 360 degrees, or 17.78 mils per degree. To convert degrees to mils, multiply degrees by 17.78.

c.   Grad. The grad is a metric unit of measure found on some foreign maps. There are 400 grads in a circle (a 90-degree right angle equals 100 grads). The grad is divided into 100 centesimal minutes (centigrads) and the minute into 100 centesimal seconds (milligrads). 