Using Lat and Long Correctly for SAR

Latitude-Longitude Coordinates
It was brought to our attention that different formats are being used to refer to lat/long coordinates, creating confusion and frustration for our members.

In aviation, latitude and longitude are expressed in degrees, minutes and seconds, and/or decimal thereof. Official sources, such at Transport Canada and NavCanada have not adopted one standard and use different ways to show coordinates.

In Search and Rescue, the CAMSAR constitutes the official reference and guides our procedures.  While there is no reference as to what the preferred way to state coordinates should be, it uses Degrees, Minutes and decimal Minutes (DD MM.MM). Therefore, this format is what should be used in our communications.

The common use of this method will facilitate exchanges and reduce the potential for errors.

There is a variety of tables, formulas and apps available to facilitate conversion to DD MM.MM and you are encouraged to use them if need be.

I would ask that you ensure the members from your unit follow this format.

Thank you
Sonia L'Heureux
Provincial Standards Officer
Ontario CASARA