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nautical mile

A unit of distance nearly equal to a latitude change of 1' at constant longitude. Cape Flattery is at latitude 48 N, San Francisco is at 38 N. It is 10 south, so it must be 600 nmi south. A nautical mile is very nearly 6,000 feet long, which makes is some 15 percent longer than a statute mile.

The official definition (required because the earth is not strictly round) is 1 nmi = 1852 meters, exactly. To figure the precise length of a nmi in other units, start with 1852 meters, then 1 meter equals 100 centimeters, and then use the official definition of an inch as 2.54 centimeters, exactly. In navigation, miles means nautical miles.

See also sea mile.

Abbreviation:  nmi

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