What is a Nautical Mile? | Mile vs Nautical Mile


A nautical mile is based on the circumference of the planet Earth. If you were to cut the Earth in half at the equator, you could pick up one of the halves and look at the equator as a circle. 


You could divide that circle into 360 degrees. You could then divide a degree into 60 minutes. A minute of arc on the planet Earth is 1 nautical mile. This unit of measurement is used by all nations for air and sea travel.
A knot is a unit of measure for speed. If you are traveling at a speed of 1 nautical mile per hour, you are said to be traveling at a speed of 1 knot.
A kilometre is also defined using the planet Earth as a standard of distance. If you were to take the Earth and cut it in half along a line passing from the North Pole through Paris, and then measure the distance of the curve running from the North Pole to the equator on that circle, and then divide that distance by 10,000, you would have the traditional unit for the kilometre as defined in 1791 by the French Academy of Sciences.
A nautical mile is 1,852 meters, or 1.852 kilometres. In the English measurement system, a nautical mile is 1.1508 miles, or 6,076 feet.
To travel around the Earth at the equator, you would have to travel (360 * 60) 21,600 nautical miles, 24,857 miles or 40,003 kilometres.

Comparison chart
Mile versus Nautical Mile comparison chart
Mile
Nautical Mile
Yards
1 mile = 1,760 yd
1 nautical mile = 2025.372 yd
Feet
1 mile = 5,280 ft
1 nautical mile = 6076.115 ft
Inches
1 mile = 63,360 in
1 nautical mile = 72,913 in
Kilometres
1 mile = 1.609 km
1 nautical mile = 1.852 km
Miles
1 mile = 1 mile
1 nautical mile = 1.151 mi


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