Mukuti Sign showing all the places you can go and a gps necklace with the gps coordinates of your favourite place in the world.

GPS Coordinates Explained

The GPS Collection has been a joy to make and has provided a few chuckles along the way! The stories we hear about why a particular spot in this world means a lot to someone is my favourite part.  However there is sometimes a bit of confusion as to what GPS coordinates are or how we use them on our jewellery or whether or not you can track someone with it?

GPS Spinner Ring Made by The Zuri Collection Zimbabwe

I had a gentleman who called me, upon delivery of a GPS ring and wanted to know exactly how he was supposed to keep track of his fiancee with it?  Mmmm, so how you answer that question is a delicate one.  I explained that the GPS ring was simply a piece of jewellery with the GPS coordinates stamped on it – it is decorative and not a tracker.  I wanted to suggest, that if you have to keep track of her perhaps she is not the one, but thought it was best not to verbalize that thought!  He grumbled a bit but told me that it was a nice enough piece of jewellery and he would give it to her anyway! 

I have to say he isn’t the first person to ask if it would keep track of a wayward girl/boyfriend!  And here’s my “Dear Abby” reply: if you have to keep track of them it is best to let them get lost!  :)

Silver Rings Made in ZimbabweRings made in Zimbabwe

So what on earth are GPS or Global Positioning Systems coordinates?  They are everywhere and there certainly is an element of “Big Brother” in the whole thing.  I have a cousin who is involved in a rhino program and before anyone is allowed to take photos of his rhinos he deactivates the GPS on their phones.  It is on most phones these days and if someone looks at the properties of a photo you took while it is enabled, they can potentially find out where you took it.  You may have been asked to allow an App to know your current location.  This is done with GPS.  It is very much a part of our lives even if we don’t know it.

As with so many things, GPS originally began as a US Department of Defense project.  It was developed in the early 70’s to be able to keep track of the submarines carrying nuclear missiles.  Kind of sends chills down your back, but without nuclear weapons they may never have developed GPS. 

GPS is run through satellites.  There are two versions and both are operated by the United States Air Force.  The first version is reserved for use by the US Armed Forces and other US government departments.  The other version is the one you will find operating on your phone and is a worldwide service that is provided free of charge.  Conspiracy theorists would say that they only do that to spy on us! But after having to use “Track my Phone” to find my I-Phone one too many times, they are welcome to spy on me as long as I can find my phone!  If someone wants to be bored to tears let them track me – to the office, to the workshop and home – to the office, to the workshop and home!  

There are three formats that GPS coordinates come in:

  • Degrees, minutes and seconds (DMS) i.e. : 20 degrees, 42 minutes, 51 seconds S 
  • Degrees and decimal minutes (DMM): 20 degrees, 42 minutes S
  • Decimal degrees (DD) 20.0011 degrees S

So how do you read GPS coordinates?  Well once you know that the numbers are all related to the lines of latitude and longitude it becomes a bit clearer.  So for example for the latitude, Bulawayo is 20 degrees south of the equator, so if you give me an address in Bulawayo for a ring there will be 20 degrees followed by some numbers and the letter S, which is for South – so we are 20 degrees south of the equator.  There are two coordinates needed so the next coordinate will be for the longitude – so for Bulawayo we have 28 degrees followed by some numbers and the letter E, which is for East.  We are 28 degrees east of the Prime Meridian. 

Hope that helps explain what all the numbers and letter are on our GPS – Take Me Home jewellery. 

If you haven't yet seen our GPS Collection here's a link for you to follow:


Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.