Milliarcseconds (mas) are a precise angular measurement unit used in astronomy and geodesy, critical for highprecision GPS software. Understanding how to handle milliarcseconds and convert them to degrees is essential for integrating GPS data with applications like Google Maps.
Understanding Milliarcseconds
An arcsecond (arcsec) is 1/3600 of a degree, and a milliarcsecond is 1/1000 of an arcsecond. Therefore, 1 mas is 1/3,600,000 of a degree. This level of precision is necessary for highaccuracy applications, such as satellite positioning and astronomical measurements.
Conversion Formula
To convert milliarcseconds to degrees, use the following formula:
Example Conversion
Let's convert 150,000 mas to degrees:
Application in GPS Software
In GPS software, accurate positional data is critical. Here's how to use milliarcseconds in such software:
 Data Collection: GPS devices often provide data in various units, including mas for high precision. Ensure your software can handle these inputs.

Conversion to Degrees: For compatibility with applications like Google Maps, convert mas to degrees. This can be done programmatically as follows:
def mas_to_degrees(mas): return mas / 3600000 milliarcseconds = 150000 degrees = mas_to_degrees(milliarcseconds) print(f"{milliarcseconds} mas is {degrees} degrees")

Integration with Google Maps: Google Maps API requires latitude and longitude in degrees. After converting mas to degrees, you can use the data to plot points, calculate distances, or perform other geospatial analyses.
Practical Implementation
Here’s a stepbystep example of how to integrate this conversion in a Python script:
import googlemaps
# Function to convert milliarcseconds to degrees
def mas_to_degrees(mas):
return mas / 3600000
# Example coordinates in milliarcseconds
latitude_mas = 123456789
longitude_mas = 987654321
# Convert to degrees
latitude_deg = mas_to_degrees(latitude_mas)
longitude_deg = mas_to_degrees(longitude_mas)
# Print the results
print(f"Latitude: {latitude_deg} degrees")
print(f"Longitude: {longitude_deg} degrees")
# Initialize Google Maps client
gmaps = googlemaps.Client(key='YOUR_API_KEY')
# Use the converted coordinates in Google Maps
location = (latitude_deg, longitude_deg)
map_url = f"https://www.google.com/maps?q={latitude_deg},{longitude_deg}"
print(f"Google Maps URL: {map_url}")
Replace 'YOUR_API_KEY'
with your actual Google Maps API key. This script
converts GPS coordinates from mas to degrees and generates a Google Maps URL to
visualize the location.
Conclusion
Milliarcseconds provide the precision necessary for highaccuracy GPS applications. By converting mas to degrees, you can integrate precise GPS data into software applications like Google Maps, enhancing their functionality and accuracy. Understanding this conversion is crucial for software engineers working with geospatial data.