The US Replaces Its Foot with the International One

The US Replaces Its Foot with the International One

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The U.S. is letting go of its definition of the foot used to measure large scale things and will be joining the rest of the world by taking on the international foot measuring system.

There have been two different measuring systems in the U.S. until now, both of which depict the 12-inch (30 cm) measurement known as the foot.

For day to day use in households and whatnot, it won't be such a big deal. It will, however, change a lot in the construction business, or during any long and big distance and scale surveying.


Fewer mishaps and confusion

The international foot is the smaller one, which adds roughly an eighth of an inch when measuring a mile. This is a big difference when looking into building long bridges, tunnels, or airport runways.

So why are there two foot measurements in the U.S.?

In 1959, the federal government stated that everyone should use the international foot measurement system, but allowed for a transition period for surveyors to get on board. That transition period has lasted 60 years, but will end in 2022, as per the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Institute of Standards and Technology's statement.

Even within the U.S. different states have been using the two foot measuring systems differently: 40 states and territories still use the U.S. foot, while the others already use the international one.

«The first foot is the U.S. survey foot from 1893. The second is the newer, shorter and slightly more exact international foot from 1959, used by nearly everybody except surveyors in some states. The two differ by about one hundredth of a foot per mile.»

— Andy Anderson (@GeoObservatory) August 18, 2020

The definition of a foot in the U.S. came about in 1893 when the government stated that one foot equaled 0.3048006 meters. Then the international foot came into play in 1933, which defined one foot as 0.3048 meters. Gone were the final three digits of the U.S. foot.

That difference has created chaos in certain construction and surveying projects since then. Thus the U.S. government's decision in 1959 to switch over to the international foot.

In 2022, that confusion ends.

Watch the video: How To Shorten a Chain (August 2022).