Math and Arithmetic
Units of Measure
Length and Distance

What is a meter equal to?

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November 22, 2013 4:50PM

Or 100 Cm

Answer

It is generally thought that the meter is converted to inches by the relation 1 metre = 39.37 inches (ISO Conversion Factor)

However, there are more than one correct factors to be used in this conversion. A foot (one third of a yard) can be either 0.304 800 609 6012 m or 0.3048 m. This is due to the fact that the Amnerican National Bureau of Standards originally defined a meter as:

1 yard = 3600/3937 meter or 1 yard = 0.914 401 8288 meter

so that

1 foot = 12/39.37 meter or 1 foot = 0.304 800 609 6012 meter

Unfortunately, everybody else in the world used a different factor. In 1959 the National Standards laboratories of English speaking countries modified the relation between the yard and the meter as follows:

  • 1 yard = 0.9144 meter
  • 1 foot = 0.3048 meter
  • 1 inch = 25.4 millimeter

This makes the "new" yard shorter by almost exactly two parts in a million.

But things never move smoothly. The US geodetic survey data decided to remain with the old measurements and conversions (1 foot= 12/39.37 meter) calling it the "U.S. Survey Foot".

Answer:

A meter is the latest in along list of measurements used by the human race that are equal to "about as long as my arm" which includes "waist high", the meter, the yard, two cubits and the ell.

Specifically meter is a unit of length established against suitable physical standards that can be repeated over and over again with no change. The standard has changed over the years, getting more precise, but the length remains the same:

  • Originally (in 1790) the meter was one millionth of the distance between the equator and the north pole. This was represented on a bar of iron (later changed to platinum) kept in Paris.
  • In 1960 the standard became 1 650 763.73 wavelengths of orange red light emitted by the element Krypton under defined conditions.
  • In 1984 the meter was once again redefined as the distance travelled by light in a vacuum in 1/229 792 458 seconds. It was specified that the time had to be measured by an atomic clock using Cesium-133 as its reference.

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1 metre = 100 cm = 1/1000 km = 1000 mm