Difference Between Nautical Mile and Statute Mile

Nautical Mile vs Statute Mile

Mile (or statute mile) and nautical mile are two measuring units of length, where statute mile is often used in measuring distances, in the land while nautical mile is used in the sea. However, the use of nautical mile has extended into other fields of navigation, such as aviation.

Statute Mile

The mile, also called the statute mile or the land mile is a unit for measuring length in the imperial system of units. It got the name statute mile, from the fact that it was defined by an Act of Parliament in England, in 1593.

1 Statute Mile is equal to 5,280 feet or 1,760 yards. It is equal to 1609.34 meters and 1.60934 km. Before 1959, yard was not a convention as a unit and the length of a yard varied from country to country. US, England, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada used different lengths as a yard; therefore, causing variations in the mile. However, in 1959, International yard was adopted and the mile became 1609.344 meters.

The origin of mile was in the ancient Rome, where roman armies measured the distance travelled by the unit “thousand paces” called mille passuum. Therefore, it is used throughout Europe and the European colonies. But the exact length varies from country to country. Many versions of the mile were used before defining the international mile. Still these measures are used in nontechnical situations.

Scots mile, Irish mile, and Arab mile are examples of the variations used around the world. The metric mile is an approximation for the international mile by rounding down the values to the closest 500. The metric mile is 1500 meters and is used in athletics.

Nautical Miles

A nautical mile is a unit of length used primarily in navigation. In its conventional definition, a nautical mile is the length of one arc minute measured along any meridian. It is equal to the length of one arc minute along the equator.

The nautical mile is equal to 1.15078 miles or 6,076.12 feet. In metric units, nautical mile is 1.85200 km or 1,852.00 meters. It is abbreviated to NM or nmi for convenience.

Nautical miles are primarily used in navigation, in both naval and aerospace industries. Despite the rapid transformation in the unit systems, in the modern world, a nautical mile is a mainstay in navigation due to its close relation with degrees and minutes. It is relatively easy to measure distances on maps in nautical miles and can be read easily and referred to, as well.

The speed of aircrafts and, mainly ships, is measured in knots, which is a unit derived from the nautical mile. The knot is defined as one nautical mile per hour. 

What is the difference between Statute Mile and Nautical Mile?

• Both statute miles and nautical miles are older types of units used to measure lengths.

• A statute mile is 5,280 feet or 1609.34 meters, whereas a nautical mile is 6,076.12 feet or 1,852 meters. Therefore, a nautical mile is 1.15078 statute miles.

• Miles are used in the UK, USA, and Canada, in ordinary usage. It is rapidly becoming an obsolete unit in technical applications (in sciences and engineering), even after many standards and revisions are introduced.

• Nautical mile is still the main unit used in navigation, due to its close relationship with the angular measurements along the earth`s surface.

1 Nautical mile = 1.15078 Statute miles or Land Mile

1 Statute mile = 5,280 feet or 1609.34 meter

1 Nautical mile = 6,076.12 feet or 1,852 meters