D. Dimensions and Units

1. Definitions

A dimension describes a physical or scientific characteristic of something such as:

  • Length or Distance (including length-based area, volume)

  • Mass

  • Force

  • Temperature

  • Time

A unit is a dimension’s division of measurement. For example:

Dimension Units
Length foot, yard, meter, parsec
Mass ounce, gram
Temperature °F, °C
Time hour, day, fortnight

Although there are many dimensions, most survey measurements are angles and distances. With dynamic systems, such as the Global Positioning System, time is another measurement dimension. Combining measurements and computations allows determination of other dimensions such as velocity, energy, etc.