There are a bunch of questions on this site with measurements in miles, feet, etc. I'm an imperial system hater, so it annoys me. I'm wondering if this measurement system is still used anywhere in the world in the geosciences?

I recognise that it's still used in the US and partially in a few other countries for ley usage, so I wouldn't suggest banning it from the site or anything, but I'm wondering if we could have a policy of always including metric equivalents in parentheses when imperial system units are used? That would instantly make all of those questions much easier to understand for the majority of the world who've had the system for 50-60 years.

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    $\begingroup$ I completely agree. The only places I see it used in the professional literature is in old US publications, such as maps etc. $\endgroup$ – Gimelist Sep 11 '14 at 7:35

The rule on other science SE sites I'm on is that SI units have supremacy (except on Physics.SE where natural units have primacy when the context suits).

I propose adopting the following rule here.

SI units are mandated. If someone insists on using imperial units, they should use the SI unit, and then put the equivalent imperial unit in parentheses.

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  • $\begingroup$ Would you care to clarify as to why imperial's being treated as a serious no-no? $\endgroup$ – JohnWDailey Mar 3 at 14:54
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnWDailey because for very many years, SI units are the units of science. Imperial units are both intellectually and geographically constrained. $\endgroup$ – 410 gone Mar 3 at 15:47
  • $\begingroup$ "Intellectually constrained"...meaning what? $\endgroup$ – JohnWDailey Mar 3 at 16:18

Imperial units are still used in the oil and gas industry in the USA, which unfortunately leaks out into the rest of the world. In Australia sonic log measurements are still often reported as microseconds per foot, and well bore diameters are reported in inches, for example.

I second EnergyNumbers proposal. Imperial units are just stupid.

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    $\begingroup$ "the oil and gas industry ... which unfortunately leaks out into the rest of the world" - oh dear. $\endgroup$ – naught101 Sep 12 '14 at 1:43
  • $\begingroup$ Haha pun not intended. $\endgroup$ – stevej Sep 12 '14 at 4:29
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    $\begingroup$ I agree. I'm not sure what qualifies as the most messed up industry practice: the use of M for thousands and MM for millions (I suppose it's Imperial... from the Roman Empire), or calculating velocity in ft/s and density in g/cc. It's amazing we get anything done. $\endgroup$ – kwinkunks Sep 15 '14 at 1:37
  • $\begingroup$ MM in Roman numerals would be 2000, so they can't have that one. $\endgroup$ – naught101 Sep 23 '14 at 3:50

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