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Using
a GPS Handheld Receiver to Determine Distance and Area of Polygonal Plot 

 
This activity explores how distances and areas of convex polygonal plots of land (and concave plots with modification) can be determined using a GPS, The Geometer’s Sketchpad, and Excel. Mathematics: This activity involves measurement of longitude and latitude, the distance formula, Heron’s formula, and areas of convex and concave polygons. Mathematical Thinking: Conversion of differences in longitude and latitude to miles, subdividing regions to determine areas, devising a spreadsheetbased general method to calculate areas of polygons. Technology: The activity utilizes the position features of a Global Positioning System, basic construction and measurement features of the Geometer’s Sketchpad, and a basic Excel spreadsheet. Sample Screenshot: A spreadsheet using Heron’s formula to calculate the area of the rectangular lot, subdivided into two triangular regions, of Lambeth House at the University of Virginia.


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