How to Calculate the Degree of a Curve

••• highway image by Ekaterina Sidorenko from

The degree of a curve is an important measurement used in land surveying. You can determine the degree of any curve by first finding the circumference of a circle.

    Multiply the radius of any circle by π, a numerical constant that begins with 3.142, and represents the relationship between a circle's diameter to its circumference. Multiply that product by 2. This will give you the circumference of the circle. For example, if the radius is 5, double it and then multiply that by 3.142. The circumference will be 31.42, rounded to the hundredth decimal place.

    Multiply the length of a chord or arc by 360, the amount of degrees in a circle. The standard measure for each is 100 units, either in feet or meters. If you assume your arc or chord is 100 meters long, you will get 36,000 as the product.

    Divide 36,000 by the circumference you determined in Step 1. For the example, you will divide 36,000 by 31.42, which is 1145.92, rounded to the hundredth decimal place. This is the degree of the curve.


  • "Traffic and Highway Engineering"; Nicholas J. Garber and Lester A. Hoel; 2009

About the Author

Chance E. Gartneer began writing professionally in 2008 working in conjunction with FEMA. He has the unofficial record for the most undergraduate hours at the University of Texas at Austin. When not working on his children's book masterpiece, he writes educational pieces focusing on early mathematics and ESL topics.

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  • highway image by Ekaterina Sidorenko from