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Formatting strings to coordinates

The data analysis adventure continues... I have read in the data, and am
now working on the various plots.

I have a string array, taken from the text file, of coordinates.
However, they are in the form "43.92S" ,and "176.50W".

I would like to be able to take this array of strings and convert it to
a numerical array or real latitudes and longitudes, from -90 to 90 and 0
to 360 so that they can eventually be plotted onto a globe.

I've figured out how to use strings to generate numerical values (ie:
'Jan' -> 1, 'Feb' -> 2, etc..), but not how to handle parts of strings
to modify the other parts.

Any suggestions? This group has been a major help so far!