The term "lineal meter" refers to a normal meter -- the standard unit of length measurement in the metric system. "Lineal" is a term taken from genealogy, following ancestry along a single line. The distinction between meter and lineal meter becomes important when dealing with square meters instead of those which deal only with length. Practical applications of linear meters are found when calculating how much of a specific material is needed to cover a certain area in square meters.

Calculate the area of the surface. Multiply the length by the width. For example: a floor with a length of 8 meters and a width of 12 meters has an area of 96 meters squared (8 x 12 = 96).

Measure the width of the material required. For example, covering the floor with wooden planks which are each 0.5 meters in width.

Calculate the amount of material needed to cover the area. Divide the total area by the width of the material. For example, a floor with an area of 96 square meters needs 192 lineal meters of wooden planks with a width of .5 meters (96 / .5 = 192). The surface will need 192 linear meters of 0.5 meter width wooden planks to cover 96 square meters.