The strength and configuration of the geomagnetic field control the average shape of the magnetosphere. The pure dipole assumption and the virtual dipole moment (VDM), determined by individual records, have been widely adopted to evaluate the strength of the geomagnetic field in geological time. However, such an assumption might not be valid during geomagnetic transitions, such as reversals and excursions. The traditional spherical harmonic modeling of the geomagnetic field could be difficult to implement because accurate global records are lacking. Here, we report that an empirical relationship exists between the ratio of the VDM to the true axial dipole moment (VDM/ADM) and the ratio of the power of the axial dipole to that of the non-axial dipole (AD/NAD) based on a new method utilizing globally distributed inclination records. The root mean square global deviation of inclination (RMSΔI) to the standard inclination distribution of the AD was fitted to the AD/NAD with a cubic polynomial by utilizing a large number of geodynamo simulations. Tests with geomagnetic field models showed that the AD/NAD derived from the RMSΔI agreed well with that calculated by using the Gauss coefficients, and the estimated ADM was consistent with the true value. Finally, the application of volcanic records during the Laschamp excursion showed the VDM might overestimate the ADM by a factor of 3. Our new method will be useful in future studies that characterize the configuration of the geomagnetic field and the strength of the axial dipole.