Suppose you are in a ship crossing the ocean, or making your way across some huge desert that has no landmarks. How could you describe your exact location so that anyone in the world could find you? That is what latitude and longitude do. They provide the means for locating a place anywhere on the earth’s surface.
If we want to locate a place in terms of its position north or south, we refer to the latitude. We call the line running around the center of the earth the Equator. It has zero latitudes. As we go north of the Equator, we have north latitude, and as’ we go south of it, we have south latitude. Imagine lines drawn around the earth at certain regular distances north and south of the Equator. These lines are called “parallels” because they are all parallel to each other and to the Equator. The distance between each line is measured not in miles, but in degrees. A degree is of a circle.
Every 15 degrees we have another line of latitude. As we reach the At the North Pole, we have 90 degrees latitude north, and at the South Pole, we have degrees south.
Now suppose we want to measure distance east and west. The lines we use are called longitude. But what should our starting point be? A long time ago it was decided to use a line that passed through Greenwich, England, as the zero lines for longitude. Lines of longitude are called “meridians”, so the line passing through Greenwich is the prime meridian. As we move cast of this line, at distances of 15 degrees, we have east longitude, and as we move west, we have west longitude. To get an even more exact measurement, a degree is divided into 60 minutes, and a minute into 60 seconds.
How Do You Read Latitude And Longitude?
When outlining the coordinates of a location, the line of latitude is always given first followed by the line of longitude. Therefore, the coordinates of this location will be 10°N latitude, 70°W longitude. The line of latitude is read as 41 degrees (41°), 24 minutes (24′), 12.2 seconds (12.2”) north.