Latitude & Longitude

1.4 - Be able to use the latitude and longitude co-ordinate system

Latitude is how far north or south a position is. It is a co-ordinate measured from 0° at the Equator to +90° at the North Pole or -90° at the South Pole. Sometimes these are shown as 90N or 90S.

The Equator and Tropics are lines of latitude.

Longitude is how far west or east a position is. The position of 0° is measured from the north-south line that intersects Greenwich, London.
Although a circle can be divided into 360°, we measure the longitude co-ordinate up to 180° west or east of Greenwich.
 
The Greenwich Meridian and International Dateline are examples of lines of longitude.

Latitude

Latitude is a co-ordinate on the Earth's surface that measures how far north or south a position is. It is measured from 0° at the Equator to 90° at the North Pole. Co-ordinates south of the equator are preceded by a minus sign, so the South Pole would be at -90°. An observer can find their latitude by the angle to the Northern Celestial Pole (NCP) marked by the star Polaris.
Altitude of NCP = Latitude of Observer

 

Longitude

Longitude is a co-ordinate on the Earth's surface that measures how far west or east a position is.

A circle can be divided into 360° but for longitude we measure co-ordinates from 0°. Co-ordinates are located at up to 180° west or east of this location. The position of 0° is measured from the north-south line that intersects Greenwich, London.

The Equator and Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn are lines of Latitude.

 

Animation

Earth Map 360°

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Did you know?

Earth travels through space at 100,000 kilometres per hour

Links
  • Fourmilab See the Earth from any longitude, latitude and altitude
  • LatLong.net Look-up Latitude and Longitude