Longitude and latitude definition

Cartographers and geographers trace horizontal and vertical lines called latitudes and longitudes across Earth's surface to locate points on the globe. The Earth is, almost, but not quite, a sphere that rotates around its axis.

Scientists call this shape a spheroid or ellipsoid. If we draw a line passing through the center of the Earth along its rotational axis, the line would pass through the North and the South Pole. The Equator is an imaginary line perpendicular to this axis. Most locations on the Equator experience consistently high temperatures throughout the year. They also experience at least 12 hours of daylight every day during the year.

On the Equinoxes — September and March — the Sun is directly overhead the Equator, resulting in almost exactly 12 hour days and 12 hour nights. Often called parallels or circles of latitudelatitudes are imaginary circles parallel to the Equator. They are named after the angle created by a line connecting the latitude and the center of the Earth, and the line connecting the Equator and the center of the Earth.

Latitudes specify the north-south position of a location on the globe. Locations in the Northern Hemisphere are identified by northern latitudes and are assigned a suffix of N for north.

Southern Hemisphere locations, on the other hand, are on southern latitudes and are assigned a suffix of S for south. Find celestial objects in the sky. In addition to the Equator, there are four other major latitudes that are usually found on maps and globes. The positions of these latitudes are determined by the Earth's axial tilt.

All locations falling north of this latitude are said to be in the Arctic Circle. Any locations falling south of this latitude are said to be in the Antarctic Circle. Places in both the Arctic and Antarctic circles experience the Midnight Sun and polar night. It marks the northern-most position on the Earth, where the Sun is directly overhead at least once a year. It is the southern-most position on the globe, where the Sun is directly overhead during the December Solstice.

Sometimes, latitudes north of the Equator are denoted by a positive sign. Latitudes south of the Equator are given negative values. This eliminates the need to add whether the specified latitude is north or south of the Equator.

Longitudes are geographical positioning markers that run from the geographical North Pole to the geographical South Pole, intersecting the Equator. They meet at both Poles, and specify the east-west position of a location. Longitudes are, therefore, imaginary circles that intersect the North and South Poles and the Equator.

Half of a longitudinal circle is known as a Meridian. Meridians are perpendicular to every latitude.

longitude and latitude definition

Unlike, latitudes, there is no obvious central longitude. However, in order to measure the position of a location based on the longitude, cartographers and geographers over the course of history have designated different locations as the main longitudinal reference point.

Today, the meridian line through Greenwich, England, is considered as the reference point for longitudes. This line is also known as the Prime Meridian. All the other longitudes are measured and named after the angle they make with respect to the center of the Earth from the intersection of the Meridian and the Equator.

Since a sphere has degrees, the Earth is divided into longitudes.

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Modern timekeeping systems use longitudes as references to keep time. Time zones are defined by the Prime Meridian and the longitudes. One easy way to remember the orientation of latitudes and longitudes is long itudes are longand lat itudes are lateral.

A Great Circle is any circle that is formed by a plane that passes through the center of the Earth.Latitude and longitude are a system of lines used to describe the location of any place on Earth. Lines of latitude run in an east-west direction across Earth. Lines of longitude run in a north-south direction. Although these are only imaginary lines, they appear on maps and globes as if they actually existed.

Lines of latitude also called parallels circle Earth parallel to the Equator. It runs east-west all the way around Earth.

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Lines of latitude describe positions north and south of the Equator. There are other important lines of latitude besides the Equator. It is known for its generally hot weather. Lines of longitude run between the North Pole and the South Pole. These lines are also called meridians. Like lines of latitude, meridians are measured in degrees, minutes, and seconds.

This is called the Greenwich, or prime, meridian. Greenwich was chosen for the prime meridian because when the system of latitude and longitude was established Great Britain was a world leader in exploration and map making. Other lines of longitude describe positions east and west of the prime meridian. Latitude and longitude together can describe the exact location of any place on Earth. For example, Washington, D. These two numbers together are called coordinates. Take a minute to check out all the enhancements!

Choose a language from the menu above to view a computer-translated version of this page. Please note: Text within images is not translated, some features may not work properly after translation, and the translation may not accurately convey the intended meaning. Britannica does not review the converted text.

To re-enable the tools or to convert back to English, click "view original" on the Google Translate toolbar. Animal Kingdom.Lines of latitude measure north-south position between the poles. The equator is defined as 0 degrees, the North Pole is 90 degrees north, and the South Pole is 90 degrees south.

Lines of latitude are all parallel to each other, thus they are often referred to as parallels. The memory rhyme I use to help remember that lines of latitude denote north-south distance is:.

Lines of longitude, or meridians, run between the North and South Poles. They measure east-west position.

“Latitude” vs. “Longitude”

The prime meridian is assigned the value of 0 degrees, and runs through Greenwich, England. Meridians to the west of the prime meridian are measured in degrees west and likewise those to the east of the prime meridian are measured to by their number of degrees east.

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The memory rhyme I use to help remember that lines of longitude denote east-west distance is:. With this saying in my mind, I picture all of the longitudinal meridians meeting at the poles, each meridian the same length as the next. Index Next.

longitude and latitude definition

Toggle navigation. Latitude Lines of latitude measure north-south position between the poles. The memory rhyme I use to help remember that lines of latitude denote north-south distance is: "Tropical latitudes improve my attitude" One degree of latitude is 60 nautical miles, 69 statute miles or km. One minute of latitude is 1 nautical mile, 1. Longitude Lines of longitude, or meridians, run between the North and South Poles.Was the thought of identifying latitude and longitude on a map in geography class one of your high-key stressors?

Since they are both units of measurement that help identify coordinates and literally intersect with each other, it is easy to see why they are so confusing.

latitude and longitude

To clarify: the lines of longitude run from pole to pole but measure left to right. This word can be confusing because the word long which appears at the beginning of longitude is an adjective that often describes height, something we typically think of as measuring from top to bottom or in geographical terms, north to south. A dress can be too longfor example, or someone can have long arms. And looking at the etymological roots, it gets even more bewildering.

Latitude also has a more colloquial use as well. First it is important to get the units of measurement straight. Latitude is rooted in the word extendso think of extending something or reaching from top to bottom aka north to south. Teachers and schoolchildren use a series of rhymes to remember the difference. The trick is to remember latitude sounds like ladderand that refers to the rungs of the ladder:.

Longitude has its own song too, which focuses on the fact that longnorth and south all use the letter O :.

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The equatoror the middle point, measures at zero. The prime meridian is set at zero degrees longitude. Degrees are used as the units to measure longitude and latitude, and they are divided to the decimal point. Assume that the top of every map indicates north. The numbers on the right and left sides of a map refer to the latitude.

What is longitude? Don't Get Mixed Up Again! Get Dictionary. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. Word of the day. Redefine your inbox with Dictionary.Latitude is a measurement on a globe or map of location north or south of the Equator.

Technically, there are different kinds of latitude— geocentric, astronomical, and geographic or geodetic —but there are only minor differences between them.

In most common references, geocentric latitude is implied.

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As aids to indicate different latitudinal positions on maps or globes, equidistant circles are plotted and drawn parallel to the Equator and each other; they are known as parallelsor parallels of latitude. In contrast, geographic latitude, which is the kind used in mapping, is calculated using a slightly different process.

Different methods are used to determine geographic latitude, as by taking angle-sights on certain polar stars or by measuring with a sextant the angle of the noon Sun above the horizon. Geographic latitude is also given in degrees, minutes, and seconds. Longitude is a measurement of location east or west of the prime meridian at Greenwichthe specially designated imaginary north-south line that passes through both geographic poles and Greenwich, London.

As aids to locate longitudinal positions on a globe or map, meridians are plotted and drawn from pole to pole where they meet. The distance per degree of longitude at the Equator is about Latitude and longitude Article Media Additional Info. Print Cite verified Cite. While every effort has been made to follow citation style rules, there may be some discrepancies.

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External Websites. National Geographic - Latitude. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree See Article History.

Perspective of the globe with grid formed by parallels of latitude and meridians of longitude. Britannica Quiz. Even More Geography Fun Facts. Take this quiz and join Britannica on another fun journey! Overview explaining the coordinate system of latitude and longitude, which is used to describe the location of any place on Earth's surface.

This cutaway drawing shows that the latitude and longitude of any place are based on the sizes of two angles that originate at the centre of Earth. Geocentric latitude and geographic latitude.

Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. Subscribe Now. As shown on the small-scale globe perspective, Washington, D. Learn More in these related Britannica articles:. Portuguese seamen determined latitude by observing the elevation angle of the polestar—that is, the angle between its direction and the horizontal. The noontime elevation angle reaches a maximum at all latitudes north of the Tropic of Cancer South of the Tropic of Capricorn Two or more maps can be overlaid and integrated for analysis—such as a relief map and a map of wells—even if they are compiled on different….

History at your fingertips. Sign up here to see what happened On This Dayevery day in your inbox! Email address.A key geographical question throughout the human experience is, "Where am I? The ancient Greek geographer Ptolemy created a successful grid system and listed the coordinates using latitude and longitude for significant places throughout the known world in his book Geography. But it wasn't until the Middle Ages that the latitude and longitude system he developed was refined into what it is today.

Read about the imaginary lines that divide the earth known as latitude and longitude. Latitude lines run horizontally on a map. They are also known as parallels since they are parallel and equidistant from each other.

What Are Longitudes and Latitudes?

Lines or degrees of latitude are approximately 69 miles or km apart, with variation due to the fact that the earth is not a perfect sphere but an oblate ellipsoid slightly egg-shaped. To remember latitude, imagine the lines as horizontal rungs of a ladder, "ladder-tude", or by the rhyme "latitude flat-itude". The degrees increase in either direction from this marker. The vertical lines on a map are called longitude lines, also known as meridians.

Unlike latitude lines, they taper latitude lines are completely parallel, almost as if stacked on top of each other. They converge at the poles and are widest at the equator. At their widest points, these are about 69 miles or km apart like latitude lines. The Royal Greenwich Observatory was established as the site of the prime meridian by an international conference in for navigational purposes.

To precisely locate points on the earth's surface, use latitude and longitude coordinates. Degrees are divided into 60 equal parts called minutes ' and those are further divided into 60 equal parts called seconds ".

Do not confuse these units of measurement with units of time.

longitude and latitude definition

Seconds can be broken down into tenths, hundredths, or even thousandths for the most precise navigation. Degrees latitude are either north N or south S and degrees longitude are either east E or west W. Coordinates can be written as DMS degrees, minutes, and seconds or decimals.

Share Flipboard Email. Matt Rosenberg. Geography Expert.Filtering happens before field picking and, therefore, the row filter can use fields that won't end up in the cloned dataset.

See the Section on filtering sources for more details. Each new field is created using a Flatline expression and optionally a name, label, and description. A Flatline expression is a lisp-like expresion that allows you to make references and process columns and rows of the origin dataset. See the full Flatline reference here. Let's see a first example that clones a dataset and adds a new field named "Celsius" to it using an expression that converts the values from the "Fahrenheit" field to Celsius.

A new field can actually generate multiple fields. In that case their names can be specified using the names arguments.

Latitude and longitude

In addition to horizontally selecting different fields in the same row, you can keep the field fixed and select vertical windows of its value, via the window and related operators.

For example, the following request will generate a new field using a sliding window of 7 values for the field named "Fahrenheit" and will also generate two additional fields named "Yesterday" and "Tomorrow" with the previous and next value of the current row for the field 0.

The list of values generated from each input row that way constitutes an output row of the generated dataset. See the table below for more details.

See the Section on filtering rows for more details. Example: "description": "This field is a transformation" descriptions optional Array A description for every of the new fields generated. Example: "fields": "(window Price -2 0)" label optional Array Label of the new field. Example: "label": "New price" labels Array Labels for each of the new fields generated. Example: "name": "Price" names optional Array Names for each of the new fields generated.

Basically, a Flatline expresion can easily be translated to its json-like variant and vice versa by just changing parentheses to brackets, symbols to quoted strings, and adding commas to separate each sub-expression.

For example, the following two expressions are the same for BigML. If you specify both sampling and filtering arguments, the former are applied first.

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Longitude and latitude definition

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