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Latitudes and Longitudes

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A latitude is an angular measurement ranging from 0o at the equator to 90o at the poles. It divides the earth into two parts, northern and southern hemispheres. This plane passes through the centre of the sphere and also contains the great circle representing the equator line. Latitudes are often referred to as parallel with east – west running circles.
Latitudes are used together with longitudes to specify the precise location of features on the surface. The parallels of latitude crossed at right angles by a series of half – circles extending north and south from one pole to another are called the meridians of longitude. There are altogether 180o latitudes, 90o in the northern hemisphere and 90oin the southern hemisphere. The latitudinal location is helpful in determining the difference in climate.



An angular distance east or west on the earth’s surface measured by the angle contained between the meridian of a particular place and the Prime Meridian and expressed in degree or time is known as longitude.
In simple meaning, it is the location of place east or west of a north – south line. It is measured in angles ranging from 0o at the Prime Meridian to 180o at the International Dateline of Green Wich, England. It divides the earth in eastern and the western hemispheres.
The places having the same angular distance from the Prime Meridian are joined by a line of longitude. A location’s north – south position along a meridian is given by its latitude, which is approximately the angle between the local vertical and the plane of the equator. There are altogether 360o longitudes; 180o in the eastern and 180o in the western hemisphere. Every longitude is 4 minutes apart from each successive longitude. It helps to determine the difference of the time in the earth.
The grid formed by the latitudes and longitudes on the surface of the earth is called graticule. Graticule determines any place on earth surface in degrees, minutes, and seconds. Each degree of longitudes and latitudes is further divided into minutes (60) and minutes into seconds (60).

Differentiate between longitude and latitude.



They run from west to east.

They run from north to south.

Lines are parallel to each other.

Lines are not parallel to each other but converge at the poles.

Lines are used for measuring distance.

Lines are used for measuring local time.

Lines of latitude increase in value from the equator towards the pole.

Lines of longitudes increase in value eastwards of the Green Wich Meridian.

Latitude measures up to 180o.

i.e. 90o N – 0 – 90o S

Longitude measures up to 360o.

  • Latitudes are imaginary circles drawn parallel to the equator.
  • Longitudes are imaginary circles that intersect the north and the south poles and the equator.
  • Longitudes and latitudes form the earth's geographical coordinates.
  • Both latitudes and longitudes are measured in degrees.

Questions and Answers

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Longitude is the location of place east or west of a north – south line.
Latitude is an angular measurement ranging from 0o at the equator to 90o at the poles.

Longitudes help to measure the local time and latitudes help to measure the distance of places.


Hemispheres refer to the half parts of the earth.

Latitudes and longitudes form a grid on the surface of the earth which is called graticule.

The equator is an imaginary line on the earth's surface equidistant from the north pole and south pole, dividing the earth into Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere.

There are altogether 180 latitudes.

There are altogether 360 longitudes; 180 in the east and 180 in the west.

  •  Every longitude is ______ minutes apart from each successive longitude.

  • There are altogether _________ longitudes, ____________ in the east.

    400 and 130
    100 and 225
    55 and 65
    360 and 180
  • The series of ________ circles are known as the parallels of latitude.

    north-south- running
    south-west -running
    none of them
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