12 Difference Between Latitude And Longitude (With Pictures)

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What Is Latitude?

Latitude is a geographical coordinate that specifies the north-south position of a point on the Earth’s surface. The latitude has the symbol of phi, (φ) and it shows the angle between the straight line in the certain point and the equatorial plane. The latitude is specified by degrees, starting from 0o and ending up with 90o to both sides of the equator. It divides the Earth into two equal parts: Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere. The latitude of the North Pole is 90 degree N, and the latitude of the South Pole is 90 degrees S. Latitude is used together with longitude to specify the precise location of features on the surface of the Earth.

Like the poles, some circles of latitude are named. The Tropic of Cancer, for instance, is 23 degrees 26 minutes 21 seconds N—23° 26′ 21” N. Its twin, the Tropic of Capricorn, is 23° 26′ 21” S. The tropics are important geographic locations that mark the northernmost and southernmost latitudes where the sun can be seen directly overhead during a solstice.

One degree of latitude, called an arc-degree, covers about 111 kilometres (69 miles). Because of the Earth’s curvature, the farther the circles are from the Equator, the smaller they are. At the North and South Poles, arc-degrees are simply points.

Degrees of latitude are divided into 60 minutes. To be even more precise, those minutes are divided into 60 seconds. One minute of latitude covers about 1.8 kilometres (1.1 miles) and one second of latitude covers about 32 meters (105 feet).

What You Need To Know About Latitude

  1. Latitude is the geographical coordinate which determines the position or distance of a point located to the north or south of the equator.
  2. It is represented by the Greek letter phi, (φ)
  3. The direction of lines of latitudes is from East to West and they are parallel to each other and to the equator.
  4. The lines of latitude from the equator to the north or south poles are known as parallels of latitude.
  5. It divides the Earth into two equal parts: Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere.
  6. On every latitude measurement, there is a N attached to the end of the coordinate to indicate North or an S to indicate South of the equator.
  7. The lines of latitude are of unequal length.
  8. They are parallel and never meet each other.
  9. There are 181 lines of latitudes (From 0 to 180 degrees).
  10. Lines of latitude increase in value from the equator towards the poles.
  11. Latitudes are used to categorize temperature (heat) zones i.e torrid zone, temperate zone and Frigid Zone.
  12. All locations along a common latitude fall in the same hemisphere of the earth (northern or southern).

What Is Longitude?

Longitude is a geographic coordinate that specifies the east-west position of a point on the Earth’s surface or the surface of a celestial body. It is an angular measurement, usually expressed in degrees and denoted by the Greek latter lambda (λ). Meridians (lines running from pole to pole) connect points with the same longitude.

Half of the world, the Eastern Hemisphere, is measured in degrees east of the prime meridian. The other half, the Western Hemisphere, in degrees west of the prime meridian.

The prime meridian, which passes near the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, England is defined as 0o longitude by convention. Therefore, the longitude can be defined maximum as 180o East from the Prime Meridian and 180o West from the Prime Meridian.

Degrees of longitude are divided into 60 minutes. Each minute of longitude can be further divided into 60 seconds. For example, the longitude of Paris, France, is 2° 29′ E (2 degrees, 29 minutes east). The longitude for Brasilia, Brazil, is 47° 55′ W (47 degrees, 55 minutes west).

A degree of longitude is about 111 kilometres (69 miles) at its widest. The widest areas of longitude are near the Equator, where the Earth bulges out. Because of the Earth’s curvature, the actual distance of a degrees, minutes, and seconds of longitude depends on its distance from the Equator. The greater the distance, the shorter the length between meridians. All meridians meet at the North and South Poles.

What You Need To know About Longitude

  1. It refers to the geographic coordinate which determines the position or distance of a point located to the east or west of the Prime Meridian.
  2. It is represented by the Greek letter lambda ( λ ).
  3. The direction of lines of longitude is from North to South. They are not parallel to each other.
  4. The lines of longitude running from one pole to another are known as meridians of longitude.
  5. It divides the Earth into two equal parts: Eastern Hemisphere and Western Hemisphere.
  6. On every longitude measurement, there is a W attached to the end of the coordinate to indicate west or an E to indicate East of the Prime Meridian.
  7. The lines of longitudes are of equal length.
  8. They are not parallel and meet at the poles.
  9. There are 361 lines of latitudes (from 0 to 360 degrees).
  10. Lines of longitude increase in value Eastwards of the Greenwich Meridian.
  11. Longitudes are used to classify time zones.
  12. All locations on the same longitude fall in the same time zone.

Difference Between Latitude And Longitude In Tabular

BASIS OF COMPARISON LATITUDE LONGITUDE
Description Latitude is the geographical coordinate which determines the position or distance of a point located to the north or south of the equator.   It refers to the geographic coordinate which determines the position or distance of a point located to the east or west of the Prime Meridian.  
Representation It is represented by the Greek letter phi.   It is represented by the Greek letter lambda.  
Direction Of Lines The direction of lines of latitudes is from East to West and they are parallel to each other and to the equator.   The direction of lines of longitude is from North to South. They are not parallel to each other.  
Alternative Name The lines of latitude from the equator to the north or south poles are known as parallels of latitude.   The lines of longitude running from one pole to another are known as meridians of longitude.  
Division Of Earth It divides the Earth into two equal parts: Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere.   It divides the Earth into two equal parts: Eastern Hemisphere and Western Hemisphere.  
Representation On every latitude measurement, there is a N attached to the end of the coordinate to indicate North or an S to indicate South of the equator.   On every longitude measurement, there is a W attached to the end of the coordinate to indicate west or an E to indicate East of the Prime Meridian.  
Length The lines of latitude are of unequal length.   The lines of longitudes are of equal length.  
Nature They are parallel and never meet each other.   They are not parallel and meet at the poles.  
Number Of Lines There are 181 lines of latitudes (From 0 to 180 degrees).   There are 361 lines of latitudes (from 0 to 360 degrees).  
Increase In Value Lines of latitude increase in value from the equator towards the poles.   Lines of longitude increase in value Eastwards of the Greenwich Meridian.  
Use Latitudes are used to categorize temperature (heat) zones i.e torrid zone, temperate zone and Frigid Zone.   Longitudes are used to classify time zones.  
Locations All locations along a common latitude fall in the same hemisphere of the earth (northern or southern).   All locations on the same longitude fall in the same time zone.  

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