Cartographers and geographers trace horizontal and vertical lines called latitude and longitude across Earth’s surface to locate points on the globe.
Together, they form the earth’s geographical coordinates, and represent the angular distance of any location from the center of the Earth. Both latitudes and longitudes are measured in degrees (°) and minutes (′).
The Eratosthenes (Known as “Father of Geography”) in the 3rd century BC first proposed a system of latitude and longitude for a map of the world. By the 2nd century BC Hipparchus was the first to use such a system to uniquely specify places on Earth.
When we travel over desert, sky, or seas, we need two things, first one is direction and second one to fix our position. During ancient times, people use to position themselves with the help of the landmarks and rudimentary map. Today, we describe the location of the places or the position with the help of two terms i.e. latitude and longitude. For example- If we are travelling on the ship then we can only specify our position on a map with the help of latitude and longitude coordinates.
The lines of Longitude and Latitude are two set of imaginary lines that envelop the earth. The earth has a vast area of surface. Due to this it is often hard to locate something exactly on the planet.
The lines of Longitude run from the North Pole to the South Pole. Hence, they coverage at two points, the North Pole and the South Pole; they are also closer together as they get closer to the Pole. The centermost line of longitude is the Prime Meridian while runs through the Royal Observatory, which is located at Greenwich, England, a little outside of London. The Prime Meridian is labeled at 0°. All the other lines of longitude, which also called as meridians, are located exactly one degree apart, which translates to 69 miles. Each degree of longitude is sub-divided into 60 minutes, each of which is divided into 60 seconds.
There are a total of 360° of longitude. They are labeled from 180° or 180°E to 0° (which is the prime meridian) to -180° or 180°W.
Latitude, on the other hand, are horizontal, as opposed to the vertical longitude. They run from the East to the West. The lines of latitude are also known as parallels, because they are parallel to each other, this means that they do not interest with each other at any point, again unlike the line of longitude. The lines of latitude run from the east to the west. They are also located exactly 1° or 69 miles apart.
=>Major Difference between LONGITUDE and LATITUDE< =
=>Important Facts related to the Latitude and Longitude< =
1. Both the latitude and longitude are denoted in degrees, minutes, and seconds.
2. The Zero degrees latitude is known as ‘Equator’.
3. The equator passes through 13 countries: Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Sao Tome & Principe, Gabon, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Kenya, Somalia, Maldives, Indonesia and Kiribati.
4. The Zero degrees longitude is an imaginary line known as the ‘Prime Meridian’.
5. There is a close relationship between time and longitude. The earth rotates on its axis at a rate of 360 degree per day or we can say 15 per hour. If traveller knew the time at a fixed point when something happen at a particular position. Then the difference between the reference time and the apparent local time will give the traveller’s position relative to the fixed point.
6. The distance from the equator to either pole is exactly 6,222 miles, or standard miles (10,013 Km). If we divided by 90° from equator to pole, then it equals to exactly 69 miles (111 Km) for each degree of latitude.
7. 1° of longitude is about the same distance as 1° of latitude at the equator. The longitudes are not parallel to each other, hence meridians do not stay the same distance apart at all places on earth. As the meridians move away from the equator they come closer and closer together until they finally meet at the poles, which means that the number of miles in 1° of longitude is different to each latitude.