Shop Windows to the Universe

Earth Science Rocks! Select one of our four cool NESTA t-shirts from our online store, and express your love of Earth and space science!
This cutaway view of the Earth shows the angular measurement of latitude and longitude.
Click on image for full size
Image Courtesy of Dennis Ward/UCAR

Angles Determine Latitude and Longitude

This cutaway view of the Earth shows the angular measurement of latitude and longitude.

Latitude, shown in blue, is the angular distance from the Equator to a point on the Earth's surface. Latitude can either be North or South, depending on the hemisphere in which the location is located. GPS units and digital mapping applications, such as Google Earth, often indicate northern latitudes as being positive (0 to +90 degrees), and give southern latitudes negative values (0 to -90 degrees).

Longitude, shown in red, is the angular distance from the Prime Meridian to a point on the Earth's surface. Longitude is described as being either East or West, depending on which way you measure from the Prime Meriadian, and ranges from 0 degrees at the Prime Meridian, to 180 degrees at the Antimeridian. Digital maps use positive numbers for eastern latitudes (0 to +180 degrees) and negative numbers for western latitudes (0 to -180 degrees).

Last modified July 23, 2008 by Becca Hatheway.

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

Learn about Earth and space science, and have fun while doing it! The games section of our online store includes a climate change card game and the Traveling Nitrogen game!

Windows to the Universe Community

News

Opportunities

You might also be interested in:

Latitude and Longitude

The most common way to locate points on the surface of the Earth is by standard, geographic coordinates called latitude and longitude. These coordinates are measured in degrees and represent angular distances...more

Angles Determine Latitude and Longitude

This cutaway view of the Earth shows the angular measurement of latitude and longitude. Latitude, shown in blue, is the angular distance from the Equator to a point on the Earth's surface. Latitude can...more

The Andes Mountains

The Andes Mountains form one of the longest mountain ranges on Earth, stretching over 7,000 km (4,400 miles) along the west coast of South America. The Andes are very narrow in most places and the average...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA