Latitude and Longitude The latitude and longitude system was developed in the middle ages. Ptolemy also used a grid system in ancient Greece. Latitude lines run horizontally and are also known as parallels. Longitude lines, also known as meridians, run vertically.
a) Latitude (Parallels) b) Longitude (Meridians) The Geographic Grid
This section contains an alphabetical list of all of the places in the atlas, which includes a pronunciation guide, page number where the place can be found in the atlas, and the latitude and longitude coordinates.
It also contains:
A glossary of foreign geographic terms
General Information about:
Land area of islands, area of lakes and oceans, heights of mountains, length of rivers, population for large cities
Early agricultural societies found that local noon could be determined by observing the changing length of the shadow cast by a stick placed perpendicular to the ground. Local noon is the time at which the shadow is the shortest length cast. Romans used this principle to design their sundials and called their noon position of the Sun the "meridian" ( meridiem - the Sun's highest point of the day).
It was difficult to compare time as one traveled to different localities as each city adjusted its clocks to their own local noon.
Because the Earth rotates toward the east, towns to the east experienced solar noon earlier while those to the west later.
As cross-country travel and communication became faster and more efficient, a standardized system of global time was required.
Given the Earth rotates once throughout a 24 hour period, 24 standard times zones were agreed upon at the 1884 International Prime Meridian Conference.
The local solar time at Greenwich, England was designated the prime meridian . Each time zone extends 7.5° on either side of a central meridian.
For years the global standard for reporting time was Greenwich mean time (GMT) . GMT is now referred to as Universal Time Coordinated (UTC) but the prime meridian is still the reference for standard time.
International Date Line Ferdinand Magellan and crew in 1519 set out on their westward journey from Spain to circumnavigate the Earth. Upon their return three years later, they discovered that their meticulously kept logs were off by one day. This was one of the first recorded experience with changing global time. This earlier experience would ultimately lead to the establishment of the international date line. The International Date Line lies directly opposite of the prime meridian and having a longitude of 180°. Crossing the line when traveling east one turns their calendar back a full day. Traveling west one moves their calendar forward one day.