Latitude And Longitude Primer

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  • 1. Latitude and Longitude A Primer
  • 2. Latitude and Longitude A coordinate system for locating positions on the Earth’s surface.  Units measured in Degrees, minutes, seconds  In computer cartography and GIS, units are often decimal degrees (e.g., 34.5o for 34o 30’)  Latitude lines set up differently than Longitude lines Many climatic phenomena vary by latitude  Tropics, Subtropics, Midlatitudes, SubArctic and Arctic (Subantarctic and Antarctic in the south)  Directional Terminology  Equatorward, Poleward
  • 3. Latitude Measured in Degrees  Measure distances North or South of the Equator Values range from 0o – 90o  North or South (ex. 34oN)  Positive or Negative on computer maps (ex. +34o) Fixed References  Poles (Polaris; North Star; 90oN)  Equator (midway between poles; 0o) Angles measured up from the plane of the equator Rotating angle about the earth’s axis produces Lines of Latitude  Parallels (Lines of Latitude never touch each other)  Form concentric circles around the poles
  • 4. Take the time to learnthese zones and theirlatitudinal ranges:
  • 5. Longitude Measured in Degrees  Measures distances East and West of the Prime Meridian Values range from 0o – 180o  East or West (ex. 171oW)  Positive or Negative (ex. -171o) Fixed References  The Prime Meridian (Greenwich England)  Arbitrary – no celestial reference Angles measured in the equatorial plane, as angular distance from Prime Meridian Arcs swept from this angle toward either pole are Lines of Longitude  Meridians  Meet at the poles
  • 6. Coordinates Locations are determined by both a latitude and longitude  Example: Mount Diablo  Latitude: 37° 52′ 54″ N  Longitude: 121° 54′ 51″ W The combination of both the latitude lines and longitude lines on a map or globe is called the graticule.