Easting and northing

The terms easting and northing are geographic Cartesian coordinates for a point. Easting refers to the Eastward measured distance (or the x-coordinate), while northing refers to the Northward measured distance (or the y-coordinate). The orthogonal coordinate pair are commonly measured in metres from a horizontal datum. This simple cartographic convention comes from a methodology for determining coordinates and areas, known as the method of latitudes and departures.

When using the Universal Transverse Mercator coordinate system, northing is the distance to the equator, while easting is the distance to the "False easting", which is uniquely defined in each UTM zone.

The term northing has also been used by explorers to describe a general progress toward the North Pole. Isaac Israel Hayes used this term in a 1861 address to the New-York Geographical and Statistical Society saying, "The want of steam power curtailed my northing.


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