How can you figure out your latitude coordinates?


Quick Answer

Find your latitude coordinates by using a relevant electronic device or program, such as a GPS or mapping application. Latitude is the first number given in the coordinates of a location. Manually finding latitude with a physical map is possible if you know your current position.

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Full Answer

To find latitude with a physical map, check the vertical edges for numbers measured in degrees, such as 45 degrees. Each horizontally running line from the vertical edge represents one degree of latitude, starting at 0 degrees at the equator, the northern hemisphere being positive and the southern hemisphere being negative.

Take a straight edge, and draw a line directly to the map's vertical edge from the desired position. Judge the approximate distance between the drawn line and the two latitude lines to determine more precise coordinates.

With a protractor, approximating latitude through the sun is possible. Use local apparent noon, the time when the sun appears highest in the sky. Shadows cast directly north or south at this time. A protractor displays the latitude when aligned with a straight object through the angle of the shadows cast. This method is only completely accurate on the spring and fall equinoxes. All other times of the year the protractor's result requires adjustment according to the time from the last or next equinox.

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