How Do You Find Longitude and Latitude on a Map?


Quick Answer

The longitude lines are the vertical lines that reach from the North Pole to the South Pole, while the latitude lines are horizontal lines that reach north and south from the Equator. Users may use a location to find longitude and latitude, or do the reverse to pinpoint a location.

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How Do You Find Longitude and Latitude on a Map?
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Full Answer

Longitude measurements are based on the Prime Meridian. The Prime Meridian is located in Greenwich, England, and its longitude is zero degrees. Directly opposite on the globe is the International Date Line, located in the mid-Pacific Ocean. Its longitude is 180 degrees. Between these two points, each longitude line is separated by 15 degrees.

Latitude is measured from the Equator, with 15 degrees separating each line, marking zero degrees at the Equator and 90 degrees at either pole. Each degree of latitude or longitude measures roughly 69 miles. While the distance between the horizontal latitude lines doesn't change, since the vertical longitude lines all meet at the poles, the area decreases the farther north or south a person travels. Each degree is also divided into 60 minutes, and each minute into 60 seconds.

Most maps have the longitude and latitude maps for the lines that occur every 15 degrees. To get a more precise measurement, topographical maps, used to plot geological features, have the lines marked for every minute. The most precise readings are found using a GPS device.

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