How Do You Read Latitude and Longitude?
Latitude and longitude are read in both degrees and cardinal ordinates. The latitude and longitude of New York City, for example, is 40.6700° N, 73.9400° W. The 40.67 represents the distance in a northern direction that New York City is from the Earth’s equator. The 73.94 represents the distance west of the Prime Meridian that New York is located; the prime meridian is located in London, England.
Latitude is the measure of a location in distance from the equator and is also referred to as parallels. Longitude is the measure of a location from Greenwich mean time and is also referred to as meridians. Directional ordinates are added to latitude and longitude coordinates to distinguish in which direction a location is in regard to latitude and longitude. The directional ordinates are north, south, east and west.
In total, the Earth encompasses 180 degrees of latitude from pole to pole. Latitude measures range from 0 degrees to 90 degrees north or south of the equator with 0 being the equator. The total longitude of the Earth is 360 degrees. Longitude directions range from 0 degrees to 180 degrees east or west of the Prime Meridian with 0 being the Prime Meridian.