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Practice Exam

# Latitude and Longitude

A system of angles measured from the centre of the Earth is used to describe any position on the surface of the Earth. These are known as latitude and longitude.

## Latitude

Latitudes are measured from the centre of the Earth to the north or south of the equator. They extend from the equator, which is at 0°, to the north and south poles, which are at 90°N and 90°S. Each line of latitude is parallel to the equator.

The equator itself is also a line of latitude (0°).

## Longitude

Longitudes are measured from the centre of the Earth to the east and west, with the prime meridian (or Greenwich meridian) being 0°. The lines of longitude then continue on either side of the prime meridian to 180°E and 180°W.

## Our Position on Earth

When all the lines of latitude and longitude are drawn on the Earth’s surface, it creates a ‘grid’ that can be used to describe any position on Earth. To more accurately describe a position, the degrees are divided into minutes and seconds.

One degree (1°) is divided into 60 minutes (60′)
One minute (1′) is divided into 60 seconds (60”)

A given position is then described by its latitude and longitude, known as coordinates. The latitude is written first and the longitude second, for example:

54°35’49”N 002°12’58”W

This is read as “54 degrees 35 minutes 49 seconds North, 2 degrees 12 minutes 58 seconds West