Education

Difference Between Longitude and Latitude

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Main Difference

The main difference between Longitude and Latitude is that Longitude specifies the east to the west location of any point on the surface of the earth, whereas Latitude specifies the north to south location of any point on the surface of the earth.

Longitude vs. Latitude

Longitude is a geographic coordinate that is representing the distance of any point from east or west of the prime meridian. On the other side, the latitude is the geographic coordinate that is representing the distance of any object or area from north or south of the equator.

Longitude denoted by a Greek letter lambda (λ) but, the latitude is denoted by a Greek letter phi (Φ). The longitude has direction north to south and ranges from 0 to 180 degrees, whereas that of latitude is east to west and ranges from 0 to 90 degrees.

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Longitude is in the form of vertical lines on the map. On the other side, the latitude is in the form of horizontal lines. So, longitudes are also known as meridians, while latitudes also termed as parallels. Moreover, the lines of references in longitude are not parallel to each other, whereas that of latitude is parallel to each other.

The total longitude lines are 360. On the flip side, the total latitude lines are 180 in number. Longitudes used to classify time zones. On the other hand, latitudes used to classify the heat zones, for example, temperate zone, torrid zone, and frigid zone.

Comparison Chart

LongitudeLatitude
A geographic coordinate that represents the distance of any point from east or west of the prime meridian is known as longitude.The geographic coordinate that represents the distance of any point from north or south of the equator is known as latitude.
Origin
The word “Longitude” originated from late Middle English, from the Latin word “longitudo,” and from “longus” means “long.”The word “latitude” is derived from late Middle English, from the Latin word “latitude” means “breadth,” and from “latus” means “broad.”
Also Known As
Longitudes are also known as meridians.Latitudes are also called parallels.
Direction
It has a direction from the north to the south.The latitude has direction east to west.
Range
It ranges from 0 to 180° East and West.The range of latitude stands between 0 to 90° North and South.
Denoted By
Longitude denoted by a Greek letter lambda (λ).Latitude denoted by phi (Φ), which is a Greek letter.
Distance From
Longitude denotes the distance from Prime Meridian, i.e., east or west.Latitude denotes the distance from the equator, i.e., north or south.
Lines
It does not have lines of reference parallel to each other.The latitude has parallel lines of references.
Number of Lines
The total longitude lines are 360 in number.The total latitude lines are 180 in number.
Length of Lines
The lines of longitude have equal length.The latitude lines show unequal length.
Hemisphere
Locations in a common longitude may fall in different hemispheres.All the locations that are present in a common latitude exist within the same hemisphere of the earth.
Time Zone
All the locations that are present in the same longitude exist in the same time zone.All the locations that are present within the same latitude do not necessarily be present in the same time zone.
Notable Lines
Its notable line is Greenwich Meridian.Its important lines are Tropic of Cancer, Equator, and Tropic of Capricorn.
Classifies
Longitudes are used to sort time zones.Latitudes are used to classify the heat zones, for example, temperate zone, torrid zone, and frigid zone.
Measurement
It is measured in seconds, minutes, and degrees.It is also measured in seconds, minutes, and degrees.
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What is Longitude?

Longitude is a geographic coordinate that represents the distance of any point from east or west of the prime meridian. It is derived from late Middle English, from the Latin word “longitudo,” and from “longus” means “long.” Longitude is used to find out the distance of a particular point from the reference line. It is also called meridians.

Longitude is denoted by lambda (λ), which is a Greek letter. Its direction is north to south and ranges from 0 to 180° East and West. The vertical lines of longitude are of equal length, and the total number of longitude lines is 360. It is measured in seconds, minutes, and degrees.

It is the angular distance of a point, west of the Standard Meridian or east or west of the Prime Meridian. Meridians of longitude are the reference lines that are passing from the north pole to the south pole. These are in the form of semi-circles that all meet at the poles. So, their distance keeps on decreasing firmly toward poles.

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All the meridians are similar in length. So, Greenwich Meridian is used as the Prime Meridian, and its value is 0° longitude. The longitude of diverse areas can find out as the angle east or angle west out of the Prime Meridian. At the Prime Meridian, it ranges from or differing 0° to +180° towards the east and −180° towards the west. Prime Meridian separates the earth into two equal parts that are Western Hemisphere and Eastern Hemisphere. Locations in a common longitude may fall in different hemispheres.

Longitudes are used to classify time zones. All the locations that are present in the same longitude exist in the same time zone. The Prime Meridian at 0° and the International Date Line at 180° are the most important longitudes. They are positioned on the reverse sides of the Earth.

The International Date Line denotes the location where each day begins officially. So, the west side of the International Date Line is always one day forward then the east side. So, that is the reason why the Earth rotates from west to east. The Prime Meridian symbols the position for the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) or Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). All the other time zones are indicated with offsets, i.e., positive or negative from GMT/UTC.

In our daily life, the longitude for any place can find out by using the time difference between UTC and that place. The sun travels at a rate of 15 degrees per hour (360°/day) across the sky. Thus, if the time zone or standard time is three hours fast than UTC, then that place is located around 45° longitude, i.e., 3 hours × 15° per hour = 45°. Moreover, longitudes converge at the Poles so that measurement may get inaccurate at the Poles.

What is Latitude?

Latitude is a geographic coordinate that characterizes the distance of any point from north or south of the equator. This word is derived from late Middle English, from the Latin word “latitude” means “breadth,” and from “latus” means “broad.” It also worked as a reference point to find different places on earth. It is also recognized as parallels.

Latitude is denoted by phi (Φ), which is a Greek letter. Its direction is east to west and ranges from 0 to 90° North and South. The lines of latitude are of unequal length, and the total number of latitude lines is 180. It is also measured in seconds, minutes, and degrees.

Latitude denotes the distance from the equator, which is an imaginary circular line and divides the earth into two equal parts. Here, the upper half is known as Northern Hemisphere, whereas the lower half is called Southern Hemisphere. The circular lines that are parallel to the equator and extended up to the North and South poles are known as the parallels of latitude.

The range of latitude is between 0 degrees to 90 degrees. Here, the equator specifies 0° latitude, and poles are at 90°. The parallels that are located in the northern hemisphere are taken as north latitudes. On the other side, those present in the southern hemisphere are known as south latitudes. All the locations in a common latitude exist within the same hemisphere of the earth but, all the locations that are present within the same latitude do not necessarily be present in the same time zone.

Latitudes are used to classify the heat zones, for example, temperate zone, torrid zone, and frigid zone. Some significant latitude parallels are Tropic of Cancer (23.5° N), Arctic Circle (66.5° N), Tropic of Capricorn (23.5° S) and Antarctic Circle (66.5° S).

Key Differences

  1. A geographic coordinate that represents the distance of any point from east or west of the prime meridian is known as longitude whereas, the geographic coordinate that represents the distance of any point from north or south of the equator is known as latitude.
  2. The word “longitude” is originated from late Middle English, from the Latin word “longitudo,” and from “longus” means “long.” On the other hand, the word “latitude” is derived from late Middle English, from the Latin word “latitude” means “breadth” and from “latus” means “broad.”
  3. Longitudes are also called meridians. Conversely, latitudes are also termed as parallels.
  4. Longitude has a direction from the north to the south. On the flip side, the latitude has a direction from the east to the west.
  5. Longitude range between 0 to 180° East and West, while the range of latitude is from 0 to 90° North and South.
  6. Longitude is denoted by a Greek letter lambda (λ) but, the latitude is denoted by a Greek letter phi (Φ).
  7. Longitude denotes the distance from Prime Meridian, i.e., east or west. On the other hand, latitude denotes the distance from the equator, i.e., north or south.
  8. The lines of references in longitude are not parallel to each other, while the lines of references in latitude are parallel to each other.
  9. The total longitude lines are 360 in number. On the flip side, the total latitude lines are 180.
  10. The lines of longitude have equal length. On the other side, the lines of latitude are of unequal length.
  11. The notable line of longitude is Greenwich Meridian. On the other hand, the notable lines of latitude are Tropic of Cancer, Equator, and Tropic of Capricorn.
  12. Locations in a common longitude may fall in different hemispheres, whereas all the locations in a common latitude exist within the same hemisphere of the earth.
  13. All the locations that are present in the same longitude exist in the same time zone. On the flip side, all the locations that are present within the same latitude do not necessarily be present in the same time zone.
  14. Longitudes are used to categorize time zones, while latitudes are used to classify the heat zones, for example, temperate zone, torrid zone, and frigid zone.

Conclusion

The above discussion summarizes that longitude and latitude combine to make a coordinate system that is used to find the location of any place. Longitude is the geographic coordinate that represents the distance of any point from east or west of the prime meridian. On the other side, latitude signifies the distance of any place or object from north or south of the equator.

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson

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