**Geographic coordinate system**

The geographic coordinate system enables every location on the Earth to be exactly specified.

**Geography**

**Keywords**

geographic coordinate system, line of latitude, longitude, Northern Hemisphere, Southern Hemisphere, Earth, western hemisphere, eastern hemisphere, major lines of latitude, International Date Line, Arctic Circle, Tropic of Cancer, Equator, Tropic of Capricorn, Antarctic Circle, coordinate system, geography

**Related items**

### Scenes

### Globe

**Lines of latitude**

**Starting point**: 0° = Equator**Hemispheres**: northern hemisphere, southern hemisphere**Direction**: east-west**Circumference/length**: shorter towards the poles**Relative position to each other**: parallel to each other**Counting**: 90° to north and to south; full circles

**Lines of longitude**

**Starting point**: 0° = Prime Meridian**Hemispheres**: eastern hemisphere, western hemisphere**Direction**: north-south**Circumference/length**: equal**Relative position to each other**: convergent, they cross each other at the poles**Counting**: 180° to east and to west; semicircles

**Definitions**:

**Geographic coordinate system:** The **system of circles of latitude and longitude** on the globe, it enables every **location on the Earth t**o be exactly specified.

**Lines of latitude:** Components of the **geographic coordinate system**, **imaginary circles** on the surface of Earth, **parallel to the Equator**. If the shape of the Earth is approximated by a sphere or a spheroid, the intersection of this shape and a plane perpendicular to the axis of rotation gives the circles of latitude.

**Lines of longitude**: Components of the **geographic coordinate system**, imaginary **semicircles** on the surface of Earth, going through the **poles** and perpendicular to the **Equator**.

**Major lines of latitude:** **Arctic Circle**, **Tropic of Cancer**, **Equator**, **Tropic of Capricorn**, **Antarctic Circle**.

### Major lines

of latitude

- northern hemisphere
- southern hemisphere
- Prime Meridian (0º)
- western hemisphere
- eastern hemisphere
- 23,5º
- 66,5º
- 0º
- North Pole
- Arctic Circle
- Tropic of Cancer
- Equator
- Tropic of Capricorn
- Antarctic Circle
- South Pole

**Lines of latitude**

**Starting point**: 0° = Equator**Hemispheres**: northern hemisphere, southern hemisphere**Direction**: east-west**Circumference/length**: shorter towards the poles**Relative position to each other**: parallel to each other**Counting**: 90° to north and to south; full circles

**Lines of longitude**

**Starting point**: 0° = Prime Meridian**Hemispheres**: eastern hemisphere, western hemisphere**Direction**: north-south**Circumference/length**: equal**Relative position to each other**: convergent, they cross each other at the poles**Counting**: 180° to east and to west; semicircles

**Definitions**:

**Geographic coordinate system:** The **system of circles of latitude and longitude** on the globe, it enables every **location on the Earth t**o be exactly specified.

**Lines of latitude:** Components of the **geographic coordinate system**, **imaginary circles** on the surface of Earth, **parallel to the Equator**. If the shape of the Earth is approximated by a sphere or a spheroid, the intersection of this shape and a plane perpendicular to the axis of rotation gives the circles of latitude.

**Lines of longitude**: Components of the **geographic coordinate system**, imaginary **semicircles** on the surface of Earth, going through the **poles** and perpendicular to the **Equator**.

**Major lines of latitude:** **Arctic Circle**, **Tropic of Cancer**, **Equator**, **Tropic of Capricorn**, **Antarctic Circle**.

### Prime

Meridian

- International Date Line (180°)

**Lines of latitude**

**Starting point**: 0° = Equator**Hemispheres**: northern hemisphere, southern hemisphere**Direction**: east-west**Circumference/length**: shorter towards the poles**Relative position to each other**: parallel to each other**Counting**: 90° to north and to south; full circles

**Lines of longitude**

**Starting point**: 0° = Prime Meridian**Hemispheres**: eastern hemisphere, western hemisphere**Direction**: north-south**Circumference/length**: equal**Relative position to each other**: convergent, they cross each other at the poles**Counting**: 180° to east and to west; semicircles

**Definitions**:

**Geographic coordinate system:** The **system of circles of latitude and longitude** on the globe, it enables every **location on the Earth t**o be exactly specified.

**Lines of latitude:** Components of the **geographic coordinate system**, **imaginary circles** on the surface of Earth, **parallel to the Equator**. If the shape of the Earth is approximated by a sphere or a spheroid, the intersection of this shape and a plane perpendicular to the axis of rotation gives the circles of latitude.

**Lines of longitude**: Components of the **geographic coordinate system**, imaginary **semicircles** on the surface of Earth, going through the **poles** and perpendicular to the **Equator**.

**Major lines of latitude:** **Arctic Circle**, **Tropic of Cancer**, **Equator**, **Tropic of Capricorn**, **Antarctic Circle**.

### Lines of

latitude

- 10º
- 20º
- 30º
- 40º
- 50º
- 60º
- 70º
- 80º
- 90º

**Lines of latitude**

**Starting point**: 0° = Equator**Hemispheres**: northern hemisphere, southern hemisphere**Direction**: east-west**Circumference/length**: shorter towards the poles**Relative position to each other**: parallel to each other**Counting**: 90° to north and to south; full circles

**Lines of longitude**

**Starting point**: 0° = Prime Meridian**Hemispheres**: eastern hemisphere, western hemisphere**Direction**: north-south**Circumference/length**: equal**Relative position to each other**: convergent, they cross each other at the poles**Counting**: 180° to east and to west; semicircles

**Definitions**:

**Geographic coordinate system:** The **system of circles of latitude and longitude** on the globe, it enables every **location on the Earth t**o be exactly specified.

**Lines of latitude:** Components of the **geographic coordinate system**, **imaginary circles** on the surface of Earth, **parallel to the Equator**. If the shape of the Earth is approximated by a sphere or a spheroid, the intersection of this shape and a plane perpendicular to the axis of rotation gives the circles of latitude.

**Lines of longitude**: Components of the **geographic coordinate system**, imaginary **semicircles** on the surface of Earth, going through the **poles** and perpendicular to the **Equator**.

**Major lines of latitude:** **Arctic Circle**, **Tropic of Cancer**, **Equator**, **Tropic of Capricorn**, **Antarctic Circle**.

### Lines of

longitude

- 100º
- 110º
- 120º
- 130º
- 140º
- 150º
- 160º
- 170º
- 180º

**Lines of latitude**

**Starting point**: 0° = Equator**Hemispheres**: northern hemisphere, southern hemisphere**Direction**: east-west**Circumference/length**: shorter towards the poles**Relative position to each other**: parallel to each other**Counting**: 90° to north and to south; full circles

**Lines of longitude**

**Starting point**: 0° = Prime Meridian**Hemispheres**: eastern hemisphere, western hemisphere**Direction**: north-south**Circumference/length**: equal**Relative position to each other**: convergent, they cross each other at the poles**Counting**: 180° to east and to west; semicircles

**Definitions**:

**Geographic coordinate system:** The **system of circles of latitude and longitude** on the globe, it enables every **location on the Earth t**o be exactly specified.

**Lines of latitude:** Components of the **geographic coordinate system**, **imaginary circles** on the surface of Earth, **parallel to the Equator**. If the shape of the Earth is approximated by a sphere or a spheroid, the intersection of this shape and a plane perpendicular to the axis of rotation gives the circles of latitude.

**Lines of longitude**: Components of the **geographic coordinate system**, imaginary **semicircles** on the surface of Earth, going through the **poles** and perpendicular to the **Equator**.

**Major lines of latitude:** **Arctic Circle**, **Tropic of Cancer**, **Equator**, **Tropic of Capricorn**, **Antarctic Circle**.

### Coordinate

system

**Lines of latitude**

**Starting point**: 0° = Equator**Hemispheres**: northern hemisphere, southern hemisphere**Direction**: east-west**Circumference/length**: shorter towards the poles**Relative position to each other**: parallel to each other**Counting**: 90° to north and to south; full circles

**Lines of longitude**

**Starting point**: 0° = Prime Meridian**Hemispheres**: eastern hemisphere, western hemisphere**Direction**: north-south**Circumference/length**: equal**Relative position to each other**: convergent, they cross each other at the poles**Counting**: 180° to east and to west; semicircles

**Definitions**:

**Geographic coordinate system:** The **system of circles of latitude and longitude** on the globe, it enables every **location on the Earth t**o be exactly specified.

**Lines of latitude:** Components of the **geographic coordinate system**, **imaginary circles** on the surface of Earth, **parallel to the Equator**. If the shape of the Earth is approximated by a sphere or a spheroid, the intersection of this shape and a plane perpendicular to the axis of rotation gives the circles of latitude.

**Lines of longitude**: Components of the **geographic coordinate system**, imaginary **semicircles** on the surface of Earth, going through the **poles** and perpendicular to the **Equator**.

**Major lines of latitude:** **Arctic Circle**, **Tropic of Cancer**, **Equator**, **Tropic of Capricorn**, **Antarctic Circle**.

### Derivation of the

lines of latitude

- Arctic Circle (66.5º N)
- Tropic of Cancer (23.5º N)
- Tropic of Capricorn (23,5º S)
- Antarctic Circle ( 66.5º S)

**Lines of latitude**

**Starting point**: 0° = Equator**Hemispheres**: northern hemisphere, southern hemisphere**Direction**: east-west**Circumference/length**: shorter towards the poles**Relative position to each other**: parallel to each other**Counting**: 90° to north and to south; full circles

**Lines of longitude**

**Starting point**: 0° = Prime Meridian**Hemispheres**: eastern hemisphere, western hemisphere**Direction**: north-south**Circumference/length**: equal**Relative position to each other**: convergent, they cross each other at the poles**Counting**: 180° to east and to west; semicircles

**Definitions**:

**Geographic coordinate system:** The **system of circles of latitude and longitude** on the globe, it enables every **location on the Earth t**o be exactly specified.

**Lines of latitude:** Components of the **geographic coordinate system**, **imaginary circles** on the surface of Earth, **parallel to the Equator**. If the shape of the Earth is approximated by a sphere or a spheroid, the intersection of this shape and a plane perpendicular to the axis of rotation gives the circles of latitude.

**Lines of longitude**: Components of the **geographic coordinate system**, imaginary **semicircles** on the surface of Earth, going through the **poles** and perpendicular to the **Equator**.

**Major lines of latitude:** **Arctic Circle**, **Tropic of Cancer**, **Equator**, **Tropic of Capricorn**, **Antarctic Circle**.

### Derivation of the

lines of longitude

- Equatorial diameter: 12,756.3 km
- Equatorial circumference: ca. 40,076 km

**Lines of latitude**

**Starting point**: 0° = Equator**Hemispheres**: northern hemisphere, southern hemisphere**Direction**: east-west**Circumference/length**: shorter towards the poles**Relative position to each other**: parallel to each other**Counting**: 90° to north and to south; full circles

**Lines of longitude**

**Starting point**: 0° = Prime Meridian**Hemispheres**: eastern hemisphere, western hemisphere**Direction**: north-south**Circumference/length**: equal**Relative position to each other**: convergent, they cross each other at the poles**Counting**: 180° to east and to west; semicircles

**Definitions**:

**Geographic coordinate system:** The **system of circles of latitude and longitude** on the globe, it enables every **location on the Earth t**o be exactly specified.

**Lines of latitude:** Components of the **geographic coordinate system**, **imaginary circles** on the surface of Earth, **parallel to the Equator**. If the shape of the Earth is approximated by a sphere or a spheroid, the intersection of this shape and a plane perpendicular to the axis of rotation gives the circles of latitude.

**Lines of longitude**: Components of the **geographic coordinate system**, imaginary **semicircles** on the surface of Earth, going through the **poles** and perpendicular to the **Equator**.

**Major lines of latitude:** **Arctic Circle**, **Tropic of Cancer**, **Equator**, **Tropic of Capricorn**, **Antarctic Circle**.

### Narration

The simplest way to specify **any location on the Earth** is to provide its coordinates. The geographic **coordinate** **system** is made up of **lines of latitude and longitude**.

A **line of latitude** is an arc of a circle **parallel to the Equator**, whose plane is perpendicular to the axis of rotation. To determine the **value** of a line of latitude, we need to **connect** one of its **points** with the **centre** of the Earth and measure the **angle** this line forms with the plane of the **Equator**. For example, in the case of the **Tropic of Cancer**, this angle is **23.5°**.

**Zero degrees latitude** is called the **Equator**. It divides the Earth into the **northern** and **southern hemispheres**. Away from the Equator, latitude increases to **90°**,** at the poles**. When specifying the latitude coordinates of a point we need to indicate whether the value of the degrees refers to lines of longitude North or South.

**Important lines of latitude** are the **Arctic **and the** Antarctic Circles** that run at **66.5° latitude**. The **Tropic of Cancer** lies at **23.5° north** of the Equator. The **Tropic of Capricorn** is located **23.5° south** of the Equator. The major lines of latitude mark the boundary of **climatic zones**.

A **line of longitude** is a curve connecting the **North and the South Poles** on the shortest path. The plane defined by the lines of longitude coincides with the Earth’s axis of rotation. **Zero degrees longitude** is called the **Prime Meridian**. Away from here, longitude increases on both **hemispheres** to **180°**. The **Prime Meridian** passes through **Greenwich**, on the outskirts of London.

To obtain the **longitude coordinate values** of an arbitrarily chosen point we need to identify the point **marked** by the **Prime Meridian** on the **Equator**. We then need to see where the line of **longitude** that our selected point belongs to crosses the **Equator**. Then, we need to **connect** the two points obtained to the **centre of the Earth** and measure the **angle** formed by the two segments.

On the opposite side of the prime meridian, at **180° longitude**, lies the **International Date Line**. When specifying the longitude coordinates of a point we need to indicate whether the value of the degree refers to lines of longitude East or West.

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