Difference Between Latitude vs Longitude

Difference Between Latitude vs Longitude

When you move from point A to B, it does not feel like you are walking in a sphere, it feels more like a flat surface. This is why it is hard for a lot of people to believe that we live on a spherical planet. However, that is a layman’s perception. Scientists have studied and explored this planet, and they came to the conclusion that it is roughly, but none the less, a sphere.

To further appreciate how these coordinates are located, it is important, first of all, to understand the difference between latitude and longitude. We have put together a comprehensive description of the two to help you understand their uniqueness and applications.

Definition of Latitude

Latitude is a perceived horizontal line that denotes the length at any point between the N and S poles. It cuts across from side to side and helps in measuring how far a particular location is from the north or south of the equator.

To get a particular location using these strokes, you have to start measurement from the equator and run it all the way to the point in question. Note that the records are denoted in degrees, minutes, and seconds.

Any coordinate that is toward the North Pole is considered northern while anyone that falls towards the south is considered southern. All horizontals range from 0 to 90 degrees north and south. These strokes are also referred to as parallels, and they do not all have the same length.

There are certain parallels that are quite noteworthy as far as locations go. They include the tropic of Cancer, tropic of Capricorn, Arctic Circle, and the Antarctic Circle. They have the coordinates 23.5 degrees due N, 23.5 degrees, due S, 66.5 degrees due N, and 66.5 degrees due S, respectively. These points are important because they have been observed and verified as points where the sun is in a certain position or about to make a certain move.

Definition of Longitude

Longitude is defined as a perceived vertical line that represents the distance at any point between the east and west of the Prime Meridian. They run are also referred to as the mapping lines, or the Prime Meridian.

With these, one can easily locate any point anywhere between within the eastern and western hemispheres, ranging from 0 to 180 degrees of the prime meridian. With a horizontal stroke in place, one can pinpoint an exact location with a certainty.

In a longitude vs latitude comparison, a few things come to mind. One of them is that the latter is made of a hundred and eighty lines that are of different lengths while the former consist of three hundred and sixty that are exactly the same in length. This is because the longitude lines originate from a point, unlike the latter that originates from anywhere on the vertical line that crosses through the equator.

Main Differences Between Latitude vs Longitude

The table below is a graphical and comprehensive summary of the key latitude vs longitude differences, highlighting points like their definitions, applications, direction, lengths of and number of lines, and range.

Basis of ComparisonLatitudeLongitude
DefinitionAn imaginary horizontal line that represents the distance at any point between the north and south polesAn imaginary vertical line that represents the distance at any point between the east and west of the Prime Meridian
Zero pointEquatorPrime meridian
ApplicationUsed in temperature and zone classificationUsed in time zone classification
Number of linesA hundred and eightyThree hundred and sixty
Range0 to 90 degrees north and south0 to 180 degrees east and west
LengthsDiffersThe same

Difference Between Latitude and Longitude: Conclusion

In summary, the difference between longitude and latitude is basically the result of the studies and explorations carried out by scientists in a bid to prove the shape of the earth and how to easily find a location on the sphere.

This exploration first undertaken in the 18th century and is still very much ongoing to this point. More research and findings would help scientists gain a better understanding of the universe and galaxies at large.