To this day, it is known that the most widely used way to locate a point on any part of the earth’s surface is by using geographic coordinates. These coordinates are standard and are known as latitude and longitude coordinates. Both coordinates are expressed in degrees, minutes and seconds and symbolize angular distances that are calculated from the center of the planet. In this article we want to distinguish the difference between these two terms, therefore, we will define them and then we will see the greatest differences between them.


To define the latitude, first it is necessary to know what the equator line is. The line of the equator is that which divides the surface of the terrestrial planet into two equal parts, which would be the northern hemisphere and the southern hemisphere. Therefore, it can be said that the equator divides the earth in half, taking as reference the geographic poles, the north pole and the south pole. It is also commonly known as the equator. As a general culture, it follows that the name of the country Ecuador refers to this line.

Latitude refers to the distance that exists from the equator of the earth, in degrees. Therefore, if the reference is the geographic poles, the north pole would be at 90 degrees and the south pole would be at -90 degrees. It often refers to latitude as north latitude or south latitude, depending on this position with respect to the equator. The latitude in the equator is 0 degrees.



To define the longitude , it is essential to know what the meridians are. The meridians are semicircles, that is, half a circle, which begin and end at the poles of the earth, north and south. There are different meridians, but the meridian used to measure longitude is the Greenwich meridian in England.

The longitude is the measurement that is made taking as reference the meridian of Greenwich, where the longitude is 0 degrees. Likewise, the longitude increases as it moves away from the east, in a positive direction from 0 to 180 degrees and decreases or is negative from 0 to -180 degrees westward.

The differences we can find between latitude and longitude are:

  • The latitude is expressed by the Greek letter F ɸ. Longitude is expressed by the Greek letter lambda λ.
  • The latitude measures the distance taking as reference the equatorial line of the earth. Longitude measures the distance taking as reference the meridian of Greenwich.
  • Latitude takes a value in degrees in a range of -90 to 90 degrees. Longitude takes values ​​in degrees in a range of -180 to 180 degrees.
  • Latitude generally uses the letters N and S to denote if it is in the Northern Hemisphere or Southern Hemisphere, respectively. Longitude generally uses the letters E and O to refer to east or west, respectively. These letters usually go to the end of the values ​​represented in degrees.
  • Latitude is also used to divide the land into latitudinal zones as polar zone, inter tropical and temperate according to its temperature. Longitude is also used to divide the land into time zones and is where the time zones come from.
  • Latitude are related to climate zone because latitude of a particular location affects its climate while longitude can determine the time zone a particular location

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