CONCEPTS

# What are latitude and longitude?

We explain what latitude and longitude are, how they are used and represented. In addition, examples of coordinates of different cities.

1. ### What are latitude and longitude?

Latitude and longitude are the two types of angular geographic coordinates that make up the planetary reference system with which we can locate any point on the surface of planet Earth . This system is used by technologies such as GPS ( Global Positioning System).

The coordinate system that makes up latitude and longitude, known as the Geographic Coordinate System, has the center of the Earth as an imaginary center and expresses its values ​​in sexagesimal degrees, accompanied by a letter that indicates the cardinal orientation within the globe: North, South, East or West.

Thus, the latitude is the angle imaginary occupies a point from the Ecuador (the imaginary line that divides the world into two hemispheres: North and South), if we draw a line from your location to the center of the Earth. Latitude is symbolized with the Greek letter phi, ϕ.

In other words, it is about how far or so close a point of the equator reference is, and the tropics that are parallel to it: the Tropic of Cancer and that of Capricorn. The parallels serve as a reference to calculate latitude .

Instead, the length is a similar imaginary angle, but determined by the Greenwich Meridian or Meridian 0, which runs through the town of the same name in London, England, where the Royal English Observatory is.

Said meridian divides the world into two regions, the western (West) and the eastern (East). It serves to draw the other meridians that cross the globe imaginary parallel to the reference meridian. The length is symbolized with the Greek letter lambda, λ.

Thus, with the latitude and longitude coordinates of a point, we can place it geographically in the grid that makes up the meridians and parallels . The absolute position is the coordinate combinatorial that locates a point on the earth’s surface .

On the other hand, if we compare the location of one point with that of another (of which we know, generally, its absolute position), we will be talking about relative position.

In both cases, this information is usually noted in parentheses, distinguishing between degrees, minutes and seconds for both latitude and longitude. For example:

Point X (66 ° 33 ‘9’ ‘N; 11 ° 04’ 13”E)

It reads as follows: 66 degrees, 33 minutes, 9 seconds north latitude, 11 degrees, 4 minutes, 13 seconds east longitude. It is possible to find in some cases the letter W instead of O for west, since it is the term in English (West).

1. ### Examples of geographic coordinates

The geographical coordinates of the main cities of the world are:

• London, England (51 ° 30 ’30’ ‘N; 0 ° 7’ 32 ” W)
• Berlin, Germany (52 ° 31 ’28’ ‘N; 13 ° 24’ 38 ” E)
• Paris, France (48 ° 51 ’12’ ‘N; 02 ° 20’ 56 ” E)
• Madrid, Spain (40 ° 24 ’59’ ‘N; 03 ° 42’ 09 ” W)
• Buenos Aires, Argentina (34 ° 36 ’47’ ‘S; 58 ° 22’ 38 ” W)
• Lima, Peru (12 ° 02 ’35’ ‘S; 77 ° 01’ 42 ” W)
• Mexico City, Mexico (19 ° 25 ’42’ ‘N; 99 ° 07’ 40 ” W)
• Cairo, Egypt (30 ° 03 ’45’ ‘N; 31 ° 14’ 59 ” E)
• Moscow, Russia (55 ° 45 ‘8’ ‘N; 37 ° 36’ 56 ” E) bn
• Tokyo, Japan (35 ° 36 ’54’ ‘N; 139 ° 41’ 30 ” E)
• Hong Kong, China (22 ° 15 ’00’ ‘N; 114 ° 10’ 00 ” E)