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Difference between Longitude and Latitude

The terms Longitude and Latitude refer to the lines of longitude and lines of latitude respectively. These are imaginary lines that envelop the earth. On earth's surface, the location of an object like a ship, airplane etc., is determined by longitude and latitude. In fact, these lines are geographical coordinates used by a pilot of a plane or captain of a ship to indicate their position on the map. The lines of longitude are vertical and run from the North Pole to the South Pole and the lines of latitude are horizontal and run from the East to West. Let us see how lines of latitude differ from lines of longitude!

Longitude:

Longitude is the distance to the east or west of the prime meridian, an imaginary line that runs from North to South through Greenwich, England. It is measured in degrees east or west of the prime meridian.

The centermost line of longitude is the Prime Meridian which is labeled at 0 degrees. It divides the Earth into two equal parts: Eastern Hemisphere and Western Hemisphere. All other lines of longitude, which are also known as meridians, are of the same length and located one degree apart. Each degree equals to about 69 miles and is divided into 60 minutes.

Latitude:

In geography, latitude refers to the angular distance of an object or point located to north or south of the equator, an imaginary circular line around the Earth halfway between the North and South Poles. So, it is of O degree latitude and considered the starting point for measuring latitude.

Latitude divides the Earth into two equal parts: upper half is called Northern Hemisphere and the lower half is called Southern Hemisphere. The latitude of the North Pole is 90 degrees north and latitude of the South Pole is 90 degrees south. Therefore, the latitude of a point in between north and south poles would be some degree north or south, between O degree to 90 degrees. One degree of latitude is equal to about 69 miles or 111 kilometers.

The circular lines parallel to the equator up to the North and South poles are the parallels of latitudes. The angle ranges from 0 degrees at the Equator to 90 degrees (North or South) at the poles. The lines of latitude get shorter as they get closer to the poles due to the decrease in the circumference of the Earth.

In addition to the equator (centermost line of latitude), the two prominent latitudes are the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. The area between these two latitudes is as the tropics.

Based on the above information, some of the key differences between latitude and longitude are as follows:

Longitude Latitude
It refers to the geographic coordinate which determines the position or distance of a point located to the east or west of the Prime Meridian. It refers to the geographic coordinate which determines the position or distance of a point located to the north or south of the equator.
The direction of lines of longitude is from North to South. They are not parallel to each other. The direction of lines of latitudes is from East to West and they are parallel to each other and to the equator.
It is represented by the Greek letter lambda. It is represented by the Greek letter phi.
Its range is from 0 to 180 degree. Its range is from 0 to 90 degree.
The lines of longitude running from one pole to another pole are known as meridians of longitude. The parallel circles from the equator to the north or south poles are known as parallels of latitude.
The total number of longitude lines is 360. The total number of latitude lines is 180.
The lines of longitudes are of equal length. The lines of latitude are of unequal length.
It divides the Earth into two equal parts: Eastern Hemisphere and Western Hemisphere. It divides the Earth into two equal parts: Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere.
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