Difference between Longitude and Latitude

Difference between Longitude and Latitude

Whenever we go to new place or destination and we don’t know the exact address, we simply put the name of the location on Google Map. Google map shows all the results related to that location.

But do you ever think How does it work?

It is possible because Google have some numerical data related to that geographical location. As every house has a unique house number in the locality or flat number in the tower or block. These numerical data help to find out the exact geographic destination.

Similarly, for every destination google assign a unique identification number.

Longitude and latitude are basically a unique number which are stored for every point’s position on the earth. But before understanding longitude and latitude, we first need to understand Equator and Prime Meridian.

What is Equator?

It is an imaginary line that divides the earth horizontally and in two equal half parts, these equal halves are known as Hemisphere and the imaginary line is known as Equator. Equator divides the earth between Northern and Southern Hemisphere.

What is Prime Meridian?

Prime meridian is an imaginary vertical line which divide the earth into Eastern and Western Hemisphere.

The function of prime meridian is to measuring distance between east and west around the earth. This line is in between the North and South Pole.

Latitudes or Parallels

Latitude are the imaginary horizontal lines which are parallel to the equator. Taking equator as a base line, all the parallel line above and below the equator are the Latitude Lines.

Latitude starts from 0° and goes up to 90°. In the northern hemisphere, latitudes grow with positive vectors or numbers like 30°, 60° and 90°. And similarly in the southern hemisphere, grows with negative number.

It means if any number has Negative Degree, it is in the southern hemisphere and if number has Positive Degree, it is in northern hemisphere.

30° or 30° N represent the angular distance from 0° (taking equator as a base line) on the Northern Hemisphere.

Similarly, –30° or 30° S will represent distance on the Southern Hemisphere.

Longitudes or Meridians

Longitude are the vertical imaginary lines.

Taking prime meridian as a base line, longitude are the lines that start with the north poles and end on the south poles. Longitudes are also known as Meridians.

Similarly, as the latitudes, these also represent the angular distance between north pole to south pole. It divides the earth between eastern and western hemisphere.

On the Eastern Hemisphere, the angular degree grows with the positive numbers. And on the other hand, negative numbers represent the degree of angle in western hemisphere.

30° or 30° E represent the angular distance from South Pole 0° (taking prime meridian as a base line) on the Eastern Hemisphere.

Similarly, –30° or 30° W represents distance on the Western Hemisphere.

Similarities Between Latitude and Longitude

There are some similarities between both Longitude and Latitude. Let’s discuss in the detail:

  • Longitude and latitude both are the geographical co-ordinate system which are used to determine the point’s position or location on Globe and Map.
  • These are the imaginary lines. It means in reality there are no such latitude and longitude lines on the earth. For our convenience we draw these lines and so many other lines such as Equator, Prime Meridian.
  • Together, they determine the angular distance of any particular location from the centre of the Earth as an origin.
  • Latitude and longitude both are measured with the help of same parameters. That is Degree, Minutes and Seconds. Thereis60 minutes in one degree and 60 seconds in a minute.
  • Both of them make up a complex grid on the entire surface of the Earth. And every point on the grid has a unique Location.

Difference Between Latitude and Longitude

Although there are some similarities between latitude and longitude but these two are different lines. Here we will see the difference in detail:

 1.Latitudes are known as Parallels.Longitudes are also known as Meridians.
 2.For latitudes, the base line is Equator.In case of longitude, prime meridian is the base line.
 3.Equator is at 0° latitudes.Prime meridian is at 0° longitude.
 4.Latitude divides the earth between Northern and Southern Hemisphere.It divides the earth between Eastern and Western Hemisphere.
 5.The length of lines around the globe are different.The length of all the lines are same.
 6.There are total 180 latitudes.There are 360 longitudes.
7.Equator is the longest circle and latitudes get shorter towards the poles.Longitudes start from north pole and end on the south pole.
8.It measures the distance of the poles from the Equator.Longitude measure distance of east or west from the prime meridian.
9.Latitude crosses the prime meridian at right angles.Longitudes pass the equator at the right angles.
10.Latitude lines run in East–West direction.Longitude lines run in North–South direction.

Facts About Latitude and Longitude

  • Null Island is the point where equator and prime meridian intersect each other. It means Null Island represent 0° latitude and 0° longitude.
  • Latitudes are parallel to one another and never intersect each other.
  • The point in the grid of globe where latitude or parallels and longitude or meridians meet is called a Co-ordinate of that point.
  • There are total number of 180 parallels and 360 meridians.


It is really interesting to know about these lines and how they help to find a particular location or region on the globe or map. Without Latitude and Longitude, it's not possible to get proper results related to any location or destination.