# What is the Difference Between Longitude and Latitude

The main difference between longitude and latitude is that longitude is a measurement east or west of the prime meridian, while latitude is the measurement north or south of the Equator.

In brief, longitudes and latitudes are a coordinate system from which we can determine the specific location or position of any place on Earth’s surface. Moreover, we measure longitudes from imaginary vertical lines that run across the globe and latitudes from imaginary horizontal lines that run across the globe.

### Key Areas Covered

1. What is a Longitude
– Definition, Features
2. What is a Latitude
– Definition, Features
3. Difference Between Longitude and Latitude
– Comparison of Key Differences

### Key Terms

Latitude, Longitude

## What is a Longitude

Longitude is a measurement east or west of the prime meridian. Longitudes are coordinates that specify the measurement east or west of the prime meridian. Longitude is an angular measurement and we express it in degrees.

Moreover, we measure longitudes by imaginary lines that run around the Earth vertically. These lines are called meridians, and they meet at the South and North Poles. We measure the distance around the Earth as 360 degrees, and each meridian measures one degree of longitude. Therefore, there are 360 meridians. Negative longtidues are west of the prime meridian, while positive ones are east. In addition, Prime Meriden is the meridian that runs through Greenwich. It’s universally accepted as the line of 0 degrees.

In addition, there is a close connection between longitude and time. In fact,  time in a specific place varies with longitude; a difference of 15° longitude corresponds to a one-hour difference in time.

## What is a Latitude

Latitudes are the measurement of distance north or south of the Equator. These are imaginary circles parallel to the Equator. There are 180 such imaginary lines. We call them parallels. Each line measures one degree north or south of the Equator. Therefore, we express them in angular measurements from 0° at the Equator to 90° (North or South). The Equator is the line of 0 degrees latitude. We can also express southern latitudes as negative numbers with -90° at the South Pole. In brief, we can use both latitude and longitude to specify the specific location of a geographical feature.

Furthermore, some latitudes have names. For example, the Tropic of Cancer is the line of latitude 23.5 degrees north of the Equator. It’s the most northerly circle of latitude on Earth. Tropic of Capricorn, on the other hand, is 23.4394 degrees of the Equator, and it’s the most southerly latitude. Moreover, at this latitude, the sun can appear directly overhead at noon.

## Difference Between Longitude and Latitude

### Definition

Longitude is a measurement of distance east or west of the prime meridian, while latitude is the measurement of distance north or south of the Equator.

### Parallels vs Meridians

Longitude involves meridians, which are imaginary vertical lines that run across the globe, while latitude involves meridians, which are imaginary horizontal lines that run across the globe.

### Number

Besides, there are 360 meridians, but 180 parallels.

### Measure at O Degrees

In longitudes, the line of 0 degrees is the Prime meridian, while in latitudes, the line of 0 degrees is the Equator.

### Conclusion

The main difference between longitude and latitude is that longitude is a measurement east or west of the prime meridian, while latitude is the measurement north or south of the Equator. In brief, we measure longitudes from imaginary vertical lines that run across the globe and latitudes from imaginary horizontal lines that run across the globe.

##### Reference:

1.  “Longitude.” National Geographic Society, 9 Oct. 2012, Available here.
2. “Latitude.” National Geographic Society, 9 Oct. 2012, Available here.

##### Image Courtesy:

1. “Longitude of the Earth fr” By Djexplo – File:Latitude and Longitude of the Earth.svg by File:Latitude and Longitude of the Earth fr.svg (CC0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Latitude of the Earth fr” By Djexplo – File:Latitude and Longitude of the Earth.svg through File:Latitude and Longitude of the Earth fr.svg (CC0) via Commons Wikimedia