Latitude and Longitude
Earth's Latitude and Longitude
The latitude of a point on the Earth's surface is the angle between the equatorial plane and a line that passes through that point and is normal to the surface of a reference ellipsoid which approximates the shape of the Earth. This line passes a few kilometers away from the center of the Earth except at the poles and the equator where it passes through Earth's center. Lines joining points of the same latitude trace circles on the surface of the Earth called parallels, as they are parallel to the equator and to each other. The north pole is 90 degree N; the south pole is 90 degree S. The 0 degree parallel of latitude is designated the equator, the fundamental plane of all geographic coordinate systems. The equator divides the globe into Northern and Southern Hemispheres.
The Longitude of a point on the Earth's surface is the angle east or west from a reference meridian to another meridian that passes through that point. All meridians are halves of great ellipses (often improperly called great circles), which converge at the north and south poles.
A brief synopsis of latitude and longitude and how they are used to accurately describe locations on the surface of the earth.