Latitude and Longitude


Welcome to class! 

In today’s class, we will be talking about latitude and longitude. Enjoy the class!

Latitude and Longitude

Latitude and Longitude


Latitude is an angular distance of a point on earth’s surface measured in degrees from the centre of the earth. Latitude is parallel to the equator. The Equator divides the earth into two halves known as Northern & southern hemisphere. Lines of latitude are sometimes called parallel of latitude.

Important lines of latitude
  1. The equator 0°
  2. North pole 90°N
  3. South pole 90°S
  4. The tropic of Cancer  23 1/2°N
  5. Tropic of Capricorn  23 1/2°S
  6. Arctic circle  66 1/2°N
  7. Antarctic circle 66 1/2°S.
Uses of lines of latitudes
  1. The lines of latitude are used to determine the exact location of a place on the atlas map.
  2. They are used to calculate the distance between two places on the earth surface.


Longitude is an angular distance measured in degree east and west of the Greenwich Meridian. It is an imaginary line drawn on the globe (earth) running from north to south at a right angle to the parallels.

The longitude passing through London and Accra is called the Great, Prime or Greenwich meridian and it is on longitude 0°.  All longitudes are called the meridian.

Important lines of longitude
  1. Long  0° (Prime Meridian)
  2. Long  45°E
  3. Long 45°W
  4. Long 90°E
  5. Long 90°W
  6. Long180°E etc.
Uses of lines of longitude
  1. They are used to calculate local time.
  2. They are used to determine the exact location of places on the atlas map.
Similarities between lines of latitudes and meridians
  1. Both are used for the location of places on the map.
  2. Both are numbered in degrees.
  3. Both are imaginary lines drawn on the globe.
  4. Both contain great circles.


  1. What is latitude?
  2. Mention the important lines of latitude and longitude
Differences between lines of longitude and lines of latitudes
Lines of latitudes Lines of longitudes
  • The Equator is the only great circle
It has many great circles as opposite parts of lines make a great circle.


  • Lines are shorter towards the pole
Lines are of the same length
  • They run from West to East
They run from North to South
  • Lines are parallel to each other
Lines are not parallel to each other but converge at the poles.


  • The lines are called parallels
The lines are called meridians
  • Lines are used for measuring distance


Lines are used for calculating local time
  • Has the equator as its reference point
Has Greenwich meridian as its reference point.


  • Latitude measures up to 180° i.e. 90°N – 90°S
Longitudes measure up to 360° i.e. 180°W – 180°E

Great circle and the small circle

A great circle is any line that divides the earth into two halves or hemispheres. The centre of the great circle is also the centre of the earth.

Two opposite lines of longitude make a great circle e.g. long 0°, 180°W and 180°E, long 300W and long 15°W, long 110°W and 70°E, etc.

On the other hand, a small circle is any line that does not divide the earth into two halves or hemisphere. All lines of latitude are small circles except the Equator. Examples are lat.90°N, 90°S, Tropic of cancer, Tropic of Capricorn etc.

Latitude and Longitude 


  1. Differentiate between lines of latitude and lines of longitude.
  2. Describe a great circle.
General evaluation
  1. Mention two uses of lines of latitude and longitude.
  2.  State two similarities and four differences between longitude and latitude.
  3.  Describe a small circle.
  4. What is a great circle?

Reading assignment

Essential Geography, O.A. Iwena, Pages 14-17.


  1. State two differences between longitude and latitude.
  2. List five important lines of latitude.


In our next class, we will be talking more about Latitude and Longitude.  We hope you enjoyed the class.

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