latitudesSouthlatitudinalNorthNgeographic latitudegeodetic latitudelatitudinallylatnorth latitude
In geography, latitude is a geographic coordinate that specifies the north–south position of a point on the Earth's surface.wikipedia
2,285 Related Articles

Geographic coordinate system

Coordinatesgeographic coordinateslatitude and longitude
In geography, latitude is a geographic coordinate that specifies the north–south position of a point on the Earth's surface.
A common choice of coordinates is latitude, longitude and elevation.


equatorial planeThe Equator
Latitude is an angle (defined below) which ranges from 0° at the Equator to 90° (North or South) at the poles.
The latitude of the Earth's equator is, by definition, 0° (zero degrees) of arc. The equator is one of the five notable circles of latitude on Earth; the other four are both polar circles (the Arctic Circle and the Antarctic Circle) and both tropical circles (the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn).

Reference ellipsoid

ellipsoidexact size and shapeAiry ellipsoid
Since there are many different reference ellipsoids, the precise latitude of a feature on the surface is not unique: this is stressed in the ISO standard which states that "without the full specification of the coordinate reference system, coordinates (that is latitude and longitude) are ambiguous at best and meaningless at worst".
Because of their relative simplicity, reference ellipsoids are used as a preferred surface on which geodetic network computations are performed and point coordinates such as latitude, longitude, and elevation are defined.

Decimal degrees

decimalisation of circular measure
It is measured in degrees, minutes and seconds or decimal degrees, north or south of the equator.
Decimal degrees (DD) express latitude and longitude geographic coordinates as decimal fractions and are used in many geographic information systems (GIS), web mapping applications such as OpenStreetMap, and GPS devices.

North Pole

NorthGeographic North Pole90
The Equator has a latitude of 0°, the North Pole has a latitude of 90° North (written 90° N or +90°), and the South Pole has a latitude of 90° South (written 90° S or −90°).
It defines geodetic latitude 90° North, as well as the direction of true north.

Meridian (geography)

meridianmeridiansmeridian line
Planes which contain the rotation axis intersect the surface at the meridians; and the angle between any one meridian plane and that through Greenwich (the Prime Meridian) defines the longitude: meridians are lines of constant longitude.
The position of a point along the meridian is given by that longitude and its latitude, measured in angular degrees north or south of the Equator.


In geography, latitude is a geographic coordinate that specifies the north–south position of a point on the Earth's surface.
Anaximander is credited with the invention of the gnomon, the simple, yet efficient Greek instrument that allowed the early measurement of latitude.


tropicaltropictropical zone
Only at latitudes in between the two tropics is it possible for the Sun to be directly overhead (at the zenith).
They are delimited in latitude by the Tropic of Cancer in the Northern Hemisphere at N and the Tropic of Capricorn in


The simplest choice for the reference surface is a sphere, but the geoid is more accurately modeled by an ellipsoid.
Circles on the sphere that are parallel (i.e. not great circles) to the equator are lines of latitude.

Tropic of Cancer

Cancertropic23.44° north
The Tropic of Cancer, which is also referred to as the Northern Tropic, is the most northerly circle of latitude on Earth at which the Sun can be directly overhead.


geodeticgeodesistgeodetic survey
The study of the figure of the Earth together with its gravitational field is the science of geodesy.
Geographical latitude and longitude are stated in the units degree, minute of arc, and second of arc. They are angles, not metric


ΦPhi (letter)Φ φ
In English texts the latitude angle, defined below, is usually denoted by the Greek lower-case letter phi (φ or ϕ).

Nautical mile

nautical milesnmnmi.
The length of 1 minute of latitude is 1.853 km (1.00 nautical miles), while the length of 1 second of latitude is 30.8 m (see nautical mile).
Historically, it was defined as one minute (1⁄60 of a degree) of latitude along any line of longitude.

Map projection

projectionequal-areacartographic projection
On map projections there is no universal rule as to how meridians and parallels should appear.
Auxiliary latitudes are often employed in projecting the ellipsoid.

Degree (angle)

It is measured in degrees, minutes and seconds or decimal degrees, north or south of the equator.
When this is not the case, as in astronomy or for geographic coordinates (latitude and longitude), degree measurements may be written using decimal degrees, with the degree symbol behind the decimals; for example, 40.1875°.

Minute and second of arc

masarcsecondarc second
It is measured in degrees, minutes and seconds or decimal degrees, north or south of the equator.
Positions are traditionally given using degrees, minutes, and seconds of arcs for latitude, the arc north or south of the equator, and for longitude, the arc east or west of the Prime Meridian.


Latitude is used together with longitude to specify the precise location of features on the surface of the Earth.
A location's north–south position along a meridian is given by its latitude, which is approximately the angle between the local vertical and the equatorial plane.


ED 50 ED 50European Datum 1950
The same coordinates on the datum ED50 define a point on the ground which is 140 m distant from the tower.
Some of the important battles of World War II were fought on the borders of Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and France, and the mapping of these countries had incompatible latitude and longitude positioning.


oblate spheroidoblateprolate spheroid
In 1687 Isaac Newton published the Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, in which he proved that a rotating self-gravitating fluid body in equilibrium takes the form of an oblate ellipsoid.
where β is the reduced or parametric latitude, λ is the longitude, and

Global Positioning System

GPSglobal positioning systemsGlobal Positioning System (GPS)
This is of great importance in accurate applications, such as a Global Positioning System (GPS), but in common usage, where high accuracy is not required, the reference ellipsoid is not usually stated.
The receiver's Earth-centered solution location is usually converted to latitude, longitude and height relative to an ellipsoidal Earth model.

Meridian arc

arc of the meridianmeridional linemeridian
If the meridian distance is denoted by
Pendulum gravimeters began to be taken on voyages to remote parts of the world, and it was slowly discovered that gravity increases smoothly with increasing latitude, gravitational acceleration being about 0.5% greater at the geographical poles than at the Equator.


Astronomic latitude is calculated from angles measured between the zenith and stars whose declination is accurately known.
Declination in astronomy is comparable to geographic latitude, projected onto the celestial sphere, and hour angle is likewise comparable to longitude.

Circle of latitude

parallelparallelscircles of latitude
A circle of latitude on Earth is an abstract east–west circle connecting all locations around Earth (ignoring elevation) at a given latitude.

Gravitational acceleration

acceleration due to gravityacceleration of gravityg
The true vertical, the direction of a plumb line, is also the direction of the gravity acceleration, the resultant of the gravitational acceleration (mass-based) and the centrifugal acceleration at that latitude.
At different points on Earth, objects fall with an acceleration between 9.764 m/s2 and 9.834 m/s2 depending on altitude and latitude, with a conventional standard value of exactly 9.80665 m/s 2 (approximately 32.17405 ft/s 2 ).

Geographic coordinate conversion

datum transformationheretransform
The transformation between geodetic and Cartesian coordinates may be found in Geographic coordinate conversion.
Informally, specifying a geographic location usually means giving the location's latitude and longitude.