20+ Differences Between Latitude And Longitude

Latitudes and Longitudes are the two geographical terms that you must have heard tons of times. And pretty sure, these two terms are known to create lots of confusion. Earth is in a spherical shape and rotates on its axis.

The Equator is an imaginary line or latitude that divides the Earth’s surface horizontally into two equal halves.

A prime meridian is a longitude that divides the earth’s surface vertically into two halves. It is on the basis of these that the imaginary lines Latitudes and Longitudes are created.

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Key Differences –

Latitude –

  1. A Latitude is an imaginary line that goes from east to west. 
  2. The Latitude lines are parallel to the equator. 
  3. Since the Latitude lines are parallel to the equator, they are also called Parallels of Latitude. 
  4. Parallels of Latitude are of different lengths. 
  5. Latitudes stretch from 0 degrees to 90 degrees. 

Longitude –

  1. Longitude is an imaginary line that goes from north to south. 
  2. The Longitude lines are perpendicular to the equator. 
  3. Since the Longitude lines are perpendicular to the equator, they are also called Meridians of Longitude. 
  4. Meridians of Longitude are of the same lengths. 
  5. Longitudes stretch from 0 degrees to 180 degrees. 

Comparison Between Latitude And Longitude

ParameterLatitudeLongitude
DefinitionLatitudes are the imaginary lines created on the Earth’s surface to define heat zones.Longitudes are also the imaginary lines on Earth’s surface to define time zones. 
DirectionLatitudes run in the direction from east to west.Longitudes run in the direction from north to south. 
Nature of linesLatitudinal lines are parallel in natureLongitudinal lines is perpendicular in nature.
Total numberThe total number of Latitudes is 180. The total number of Longitudes is 360. 
Also knowns asLatitudes are also known as Parallels of Latitudes. Longitudes are also known as Meridians of Longitudes.

Major Differences Between Latitude And Longitude

What exactly is a Latitude?

A Latitude is also an imaginary line that goes from east to west and is parallel to an equator.

Thus, Latitudes are also known as the parallel of Latitudes. There are a total of 180 parallels of Latitude, and they stretch from 0 degrees to 90 degrees (considering the Equator is 0 degrees).

There are five major parallels of Latitude, and these are the Arctic circle, Antarctic Circle, Tropic of Cancer, and Tropic of Capricorn. These are explained below:

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  1. The Equator is an imaginary line that goes in the direction of east to west and divides the Earth’s surface into two equal halves, i.e., Northern and Southern Hemispheres. The Equator lies at 0 degrees and becomes the basis for parallels of Latitude and meridians of Longitudes. An equator is also a Latitude. 
  2. An Arctic circle is one of the important parallels of Latitude that is located at 66 and a half degrees in the Northern hemisphere. 
  3. An Antarctic circle is another important parallel Latitude that is located at 66 and a half degrees in the Southern hemisphere. 
  4. The Tropic of Cancer is an important parallel Latitude which is located that is located at 23 and a half degrees in the Northern hemisphere. It is also known as Northern Tropic. 
  5. Last but not least, The Tropic of Capricorn is another important parallel Latitude that is located at 23 and a half degrees in the Southern hemisphere. It is also known as Southern Tropic. 

What exactly is a Longitude? 

Longitude is an imaginary line that runs from north to south. Since the Equator lies in the direction of east to west, the longitudes bisect the Equator at 90 degrees. Thus, Longitudinal lines are also called Meridians of Longitude.

There are a total of 360 Meridians of Longitude, and they stretch from 0 degrees to 180 degrees (considering the Equator as 0 degrees). 

There is one of the most important Meridians of Longitude is known as the Prime Meridian and is explained below:

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The Prime Meridian is the most important Longitude that cuts the Earth into two equal halves, i.e., the Eastern hemisphere and the Southern hemisphere. This Longitude passes through the Greenwich Laboratory, London, where Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) zone is located, meaning the Prime Meridian is the basis for calculating different time zones on Earth.


The Contrast Between Latitude And Longitude.

Origin of The Word

  • Latitude – The word Latitude originated from the Latin word “latitudo” meaning breadth, extent, width, etc. 
  • Longitude – The word Longitude is derived from the Latin word “longus” meaning long.

Directions Involved

Image Example

Latitude – Latitudes run from east to west direction. 

Longitude – Longitudes run from north to south direction. 

Measured In

  • Latitude – Latitudes are measured in degrees. 
  • Longitude – Longitudes are also measured in degrees. 

Angle

  • Latitude – Latitudes stretch from 0 degrees to 90 degrees. 
  • Longitude – Longitudes stretch from 0 degrees to 180 degrees. 

Total Number

  • Latitude – The total number of Latitudes is 180. 
  • Longitude – The total number of Longitudes is 360. 

Also Called

  • Latitude – The Latitudes are called Parallels of Latitude. 
  • Longitude – The Longitudes are called Meridians of Longitude. 

Length

  • Latitude – The Latitudes are of different lengths. 
  • Longitude – The Longitudes are of the same lengths. 

Nature Of Lines

  • Latitude – Latitude lines are of parallel nature. 
  • Longitude – Longitude lines are of perpendicular nature. 

Defines

  • Latitude – Latitudes define heat zones. 
  • Longitude – Longitudes define time zones. 

Conclusion

Latitudes and Longitudes are two types of imaginary lines created on the Earth’s surface to identify different heat and time zones. The Equator is a type of Latitude which cuts the Earth into two halves, i.e., Northern and Southern hemispheres. The parallels of Latitude stay parallel to the Equator.

The parallels of Latitude are of different lengths and are measured to be 180 in total number. On the other hand, Longitudes run north to south and are known as Meridians of Longitudes.

The Prime Meridian cut the Earth into two equal halves, i.e., the Eastern and Northern hemispheres. The Meridians of Longitude are perpendicular to the Equator. These Longitudes are of the same length and are measured to be 360 in total number. 


(FAQs) Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is the major difference between Latitude and Longitude?

The major difference between these two geographical terms is, Latitude runs from east to west and is parallel to the Equator.

Whereas, Longitude runs from north to south and is perpendicular to the Equator. 

Q2. Why are Latitudes of different lengths whereas Longitudes are of the same lengths?

Earth is in a shape of a sphere. Latitudes are complete circles equidistant from each other. These circles start to get smaller as they move away from the Equator.

Thus, latitudes are of different lengths. On the other hand, Longitudes are vertical lines or ½ of the circumference of Earth, and they stay the same in length. 

Q3. What is the use of the Equator and prime meridian?

The Equator helps in defining the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. The Equator is a latitude that cuts the Earth into two halves vertically.

The upper one is north, and the lower one is south. On the other hand, Prime Meridian is a longitude that also cuts the Earth into two halves vertically, the left one being Eastern Hemisphere and the right one being Western Hemisphere. 


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