**Every place on Earth has a global address. **Finding any global address involves a number of factors, including **calculating latitude and longitude**, knowing where the Greenwich Meridian (Prime Meridian) and Equator are located, and using some simple math.

Read our guide on **latitude and longitude** to find any global address below:

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**Why Learn Latitude and Longitude?**

If you learn latitude and longitude you can locate any place on Earth. What’s more, you’ll be able to calculate the distance from one place to another. There are other reasons to learn longitude and latitude.

**Reasons to learn latitude and longitude:**

- Don’t get lost
- Find out where you are if you do get lost
- Read a map
- Have a better understanding of geography

**Latitude and Longitude**

Think of latitude and longitude as a grid system broken up into quadrants. Each quadrant makes up 1° of latitude (horizontal lines) and 1° of longitude (vertical lines). Since there is a lot of territory within each latitude and longitude grid quadrant we use degrees, minutes, seconds, and direction to pinpoint exact locations within each quadrant.

**Latitude**

**Latitudes** are horizontal lines on a globe called **parallels**. There are 180 parallels. Latitude lines measure the distance in degrees from the Equator, north, and south. The lines run parallel east and west.

A degree of latitude measures 364,000 feet or about 69 miles (111 kilometers). A degree of latitude can further be broken down into minutes of latitude, which measures 6,068 feet or about 1.15 miles (1.85 km). A minute of latitude is called a nautical mile. A minute of latitude can further be broken down into seconds of latitude, which measures 101 feet.

**Noteworthy latitude lines:**

- Equator (0°)
- Tropic of Cancer (23.5° north)
- Tropic of Capricorn (23.5° south)
- Arctic circle (66.5° north)
- Antarctic circle (66.5° south)
- North Pole (90° north)
- South Pole (90° south)

**Longitude**

**Longitudes **are imaginary vertical lines on the Earth’s surface called **meridians**. There are 360 meridians. Longitude measures the distance in degrees from the prime meridian, east, and west. The longitude lines run vertical north and south.

A degree of longitude measures 288,200 feet or 54.6 miles (111 kilometers). A degree of longitude can further be broken down into minutes of longitude, which measures 4,800 feet or 0.91 miles (1.46 km). A minute of longitude can further be broken down into seconds of longitude, which measures 80 feet.

**Noteworthy longitude lines:**

- Prime Meridian (0°)
- Antimeridian (180°)

**How to Find Exact Latitude and Longitude**

Learn how to find latitude and longitude by following a few simple steps. These steps will help you find GPS coordinates for any location.

Latitude and longitude are measured in degrees, minutes, and seconds. There are sixty minutes in a degree and sixty seconds in a minute. Understand that minutes and seconds are units of distance, not time.

**Find latitude and longitude of an exact location:**

**Locate the prime meridian.**The prime meridian is a longitude line that runs through Greenwich, England, and divides the Earth into two hemispheres – east and west. This meridian is located at 0°. Each meridian east of this line measures 1° east, notated with an E. Each meridian west of this line measures 1° west, notated with a W.

**Locate the equator.**The equator is a latitude line that divides the Earth into two hemispheres – north and south. This parallel is located at 0°. Each parallel north of this line measures 1° north, notated with an N. Each parallel south of this line measures 1° south, notated with an S.

**Use a map to determine the latitudinal and longitudinal quadrant of the location you are trying to find.**For example, Keystone, South Dakota is 43° north of the equator and 103° west of the prime meridian.

**Calculate the minutes of latitude and longitude within the quadrant.**There are 60 minutes of latitude and 60 minutes of longitude within each quadrant.

**Find the intersection of latitude and longitude minutes.**For example, Keystone, South Dakota is located 53 minutes north of the 43nd parallel and 29 minutes west of the 103rd meridian.

**Calculate the seconds of latitude and longitude within the quadrant.**There are 60 seconds of latitude and longitude within each minute of latitude and longitude.

**Find the intersection of latitude and longitude seconds within the corresponding latitude and longitude minute for your location.**For example, Mount Rushmore National Memorial is located 54.816 seconds north of the 53rd minute north of the 43nd parallel north of the equator and 8.5308 seconds west of the 29th minute west of the 103rd meridian west of the prime meridian.

**How to Write GPS Coordinates**

Just like there is a proper way to write your home address, there’s also a proper way to write global addresses. Follow along to learn how to write GPS coordinates.

**How to Notate GPS Coordinates:**

- Start with latitude followed by longitude
- Write the degrees of latitude (°)
- Write the minutes of latitude (‘)
- Write the seconds of latitude (“)
- Write the direction north (N) or south (S) of the equator
- Write the degrees of longitude (°)
- Write the minutes of longitude (‘)
- Write the seconds of longitude (“)
- Write the direction east (E) or west (W) of the prime meridian
- Separate latitude and longitude using a comma

**Using our example from the previous section, we can write the GPS coordinates for Mount Rushmore National Memorial as:**

43° 53′ 54.816” N, 103° 29′ 8.5308” W

**How to Write Latitude and Longitude Coordinates**

**Latitude and longitude coordinates are written in decimal form.** The whole number before the decimal point marks the degree of longitude and latitude. What follows the decimal point is the sum of minutes and seconds. Latitudinal numbers south of the equator are marked with a minus sign to indicate south. Longitudinal numbers west of the Prime Meridian are marked with a minus sign to indicate west.

**How to Write Latitude and Longitude Coordinates:**

- Start with latitude followed by longitude
- Write the degrees of latitude as a whole number followed by a decimal point
- Divide the minutes of latitude by 60
- Divide the seconds of latitude by 3,600
- Add the divided minutes and seconds together
- Place the divided minutes and seconds, now added, to the right of the decimal point
- Add a minus sign (-) in front of the whole number if it is
*south*of the equator - Write the degrees of longitude as a whole number followed by a decimal point
- Divide the minutes of longitude by 60
- Divide the seconds of longitude by 3,600
- Add the divided minutes and seconds together
- Place the divided minutes and seconds, now added, to the right of the decimal point
- Add a minus sign (-) in front of the whole number if it is
*west*of the prime meridian - Separate latitude and longitude using a comma
- Enclose the coordinates within parentheses

Therefore, the longitude and latitude coordinates for **Mount Rushmore National Memorial** is** (43.898560, -103.485703)**. This is how we did the math:

**Latitude:**

Start with the latitude, which is 42° north of the equator.

Take the minutes of latitude and divide it by 60:

13 ÷ 60 = 0.216666667

Take the seconds of latitude and divide by 3,600:

42.708 ÷ 3,600 = 0.011863

Add the two sums:

0.216666667 + 0.011863 = 0.22853.

After adding 0.22853 to the right of the decimal point, we arrive at a latitude of 42.228530.

**Longitude:**

Start with the longitude, which is 83° west of the prime meridian.

Take the minutes of longitude and divide it by 60:

44 ÷ 60 = 0.7333333

Take the seconds of latitude and divide by 3,600:

27.924 ÷ 3,600 = 0.0077567

Add the two sums:

0.7333333 + 0.0077567 = 0.741090

After adding 0.741090 to the right of the decimal point, we arrive at a longitude of -83.741090. Note the longitude has a minus sign (-) in front of the degrees, indicating a direction west of the prime meridian.

**FAQ**

**What is the difference between latitude and longitude?**

**Lines of latitude **are imaginary lines that parallel the equator. Lines of latitude are called parallels. **Lines of longitude **are imaginary lines that run north and south with the Earth’s axis, located east and west of the prime meridian. There are 180 lines of latitude and 360 lines of longitude. Together, lines of longitude and lines of latitude help calculate precise locations on the Earth.

**Which comes first, latitude or longitude?**

Latitude comes first, followed by longitude. When writing out the notation for GPS coordinates, this protocol follows: degrees of latitude, minutes of latitude, seconds of latitude, direction of latitude, degrees of longitude, minutes of longitude, seconds of longitude, direction of longitude.

**Which is longitude and which is latitude?**

Lines of latitude are the horizontal lines on a globe. Lines of longitude are the vertical lines on a globe. There are 180 latitude lines and 360 longitude lines.

The easiest way to remember which is latitude longitude is by thinking of a ladder. The rungs on a *ladder* are *lat*itude. The *long *rails on a ladder are *long*itude.

**Which comes first, latitude or longitude?**

Latitude always comes first, followed by longitude.

For example, the GPS coordinates **42° 13′ 42.708” N, 83° 44′ 27.924” W** indicate that 42° is the 42nd degree of latitude north of the equator. The latitude longitude coordinates (42.228530, -83.741090) tell us the same thing. 42° is the 42nd degree of latitude north of the equator, and 83° is the 83rd degree of longitude west of the prime meridian.

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