|The global grid system uses both the parallels of latitude
and the meridian of longitude. When giving a location in latitude and
longitude, latitude is always first. As an example, the location for New
Orleans is 30 N, 90 W. This is read as 30 degrees north latitude, and 90
degrees west longitude.
The map above shows the New Orleans location. New Orleans is located
where the parallel of latitude that is 30 degrees north of the Equator
crosses the meridian of longitude that is 90 degrees west of the Prime
Where is Timbuktu?
Timbuktu is a city in the country of Mali and was a major trading and
learning center of several ancient African empires. How would you locate
this city if it is not exactly at the intersection of a latitude and
The city of Timbuktu is located by estimating where a place is in
relation to the grid lines that do appear on the map. Timbuktu's
location is 17 N, 3 W. In order to find Timbuktu on the map of western
Africa, you might think to yourself . . .
A. Start with latitude, which is 17 N. That is a little more than
halfway from the latitude lines of 10 N to 20 N. So I'll draw a parallel
of latitude a little more than halfway between 10 N and 20 N.
B. Now the longitude, which is 3 W. That is just a little to the west
(left) of the Prime Meridian (0). So I will draw a meridian of longitude
a little less than 1/3 the way from the Prime Meridian (0) to the 15 W
line. I only need to draw this longitude line where it crosses the
latitude line I drew before.
C. Timbuktu should be located very close to the intersection of the
two lines I drew. There it is, just north of the Niger River in the
country of Mali.
??? Use the map above for this exercise. First use your pencil and
ruler to draw in the latitude and longitude lines for the locations
listed below. Write in the city that is located at the intersection of
the lines you have drawn.
|1. Name the city located at 1 N, 10 E.
|2. Name the city located at 13 N, 3 E.
|3. Name the city located at 7 N, 11 W.
??? After a little practice, you can estimate where the line would be
without drawing it. Use the world map and write the name of the city or
the country in the space provided.
|4. Name the city located at 30 N, 31 E.
|5. If you were lost in the desert at 20 N, 45
E, what country would you be in?
|6. Name the city located at 9 N, 39 E.
|7. Name the city located at 34 S, 18 E.
|8. If you were sailing in a ship at 57 N, 55 W,
what sea would you be on?
|9. Name the city located at 3 N, 45 E.
|10. If you were part of a mountain climbing
team located at 28 N, 86 E, what peak would you be attempting to
Using Latitude and Longitude to Report
Sometimes you know where a city is located, but you want to be able
to tell someone else how to find it on a map. You can do this by telling
them the latitude and longitude of the place. You can use the following
procedure to report the approximate locations of places.
Imagine that you need to report the latitude and longitude location
of Lagos, Nigeria.
A. Here is Lagos . . . I want to estimate the latitude first. Lagos
is about 2/3 of the way from the Equator (0) to the 10N latitude line. I
estimate it to be about 7 N.
B. Now for longitude. Lagos is about 1/3 the way from the Prime
Meridian (0) to 15 E longitude line. I figure that is about 5 E.
C. My estimate is that Lagos, Nigeria is located at about 7 N, 5 E.
??? Use the Africa map above to locate the listed cities, and write
the latitude and longitude in the space provided.
|11. Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire is located at
|12. Abuja, Nigeria is located at
|13. Ghat, Libya is located at
??? Use the world map to locate the listed cities, and write the
latitude and longitude in the space provided.
|14. Johannesburg, South Africa is located at
|15. Los Angeles, western United States is located at
|16. London, United Kingdom is located at
|17. Wellington, New Zealand is located at
|18. Mexico City, Mexico is located at
|19. Buenos Aires, Argentina is located at
|20. Tokyo, Japan is located at
Additional Information for the Teacher
Note to the Teacher:
The latitude and longitude information listed below can be found on
Cram's Explorer World wall maps in the central Atlantic Ocean area;
EQUATOR: (0 latitude) is half way between the North and South poles.
Circumference: 24,902 miles (40,075 km), Diameter: 7,926 miles
LATITUDE (also called parallels): are lines that run east and west
around the Earth.
These lines measure distances north and south of the Equator.
PRIME MERIDIAN: (0 longitude) is also called the Greenwich Meridian.
Circumference: 24,860 miles (40,008 km), Diameter: 7,900 miles
LONGITUDE (also called meridians): are lines that run from the North
Pole to the
South Pole. These lines measure distances east and west of the
POINT OF ORIGIN: is the intersection of the Equator and the Prime
Meridian and is
the starting point for the Earth's latitude and longitude grid
There are five latitude and longitude location examples shown on the
main map. The
examples are generally located below the word 'OCEAN'. An
This island's location is 27 S / 109 W, which means
27 degrees of latitude south of the Equator and
109 degrees of longitude west of the Prime Meridian.
The island examples are;
Franz Josef Land in the Arctic Ocean - 81 N / 60 E,
Gough I. in the South Atlantic Ocean - 41 S / 10 W,
St. Paul I. in the South Indian Ocean - 39 S / 77 E,
Nauru in the Western Pacific Ocean - 1 S / 166 E,
Easter I. in the Eastern Pacific Ocean - 27 S / 109 W.