Finding yourself these days has got a lot easier.
Latitude and longitude
We measure our position in coordinates of latitude and longitude, a system that originated in the middle ages.
- Latitude measures in lines called parallels, how far north or south of the equator a place is located:
- The equator is situated at 0°,
- The North Pole at 90° north (or 90°, because a positive latitude implies north), and the South Pole at 90° south (or –90°).
- Latitude measurements range from 0° to + or – 90°.
- Longitude measures in lines called meridians, how far east or west of the prime meridian a place is located:
- The prime meridian runs through Greenwich, England (near London).
- Longitude measurements range from 0° to + or – 180°.
You can just use a map service, for example with Google Maps:
- The map will usually open at your current location,
- Just right mouse click on the map, and select What’s here?
- The latitude and longitude of that pint are displayed in the search box as described here
Latitude and longitude coordinates can be displayed in a number of different ways as described here.
For example, the latitude and longitude of the Basilica of la Sagrada Familia in Barcelona can be expressed as:
- Degrees, minutes and seconds 41° 24′ 12.1674″, 2° 10′ 26.508″
- Degrees and decimal minutes 41 24.2028, 2 10.4418
- Decimal degrees 41.40338, 2.17403 – this is the one most commonly used by Geographic Information Systems.