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Earth’ Latitude and Longitude

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The Earth‟ geographic coordinate system is based on the Earth's axis of rotation and the plane of the Equator. It consists of an imaginary grid of lines running east-west (lines of latitude = parallels) and north-south (lines of longitude = meridians). The system was first devised by Hipparchus (190-120 BC) for measuring distances.

The Latitude:

The Authalic Latitude is based on a spherical earth. i. Latitude is measured in angular degrees from the equator (0°) to the poles (90°). ii. A point north (south) of the equator is labeled, e.g., 25° N (67° S). iii. The most popular coordinate system divides each ° (degree) of latitude into 60‟ (minutes), which is subdivided into 60” (seconds). The Geodetic Latitude is based on an ellipsoidal earth. i. The ellipsoidal approach is a more realistic representation of the earth because of the polar flattening. ii. There are different models used to describe the ellipsoidal earth (e.g., WGS 84)). iii. The length of parallels of latitudes decrease from the equator to the poles. → The length of 1° of latitude is not constant, but the same for the northern and the southern hemisphere → Mathematically easy: a) length(parallel of latitude φ) = cosφ * length(equator) b) length(1° at latitude φ) = cosφ * length(equator)/360 → Mathematically more exact: latlen = m1 + (m2 * cos(2φ)) + (m3 * cos(4φ)) + (m4 * cos(6φ)) with m1 = 111132.92, m2 = -559.82, m3 = 1.175, m4 = -0.0023 Latitude (°) 1° of Latitude (km) 1„ of Latitude (km) 1“ of Latitude (m) 0 110.574 1.843 30.715 10 110.608 1.843 30.724 20 110.704 1.845 30.751 30 110.852 1.848 30.792 40 111.035 1.851 30.843 50 111.229 1.854 30.897 60 111.412 1.857 30.948 70 111.562 1.859 30.989 80 111.660 1.861 31.017 90 111.694 1.862 31.026

118 Latitude (°) 1° of Longitude (km) 1„ of Longitude (km) 1“ of Longitude (m) 0 111.827 30. respectively.00 0.61 80 19.855 km) for 1° (1‟) of latitude can be used.iv. The Longitude: The longitude defines the position of a point west or east of the prime meridian (0°) which passes through the old Royal Observatory in Greenwich.744 29.50 70 38.855 30. The meridians converge at the poles.80 40 85.07 30 96.12 km (19 m).320 + 0.5.00 .92 60 55. the standard value of 111.187 0.423 23.647 1.72 50 71.323 5. which is subdivided into 60” (seconds). n2 = -93.393 0.84. Longitudes are measured in angular degrees from the prime meridian (0°) to either west or east. up to 180° W or 180° E.394 1. → Mathematically easy: a) For a spherical Earth (approximation): length(1° of longitude at latitude φ) = 111.639 1.195 19. ii.45 20 104.696 1.319 1. i.486 1. iii. it decreases to the poles. n3 = 0. Since the length difference of 1° (1‟) of latitude varies only by 1. Therefore.636 10.325*cosφ b) For an ellipsoidal Earth: length(1° of long at latitude φ) = (111.39 90 0.373sin²φ)cosφ → Mathematically more precise: longlen = (n1 * cosφ) + (n2 * cos(3φ)) + (n3 * cos(5φ)) with n1 = 111412.92 10 109.325 km (1. Each ° (degree) of longitude is divided into 60‟ (minutes).800 0.608 26.930 15. Great Britain. England. the distance of one degree longitude varies upon where it is measured.000 0.

For a spherical Earth: i. the equatorial circumference does not equal that of the meridians. All degrees have the same length: length(1°) = circumference/360. each meridian of longitude would have the length of one-half of the circumference. For a spherical Earth. For an ellipsoidal Earth. . ii.

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