When you talk about location, name of city, state or country as a location descriptor with common landmark, but have you wonder how places are located on the globe.
It is imaginary lines such as latitude, longitude, equator, meridian, which are drawn by geographers to find the location of the places on the globe. These imaginary lines are drawn such a way that forms a grid system of latitude and longitude on the globe which helps us to locate places precisely in the world.
Although, we have the latitude and longitude to locate places on the globe precisely, but do you think the distance between one degree of latitude to another or the distance between east or west when travel to reach the next degree of longitude.
Let see, each piece of the grid separately to understand distance between a Degree of Latitude and Longitude.
In geography, latitude is a geographic coordinate that specifies the north–south position of a point on the Earth's surface which ranges from 0° at the Equator to 90° (North or South) at the poles.
The degrees of latitude are parallel, so the distance between each degree remains same. It is noteworthy that Earth is not spherical but slightly elliptical in shapes which cause small variation between the degrees.
1. The distance of each degree of latitude is approximately 111 km.
2. The distance of each degree at the equator is 110.567 km.
3. The distance of each degree at the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn (23.5° north and south), is 110.948 km.
4. The distance of each degree at each of the poles, 111.699 km.
For Example- If we are travelling from 30 north, 90 degree west to 310 north, 90 degree west then it means we travelled about 69 miles.
The longitude is a geographic coordinate that specifies the east-west position of a point on the Earth's surface. The distance between degrees of longitude has great variation because they are farthest apart at the equator and coverage at the poles.
1. A degree of longitude is widest at the equator with a distance of 69.172 miles or 111.321 Km.
2. Longitude gradually come closer to zero as they meet at the poles.
3. The distance between a degree of longitude at 40° north or south is 53 miles or 85 Km.
How do we know the distance between one point to another?
If we are given the coordinates of the two places in latitude and longitude for the calculation of the distance between them. It is easy to calculate the distance between two places if their coordinates are simple or round figure, but what if the coordinates are in decimal form then it is not easy to calculate. For that matter, the 'haversine' formula plays important role while calculating the distance between two places but unless you are a whiz at trigonometry.
Thank god, we are living in a digital world where complex mathematics can be done by computer. GPS is the best example of fast, interactive map applications which coordinates of latitude and longitude and tells you the distance between the two points.