Understanding Latitude and Longitude: Aug 21 2009 A key geographical question throughout the human experience has been, "Where am I?" In classical Greece and China, attempts were made to create logical grid systems of the world to answer this question. The ancient Greek geographer Ptolemy created a grid system and listed the coordinates for places throughout the known world in his book Geography . But it wasn't until the middle ages that the latitude and longitude system was developed and implemented. This system is written in degrees, using the symbol °. Latitude When looking at a map, latitude lines run horizontally. Latitude lines are also known as parallels since they are parallel and are an equal distant from each other. Each degree of latitude is approximately 69 miles (111 km) apart; there is a variation due to the fact that the earth is not a perfect sphere but an oblate ellipsoid (slightly egg-shaped). To remember latitude, imagine them as the horizontal rungs of a ladder ("ladder-tude"). Degrees latitude are numbered from 0° to 90° north and south. Zero
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This note was uploaded on 02/23/2010 for the course CHEM 107 taught by Professor Generalchemforeng during the Fall '07 term at Texas A&M.