What are latitude and longitude?
Latitude and longitude are imaginary lines encircling the Earth in a grid-like pattern, used to measure positions in degrees (°), minutes (') and seconds ("). There are 60 seconds to a minute and 60 minutes to a degree.
Lines of latitude run parallel to the equator and are measured in degrees north or south (0-90° N or S) of the equator. A minute of latitude corresponds to one nautical mile.
Lines of longitude run through the North and South Poles, dividing the Earth like the segments of an orange. They are measured in degrees east or west (0-180° E or W) of the Prime Meridian, Longitude Zero (0° 0' 0"), which is measured from the cross-hairs of Airy's Transit Circle, a special telescope at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich.
The Earth turns on its axis at the equivalent of 1° of longitude in four minutes, or 15° an hour. A complete turn of 360° takes approximately 24 hours, or one day.
What are the latitude and longitude of my location?
You can find out the latitude and longitude of named places using the Getty Theasurus of Geographic Names Online.
You can also use a handheld GPS (Global Positioning System) receiver to find your latitude, longitude and altitude.