• Southern Ontario Hiking Resources


Positioning by Latitude and Longitude

If the Earth were flat, rectangular coordinates (x,y) would be sufficient to describe the locations of points on its surface.  However, Earth is a sphere with no sides, and a special frame of reference is needed.  The poles of Earth provide this reference frame.


lat_linesThe equator is an imaginary circle around the Earth located halfway between the north and south poles. Other lines drawn parallel to the equator but shifted to the north or south are called lines of latitude. At the equator the latitude is 0°, halfway to the pole it is 45°, and at the poles it is 90°.

In order to specify if the latitude is North or South of the equator, the letter N or S is added to the latitude reference (ex: 49°N).


Lines running north/south through the poles are called lines oflon_lines
longitude (or meridians).  Longitude is the number of degrees east or west of the prime meridian (0°) which passes through Greenwich, England.

In order to specify if the longitude is East or West of Greenwich, the letter E or W is added to the longitude reference (ex: 70°W).


Toronto is situated at about 43° N latitude and 79° W longitude.




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