Difference Between Longitude and Latitude

People may be familiar with the terminology longitude and latitude but not everyone is clear with the geographical concepts around these words.

Longitude vs Latitude

The main difference between longitude and latitude is that the longitude runs towards the northern and southern poles, while latitude runs between west and east. The longitudes and latitudes are a set of imaginary lines which are used to point out locations. They are used to find out the coordinates of any particular place in the globe.

Longitude vs Latitude

The term Longitude refers to the lines which run between the two poles of the world. These longitudes are not physical lines but rather abstract or imaginary lines.

Latitude is used to denote the horizontal lines which run between the east and west directions of the globe. The latitudes are also not physical lines, but a set of imaginary lines.

Comparison Table Between Longitude and Latitude

Parameters of ComparisonLongitudeLatitude
DirectionThe longitude line runs between the northern and southern poles.It runs between the west and east surrounding the earth.
Zero degreeThe Prime Meridian is the zero-degree line that divides the western and eastern hemispheres.The Equator is the line of zero degrees that divides the northern and southern hemispheres.
LinesThere are a total of 360 lines.There are a total of 180 lines.
UsesUsed to classify time zones around the globe.Used to classify temperature or heat zones.
RangeThe range is between 0 to 180 degrees in the east and west.The range is between 0 to 90 degrees in the north and south.

What is Longitude?

The concept of longitude is very commonly used in geographical studies of the world. More than a set of mere imaginary lines that run between the northern and southern poles, longitudes are crucial and serve a lot of purposes.

The longitudes run between the two poles around the world in 360 degrees. The center of the longitudes is the Prime Meridian. The prime meridian is a longitude that is located at the zero-degree space.

Even though the longitude lines might seem differing in length on a globe, all the imaginary longitudes are of equal length. These longitudes tend to make a right angle while crossing the zero-degree latitude line, the Equator.

The distance between these imaginary vertical lines tend to differ at different locations. While the distance is broadest at the Equator, it narrow downs as further it is away from the Equator.

What is Latitude?

The word Latitude derives its origin from the Latin word Latitudo which means breadth. The concept of Latitude along with Longitude is a famous concept in the geographical studies and is used for a lot of purposes.

These latitude lines run between the eastern and western ends surrounding the globe. The latitude line angle with a zero degree is the line of Equator.

Starting at zero degrees from the equator, the latitude lines go up to 90 degrees at both the north and south poles. This makes the latitude lines with an overall of 180 degrees.

There are a total of 180 imaginary latitude lines surrounding the globe. The distance between these imaginary horizontal lines is calculated to be approximately 69 miles or 110km.

Main Differences Between Longitude and Latitude        

  1. The length of all the longitude lines is equal in size. The length of the latitude lines differs in size.
  2. The longitude lines range from 0 to 180 degrees. The latitude lines range from 0 to 90 degrees.
Difference Between Longitude and Latitude


The terms Longitude and Latitude are some of the frequently used terms in geography and in our daily lives too. More than just mere abstract concepts, these different lines play a major role in classifying and locating the globe with accuracy.

Longitude is the vertical imaginary lines that run between both the poles.

The Prime Meridian is at the center with zero degree and divides the west and east zones. The Latitude is the horizontal lines that surround the world between east to west.


  1. https://doi.org/10.1029/TR026i002p00197
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