Latitude and longitude are points on Earth that are useful for finding specific places. When writing latitude and longitude, you must be careful that they are in the correct format and that you use the correct symbols. In this way, they can be understood. You can identify various latitude and longitude points on the maps and then write them down. To do this, you can use a latitude line and a longitude line. Also, for more specific latitude and longitude points, you can write the coordinates with degrees, minutes, seconds, and decimals.
Method 1 of 4: Write Basic Latitude and Longitude
Step 1. Identify the lines of longitude
These are vertical lines that extend across the entire Earth from the North Pole to the South Pole. The prime meridian divides the lines of longitude and forms the 0 degree mark. When writing lines of longitude, you must indicate degrees using the "°" symbol.
- The lines of longitude extend from east to west. To the east, each line increases one degree. To denote lines east of the prime meridian, you would use the letter E. For example, a line of longitude could be 30 ° E.
- To the west, each line also increases one degree. The symbol W is used to write the lines of longitude that are west of the prime meridian (by its initial in English). For example, a line of longitude might be 15 ° E.
Step 2. Identify the lines of latitude
These are horizontal lines that divide the Earth and extend from north to south, starting at the equator. The line of latitude at the equator is marked at 0 degrees. The "°" symbol is used when writing latitude and longitude, as this indicates degrees.
- As you move north from the equator, the latitude lines increase one degree until you reach 90. This last mark corresponds to the north pole. The letter N (for north) is used to mark latitude lines above the equator. For example, a line of latitude might be 15 ° N.
- As you move south of the equator, the latitude lines also increase one degree until you reach 90. This mark corresponds to the south pole. South latitude is indicated by the symbol S. For example, a latitude line might be 30 ° S.
Step 3. Write the latitude and longitude coordinates
Find a location and determine the point of intersection between the latitude and longitude lines. For example, you could find a place along the 15 ° N line of latitude and the 30 ° E line of longitude. When writing latitude and longitude, you must first write the latitude, then a comma, and then the longitude.
For example, to write the lines of latitude and longitude mentioned above, you would write it as "15 ° N, 30 ° E"
Method 2 of 4: Use Degrees, Minutes, and Seconds
Step 1. Identify the latitude and longitude lines
Sometimes the location you provide might need to be more precise than the general latitude and longitude lines. The latter can be divided into minutes and seconds, but you need to find out. Search along which lines of latitude and longitude a certain place is located.
For example, suppose the place is on the 15 ° N line of latitude and the 30 ° E longitude line
Step 2. Find the minutes between each latitude and longitude line
The space between each line of latitude and longitude is divided into a degree, which, in turn, can be divided into minutes. Imagine that each line of latitude and longitude is separated by exactly 60 minutes. You can get online maps with which you can help you determine the exact number of minutes between each line of latitude and longitude where the place where you are is located. You must use an apostrophe to indicate the number of minutes between the lines.
For example, if there are 23 minutes between the latitude lines, you would write it as "23 '"
Step 3. Identify the seconds between each minute
The minutes, in turn, are divided into intervals of seconds. Between each minute there are 60 seconds. Again, you can identify the precise number of seconds between each minute by helping you with an online map. The number of seconds is indicated using quotation marks.
For example, if there are 15 seconds between the minutes of your longitude line, you would write it as "15" "
Step 4. Write the degrees first, then the minutes, and then the seconds
Once you find the precise coordinates in minutes and seconds for the latitude and longitude lines, you must write them in the correct order. To start, write the degrees, then the minutes, and then the seconds of the latitude line and include whether the direction is south or north. Then, put in a comma, and then write the degrees, minutes, and seconds of the longitude line. Lastly, include the direction (east or west).
- For example, suppose the line of latitude is at 15 ° N, 24 minutes, 15 seconds, and the line of longitude is at 30 ° E, 10 minutes, and 3 seconds.
- To write these lines, you should write it as "15 ° 24'15" N, 30 ° 10'3 "E".
Method 3 of 4: Use Degrees and Decimal Minutes
Step 1. Identify the latitude and longitude point
You can identify latitude and longitude using minutes and then decimal points. However, again, you must start by identifying the general lines of latitude and longitude and then locate where you are by determining the point of intersection between these lines.
For example, your location might be 15 ° N, 30 ° W
Step 2. Determine the minutes, including decimal points
In some cases, maps identify minutes and decimal points instead of minutes and seconds. On an online map, you should be able to find the decimal minutes for each latitude and longitude line. For example, you could find a latitude line at 23.0256 minutes.
Step 3. Determine if the numbers are negative or positive
If you use the degrees and decimal minutes system, no directions (such as north, south, east, and west) are used, but positive or negative numbers are used to establish the location of a place on a map.
- Don't forget that the latitude lines are north and south of the equator. If you use decimals as indicators of latitude and longitude, positive numbers are north of the equator and negative numbers are south. That is, the number 23, 456 is north of the equator and the number -23, 456 is south.
- Lines of longitude lie to the east and west of the prime meridian. In this case, the positive numbers are to the east and the negative numbers to the west. For example, the number 10, 234 is to the east of the prime meridian and the number -10, 234 is to the west.
Step 4. Write the latitude and longitude
You must write the full location starting with the latitude line. Then, write the coordinates in minutes and decimals, put a comma, and then write the line of longitude along with its minutes and decimals. Do not forget to indicate the direction of the coordinates using the positive and negative numbers. In this format, the degree symbol is not used.
- For example, if a line is at 15 ° N, 30 ° W, you would need to identify the number of minutes and decimals and then write the coordinates.
- You could write the example above as "15 10, 234, 30 -23, 456".
Method 4 of 4: Use Decimal Degrees
Step 1. Find the latitude and longitude
The degrees of latitude and longitude are usually divided into decimals. Instead of using minutes and seconds, the lines representing a degree are divided to obtain decimals that determine the exact location. First, you need to find the correct degrees of latitude and longitude.
For example, imagine your location is at 15 ° N, 30 ° W
Step 2. Determine the decimals
An online map can divide latitude and longitude lines using decimal points. Decimal points generally consist of five numbers.
For example, you could find yourself at 15.23456 to the north and 30.67890 to the west
Step 3. Identify whether the numbers are positive or negative
Positive or negative numbers are used to indicate the direction in place of the words north, south, east, and west. In the case of latitude lines, those north of the equator are positive and those south are negative. In the case of lines of longitude, those to the east of the prime meridian are positive and those to the west are negative.
- For example, latitude line 15, 23456 is north of the equator and line -15, 23456 is south.
- Line of longitude 30, 67890 is east of the equator and line -30, 67890 is west.
Step 4. Write the latitude and longitude including decimals
Using decimal degrees is simple: you just have to write the latitude line along with the decimals and then the longitude line along with the decimals. Indicate the direction using positive and negative numbers.