Latitude and longitude are a pair of coordinates used to identify any point on the Earth's surface.
Latitude measures the angular distance north or south from the Earth's equator, while longitude measures the angular distance east or west from the prime meridian, an imaginary line that runs through the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London.
Latitude and longitude coordinates are commonly used in navigation, mapping, and geolocation technologies. They are essential for pinpointing specific locations and for calculating distances between points. GPS devices and mapping applications on smartphones and computers rely on latitude and longitude to provide location information to users.
Latitude and longitude are usually expressed in degrees, minutes, and seconds, or in decimal degrees. For example, the coordinates of the Statue of Liberty in New York City are 40° 41' 21" N, 74° 02' 40" W, or simply 40.6892° N, 74.0445° W. The equator is located at 0° latitude, while the North and South Poles are located at 90° North and 90° South latitude, respectively. The prime meridian is located at 0° longitude, while the International Date Line is located at 180° longitude.
Coordinates will therefore tell you your distance north or south of the equator. The letter at the end of the first coordinate indicate how many degrees north or south you are, whereas the letter at the end of the second coordinate tell you how many degrees east or west you are. The points of reference are therefore the equator for latitude and Greenwich England when it comes to longitude.
In addition to navigation and mapping, latitude and longitude coordinates are also used in scientific research, such as tracking weather patterns, studying animal migration, and monitoring the movement of tectonic plates. They are also used in various industries, including transportation and logistics, to optimize routes and track vehicles.
Overall, latitude and longitude are critical components of location-based technologies and play an essential role in helping individuals and businesses navigate the world around them. For example, here at Roam our Location SDK output location updates as coordinates using the latitude and longitude format.