Latitude and longitude are points on the globe that determine where specific places are. To write these details, you need to understand their format and use the correct symbols. Start by looking at certain details on a map and write down each piece of information on a line. If you want something more specific, like full coordinates, you have to use degrees, minutes, seconds and decimal values.
Method 1 of 4: Writing Basic Latitude and Longitude
Step 1. Identify the longitude lines
The longitude lines are vertical, cut across the globe from North to South Poles and are cut itself by the prime meridian, which is the mark of zero degrees. Use the degree symbol "°" to write the longitude.
- Longitude lines run from east to west. From the east, each one increases by one degree. You can use the letters "L" or "E" (from east) to indicate the lines that lie east of the prime meridian. For example: a line can be at 30°E or 30°L.
- The longitude lines also increase by one degree from the west. Use the letters "O" or "W" to represent them. For example: a line can be at 15°O or 15°W.
Step 2. Identify the latitude lines
These lines are horizontal and also cut across the globe. They run from east to west and start at the equator, which has a latitude of zero degrees. As with longitude, you can use the "°" symbol to indicate degrees.
- When advancing north of the equator, the lines of latitude increase by one degree until they reach 90°, where the North Pole is. These lines are marked by the letter "N" for North. For example: a line of latitude can be at 15°N.
- When advancing south of the equator, the lines of latitude also increase by one degree until they reach 90°, where the South Pole is. Use the letter "S" to mark them. For example: a line of latitude can be at 30°S.
Step 3. Write the latitude and longitude coordinates
Pick a point on the map and find where the latitude and longitude lines connect. For example: there is a point on the 15°N latitude and 30°L longitude line. When writing the two pieces of information, write down the latitude first, followed by a comma, and finally the longitude.
For example: the latitude and longitude lines above would be like "15°N, 30°L"
Method 2 of 4: Using Degrees, Minutes and Seconds
Step 1. Identify the latitude and longitude lines
If you need to determine a location with more accurate data than just the latitude and longitude lines, you can break them down into minutes and seconds. Still, you'll have to decipher the most general lines. Find out which points on the map the place is.
For example: imagine that the point is on the 15°N latitude line and the 30°L longitude line
Step 2. Determine how many minutes there are between each latitude and longitude line
The space between these lines is divided into a degree, which in turn is divided into minutes. Imagine there are 60 minutes separating each line of latitude and longitude. Then use a virtual map to train and find the exact number of minutes between each line at your location of interest. Finally, use an apostrophe to indicate this detail.
For example, if there are 23 minutes between latitude lines, write them down as "23’"
Step 3. Identify how many seconds there are between each minute
Each minute, in turn, is divided into 60-second intervals. You can also use a virtual map to identify the exact number of seconds between minutes and use a quotation mark to represent them.
For example: if there are 15 seconds between minutes on the longitude line, represent them with "15""
Step 4. Write down degrees, minutes and then seconds
Once you've determined the specific coordinates (in seconds and minutes) for the latitude and longitude lines, write everything down in the right order. Thus: latitude line (in degrees), seconds and minutes; then direction (North or South); then write a comma followed by the longitude line (in degrees), minutes and seconds; finally, add the longitude direction (East or West).
- For example: imagine a line of latitude at 15°N, 24 minutes and 15 seconds, and a line of longitude at 30°L, 10 minutes and 3 seconds.
- This line of latitude and longitude would be written as: "15°24’15"N, 30°10’3"E".
Method 3 of 4: Using Degrees and Decimal Minutes
Step 1. Identify the latitude and longitude point
You can also add decimal points after the minutes to identify these details. However, you'll have to start by identifying the broadest lines of latitude and longitude to specify the location.
For example: imagine the point falls at 15°N, 30°O
Step 2. Find out how many minutes there are, including decimals
Some maps identify minutes followed by decimal points instead of seconds. Use a virtual map to find this value for each latitude and longitude line. For example: you can find a line of latitude at 23, 0256 minutes.
Step 3. Determine whether the numbers are negative or positive
When we use the system of degrees and decimal minutes, we do not represent directions with North, South, East and West - but positive and negative numbers to determine the exact location of points on the map.
- Remember that the latitude lines are north and south of the equator. When using decimal numbers to indicate latitude and longitude, positive values are north and negative values are south. For example: number 23, 456 is to the north, while -23, 456 is to the south.
- The longitude lines lie east or west of the prime meridian. Positive values are to the east and negative values are to the west. For example: the number 10, 234 is east of the meridian, while -10, 234 is west.
Step 4. Write the latitude and longitude
To note the entire location of a point, start with the latitude line. Then write down the minutes and decimal degrees. Add a comma, then write down the longitude, minutes, and decimal values. Remember to use positive and negative values to indicate the direction of coordinates, without using degrees.
- For example: imagine the line is at 15°N, 30°O. Identify the number of minutes and decimals and note the coordinates.
- You can write the example above as "15 10, 234, 30 -23, 456".
Method 4 of 4: Using Decimal Degrees
Step 1. Determine latitude and longitude
Degrees of latitude and longitude are often divided into decimals rather than minutes and seconds to determine the location of certain points. First, specify the right amount of latitude and longitude degrees.
For example: imagine the point falls at 15°N, 30°O
Step 2. Determine the decimal degrees
Use a virtual map to separate the latitude and longitude lines using these decimal degrees. They usually consist of five numbers.
For example: a point might be at 15, 23456 north and 30, 67890 west
Step 3. Identify whether these numbers are positive or negative
You can use positive or negative values to indicate the direction of coordinates instead of using the words north, south, east, and west. For latitude, lines north of the equator are positive, while those south are negative. For longitude, the lines east of the prime meridian are positive and those west are negative.
- For example: the line at latitude 15, 23456 would be north of the equator, while -15, 23456 would be south.
- The longitude line written as 30, 67890 would be east of the meridian, while -30, 67890 would be west.
Step 4. Write down the latitude and longitude, including decimal points
This system is quite simple: you just need to write down the latitude line, including the decimal points, followed by the longitude with the same values. Use positive or negative numbers to indicate direction.