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# In finding distance using latitude and longitude, what determines whether the abbreviations S, N, E or W appear after the latitude or longitude? For example, my latitude for my town is 40 degrees 37 minutes 43.1400 seconds. How do I know if an east, west, north or south should appear after it?

Question #68641. Asked by Jubal. (Jul 22 06 4:47 PM)

Magilla747

I believe north and south would be in reference to the equator. Assuming you live north of the equator, the latitude you've given would be "north". East and west are in reference to the prime meridian, which is designated as 0. Longitudes would be east or west in reference to this "line", which passes through Greenwich, England. Longitudes can go as high as 180 east or west, latitudes up to 90 north or south.

Hope this helps!
Magilla747
Kansas, USA

 Jul 22 06, 5:04 PM
Jubal

Okay, I think I get it. So in going east to west, from Greenwich, you can go as far as half way and be going west, or half way the other way and be going east of the meridian. Is that right?

 Jul 22 06, 5:28 PM
Magilla747

Yep, that's right. When you've gone 180 degrees from the prime meridian, in either direction, you're on the opposite side of the planet, I think at the International Date Line.

 Jul 22 06, 6:14 PM
elburcher

The Longitude at 180 degrees is where the line between east and west shifts. It doesn't follow the dateline because the international datline isn't a straight line, it bends in various places to keep islands of the same group and/or country (for example the Aleutian Islands of Alaska) in the same time zone.

 Jul 22 06, 8:51 PM
Magilla747

That's right...thanks for the correction.

 Jul 22 06, 9:59 PM

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