How to Find Locations Using Lat & Long

How to Find Locations Using Lat & Long
How to Find Locations Using Lat & Long
It is easy to find locations on a map using latitude and longitude. You simply need to understand what longitude and latitude are and be comfortable using a map. The lines that you see on a map were created by dividing the earth into 360 degrees.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Things You'll Need:
  • Map
  • Map
Step 1

Take out a map of a state, country or of the world. Such maps have lines of latitude and longitude on them. Maps of a city, on the other hand, tend to be divided using lines drawn that allow you to find a location that is geographically close to another. Lines of latitude and longitude are often used for places that are geographically far apart.

Step 2

Look for the lines of latitude, also known as parallels. They are easy to spot since they are all horizontal. The equator is a well-known line of latitude as it goes around the middle of the Earth and is the location of some of the hottest places on Earth, since this area gets the most direct light from the sun.

Step 3

Find the line of latitude that corresponds to your city, if you have been given such information. Latitude, like longitude, is measured in degrees, then minutes, then seconds. Seconds can then be divided into tenth, hundredths and thousands to get the exact location of a city or town.

Step 4

Find the equator on a map. It represents the line of 0 latitude. The degrees then increase as you get farther away from it. Latitudes north of the equator are designated with an N and those south of the equator are designated with an S. For instance, the Tropic of Capricorn, located below the equator, is between S 15° and S 30° latitude on a map.

Step 5

Look for lines of longitude, also termed meridians. These lines are vertical. The zero point for longitude runs through Greenwich, England, and is called the Prime Meridian. The lines that are east or west of this line are given an E or W designation, respectively, prior to the degree number and symbol. For instance, the line of longitude designated W45°, which is west of the Prime Meridian, runs through the eastern part of Brazil.

Step 6

Find your city of interest by finding the line of latitude first, then the longitude. It does not matter which you look for first, but since lines of latitude are given first when coordinates are written down, make a practice of finding latitude first then the longitude. For instance, if you are given 61° 10' N 150° 1' W, where ° stands for degrees and ' stands for minutes, you want to look up the first set of coordinates, then the second. When you search for this location on a map you will see that it corresponds to the location of Anchorage, Alaska, in the U.S.

A published writer since 2004, Somer Taylor has authored two fiction books through PublishAmerica and has written for various websites. Taylor has a Bachelor of Science in biology from Prairie View A&M University.
map and compass image by Warren Millar from

Other Travel Tips