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Latitude and Longitude, system of geometrical coordinates used in designating the location of places on the surface of the earth. Latitude, which gives the location of a place north or south of the equator, is expressed by angular measurements ranging from 0 at the equator to 90 at the poles. Longitude, the location of a place east or west of a north-south line called the prime meridian, is measured in angles ranging from 0 at the prime meridian to 180 at the International Date Line.

Degrees of latitude are equally spaced, but the slight flattening at the poles causes the length of a degree of latitude to vary from 110.57 km (68.70 mi) at the equator to 111.70 km (69.41 mi) at the poles. At the equator, meridians of longitude 1 degree apart are separated by a distance of 111.32 km (69.17 mi); at the poles, meridians converge. Each degree of latitude and longitude is divided into 60 minutes, and each minute divided into 60 seconds, thereby allowing the assignment of a precise numerical location to any place on earth.

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