The latitude and longitude coordinates of India are 20.5937° N, 78.9629° E.
What is latitude and longitude?
It is a set of lines used to describe the location of any place on earth. As the Earth is not a perfect sphere its polar radius and equatorial radius are not the same. There is bulging at the equator because of the earth’s rotation over its axis.
Therefore the shape of the earth is not a perfect sphere and it actually looks like an Oblate Spheroid. Because of its shape, there are difficulties in positioning its surface features and there is no point of reference from which to measure the relative positions of other points.
Therefore a set of lines is drawn on the map or globe to mark reference of the location of a different place on the earth’s surface. The basis of the geographical grid, formed by two natural points of reference is the North and South Pole.
The earth spins from west to east. The latitudes and longitudes are sets of horizontal and vertical lines. The Horizontal lines are called Parallels of latitudes and Vertical lines are called the meridians of longitudes.
Latitudes – These lines are drawn parallel to each other in an east-west direction and the Latitude at which the earth is divided into two halves is called the Equator. The equator is also called the Great Circle, as it is the largest circle and divides the globe into two halves.
Other lines of latitudes are called Small Circle, as they are smaller than the Great Circle, and get smaller and smaller toward the poles and divide the earth into two unequal halves. All these lines of latitudes that include the Great Circle and Small Circle are called Parallels of Latitude.
Set of vertical lines that join the North and South Poles and they are called the Meridians of Longitude. These lines converge at the poles and far apart at the equator. The latitudes and longitudes are generally called Geographical coordinates because they provide a systematic network of the line by the which position of different surface characteristics of the Earth can be represented.
In the globe or map, an infinite number of Longitudes and latitudes can be drawn but only a selected number of lines are generally drawn. It is measured in degrees (°) as it represents Angular distances. Then each degree is further divided into 60 minutes ( ‘ ) and each minute into 60 seconds ( “ ).