fbpx Mapping Our World | LEARNZ

Mapping Our World

Printer-friendly version
Listen: 

Every place on Earth can be found using the co-ordinates of latitude and longitude. These co-ordinates are shown on maps.

Latitude and Longitude

These imaginary lines run around the earth. They help to show where we are.

 

Latitude and Longitude

Latitude: These are the lines that run across the globe. The latitude that runs through the middle of the Earth is given the number zero degrees (0°) and is called the equator. The latitude line at the north and south poles is given the number 90°.

Longitude: These vertical (up and down) lines around the earth meet at the poles and are widest apart at the equator. 

Every point on the Earth has its own latitude and longitude ‘coordinates’. You can use this website to find your latitude and longitude coordinates.

Making Maps

The Earth is round so making a map of part of the Earth on a flat piece of paper is rather tricky. Think of peeling an orange. The peel is like a map when flattened out.

flattening out the surface of the Earth

Flattening out the orange peel is like drawing the surface of the Earth on paper. This process is called ‘map projection’. A map projection is used to draw all or part of the round Earth on a flat surface. All map projections distort the surface in some way. There are different types of map projections. 

This is an interrupted map projection

Can you find out more about what type of map projections there are?

Audio Māori keywords: 


Think about the maps you have used over the last month... how were these maps made? How much information do they include? 

Previous
Finding Your Place in the World

Next
GPS Global Positioning Systems

Standard

This map was created by Abraham Ortelius and was first published in 1564. How have world maps changed since then? Image: Abraham Ortelius - Wikipedia.

A modern map of the world can look different depending on the projection used. What is a map projection? Image: CIA World Factbook.

Comments

I wonder why the Mercator projection isn't used much in NZ

Comment: 
I wonder why the Mercator projection isn't used much in NZ. I wonder what projections are used instead and why.