Latitude and longitude are names
given to an imaginary grid system
used to measure distance on the
face of the earth.
Latitude lines slice the earth
into sections from top to bottom.
The first slice is at the equator and divides the earth into two halves–the northern and southern hemispheres.
Each hemisphere is then divided into nine slices that create the measuring system for latitude and longitude.
When measuring distance on the
northern hemisphere, the equator is
0°and the north pole is at 90° north.
• Cancun, Mexico: 21° north.
• New York City, USA: 40° north.
• Paris, France: 48° north.
• Tokyo, Japan: 35° north.
When measuring distance on the southern hemisphere, the equator is
0° and the south pole is at 90° south.
• Sydney, Australia: 34° south.
• Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: 22° south.
• Cape Town, South Africa: 33° south.
To become more exact, latitude is also broken into smaller units.
Cancun airport is at: 21° 02.100
• The 21° is the system based on
0° to 90° as shown discussed above.
• The 02 breaks the degrees into
10 smaller units called "minutes".
• The 100 breaks the minutes into
1,000 smaller units called "seconds".
Using this technology and a network
of satellites your GPS (global positioning system) can located the exact position
of any point on earth. This is the equipment we use to create our maps.
What are latitude and longitude?
Longitude lines slice through the earth much as you would a pie or an apple.
However, creating this line is not as simple as creating latitude where you simply measure the distance between
the two poles. To find zero longitude
mankind must decide on a point that
can be considered absolute zero. Currently this is the Royal observatory outside of London in Greenwich,
This line slices the earth into the eastern and western hemisperes. Since there are 360° in a circle, the slices add up to 360°, with 180° in the eastern hemisphere, and 180° in the western hemisphere.
Cities in the western hemisphere:
• Cancun, Mexico: 86° west.
• New York City, USA: 73° west.
• Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: 43° west.
• Sydney, Australia: 151° east.
• Tokyo, Japan: 139° east.
• Cape Town, South Africa: 18° east.
• Paris, France: 2° east.
What is the equator?
The equator is an imaginary line that slices the world into the two sections known as the Northern Hemisphere and the
It is also the midpoint between the
North pole and South pole, and considered as 0° latitude.
• The sun is directly above this
• imaginary line two times each year:
• March 21–the Spring solstice.
• September 21–the Fall solstice.
Most people don't realize that we create our maps using our own GPS coordinates that we get by driving, walking, bicycling, or rollerblading each and
every street. If there is a street shown on our maps, we've actually been down it with our GPS running. We currently use a
But mapping hasn't always been this easy. When we first started making the Cancun map in 1999, we used a compass and bicycle with a digital odometer. We would push the bicycle along a street while recording our compass heading and distances.
years later as GPS become mainstream, we rebuilt our map using the latest technology. To our amazement we were only off by a few feet throughout the entire hotel zone.
Why don't we just copy existing maps? We prefer to start from scratch to make sure our maps are accurate. Besides, it gives us an excuse to spend more time in Paradise!