Coordinates: Latitude & Longitude

Coordinates: Latitude & Longitude

The primary purpose of this web page is to provide a basic lesson on how to use the coordinates provided in the Avon Trail Guide in online services such as Google Maps, Map Quest, Bing Maps, and so on. For the purposes of this lesson Google Maps will be used.


Arrow Right Where are the coordinates in the Avon Trail Guide?

The coordinates are located on the back of each map.
Example: Map 2, km 31 - Perth Line 113 (43.296425,-80.973462) a bit north east of Wildwood Lake.
The coordinates in this example are the two numbers 43.296425 and -80.973462.


Arrow Right What do they indicate?

The Avon Trail Guide coordinates provide the location where the trail reaches a given road (there are a couple of excpetions).



Arrow Right What is the first number?

The number 43.296425 is called the latitude and is shown in decimal degrees. The degrees latitude is the location of the given spot north of the reference. For latitude the reference is the equator or 0o latitude. So the spot is 43.296425o north of the equator. Lines of latitude run east-west but measure north or south of the equator. The lines are sometimes called "parallels".

Latitude Globe


Arrow Right What is the second number?

The number -80.973462o is called the longitude and is shown in decimal degrees. The degrees longitude is the location of the given spot west of the reference. For longitude the reference is the 0o longitude or the prime meridian. The prime meridian is the circular line of longitude that passes through the Royal Observatory, Greenwich in southeast London, U.K. (also known as the Greenwich Meridian). So the spot is -80.973462o west of the prime meridian. Note that the longitude number is shown with a negative (minus) sign in front of it. The negative (minus) sign means "west of". Lines of longitude run north-south but measure east (+) or west (-) of the prime meridian.

Longitude Globe


Arrow Right How to use the latitude/longitude numbers in Google Maps.

Step 1 - Open Google Maps in your browser.

Step 2 - Type the latitude/longitude into the Google Maps as shown below (no spaces).

Google Maps Search Form

Step 3 - Click the blue search button (magnifying glass).

Step 4 - Google Maps will zoom to the location on the map at that latitude and longitude. see the two example images below. The actual location in this case is the small inverted green arrow and sometimes partially hidden by a redish-orange "A" pin.

Google Maps Showing Spot

Step 5 - Zoom in to that location (green inverted arrow) and click the arrow.

Google Maps of Showing Spot

Step 6 - If you are familiar with how Google Maps works, you can use the Google Maps "Get directions" button to create driving directions to the location 43.296425,-80.973462.


bullet For more in-depth information about coordinates check websites like Geographic coordinate system at Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

bullet If you own an in-car GPS (e.g. Garmin Nüvi) and have never used latitude/longitude coordinates in the unit, check "Entering Coordinates in Recent Garmin Nüvi GPS Receivers".