Teaching Geographical Concepts and Skills in Primary Social Studies, pp. 9 of 13

   c)    Locations

All maps are marked by grid lines. These are vertical and horizontal lines that are used for locating places on maps. The grids can be marked using the alpha-numeric system on a road map, the four-figure grid system or the latitudes and longitudes on an atlas map or a globe. In the alpha-numeric system, the columns are marked by letters and the rows are marked by numbers. To get the coordinates of places, the columns are always read before the rows.  In Figure 4, the coordinates of X is A2 and Y is C4. One way to remember is ‘C’ comes before ‘R’. C stands for column and R stands for row. 

In the four-figure grid system, both the horizontal and vertical lines are marked by numbers. The vertical lines are called eastings because the numbers increase as one goes eastwards and the horizontal lines are called northings because the numbers increase as one goes northwards. To read the position of a feature, locate the grid square in which the feature is found and read the easting and northing at southwest corner of the grid square.   In Figure 5, the 4-figure grid for P is 2510 (as indicated by X, the southwest corner of the grid square). Always read the easting first followed by the northing.

For globes and maps in the atlases, horizontal and vertical lines are found as well to help users read the positions of places. Latitudes are imaginary horizontal lines that encircle the Earth with the biggest circle as the Equator and the smallest circles as the North Pole and South Pole (actually they are points). The Equator, the longest latitude, divides the Earth into two hemispheres – the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere. The Equator is measured as 0 degree and the degrees for the latitudes north of the Equator increases until the North Pole which is a point and is indicated as 90 degrees North. Similarly, the degrees for the latitudes south of the Equator increases until the South Pole which is a point and is indicated as 90 degrees South. In other words, there are 90 degrees of latitudes north of the Equator and 90 degrees of latitudes south of the Equator. All latitudes are complete circles except the North Pole and South Pole. They also get progressively shorter when moving from the Equator towards the Poles.

Longitudes are imaginary lines which are drawn in a north-south direction from the North Pole and to the South Pole. They are also measured in degrees and there are 360 degrees of longitudes. Each longitude is a semi-circle and all are of equal length and they are measured from the Longitude 0 degree called the Prime Meridian or Greenwich Meridian that passes through Greenwich in London. They are often called meridians and are measured east or west of the Prime Meridian. There are 180 degrees east of the Prime Meridian and 180 degrees west of it. The longitudes are very close together as they near the poles but are farthest apart at the Equator. To find the position of any place, refer to the latitude first before the longitude.

An Inspiring Quote

"[Open-mindedness] includes an active desire to listen to more sides than one; to give heed to facts from whatever source they come; to give full attention to alternative possibilities; to recognize the possibility of error even in the beliefs that are dearest to us."

~ John Dewey, How We Think

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