Coordinate System YouTube Lecture Handouts

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Coordinate System & Time Calculations - Fundamentals of Geography

Directions, Coordinate System & Time Zones


  • Understanding directions
  • Coordinate system and degree
  • Latitude and Longitude
  • Time and Date Delineation

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Direction on a Map

  • Why draw maps with north at the top?
  • Standard convention.
  • Compasses are made to measure to the magnetic north pole of the Earth.
Direction on a Map

Finding the North?

  • Left hand to west
  • Right hand to east
  • Face towards north

North on the Map

  • Magnetic north is measured by a compass.
  • Grid north follows the grid lines of the coordinate system the map is made on.
  • True north corresponds to the Earth՚s axis, the North Pole.
North on the Map

Magnetic Declination

  • Difference or angle between magnetic north and true north
  • Topographic map depicts difference

Measure Direction on a Map

  • Use protractor or compass to measure degrees or angle from north line
  • Both measure use circle of 360 degrees
Measure Direction on a Map

Cartesian Coordinate System

Cartesian Coordinate System

Map Grid

Map Grid
  • Imaginary lines crossing the globe
  • Meridian lines or longitude are drawn north-south
  • Parallel lines or latitudes are drawn east-west
  • Coordinate point is intersection of latitude and longitude

Coordinate Systems

Two common coordinate systems are:

  • Geographic coordinate system
  • Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM)

Geographic Coordinate System

  • Latitude lines run east-west and are parallel.
  • Longitude lines run north-south & are called meridians.
  • Lines are numbered in degrees, minutes and seconds similar to a clock.
  • Degrees is used as measurement tool because angles are always measured in degrees.

Latitude & Longitude

Illustrating Latitude & Longitude


Latitudes and Longitudes on Earth

Understanding Terms

  • Each degree is divided into 60 minutes
  • Each minute is divided into 60 seconds
  • Holds true for both latitude and longitude
  • Latitude: Distance from equator along Y axis
  • Longitude: Distance from prime meridian along X axis – total 360 meridians (180 east and 180 west of prime meridian)

Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM)

  • UTM lines are straight on global map
  • UTM is a type of projection, calculated to make a flat map of the round Earth.
  • UTM zones are numbered east to west and lettered north to south.
  • Each zone is equivalent to 6o and is measured in meters.


Universal Transverse Mercator System

Problem 1: Find Out Location on Map?

Problem 1: Find Out Location on Map

Problem 2: Basics of Time

  • Problem: If it is noon where you are, would it be before or after noon for someone that is east of you?
    • After noon
  • Recall, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west
    • As you look down from the north pole, the earth would rotate counterclockwise
    • If the sun is just beginning to rise in California, then the sun would be near noon in New York, so …
    • As you travel east, time becomes later

Time Zone

  • Earth is divided into 24 time zones!
    • because the Earth Rotates
  • 1 Time zone for every 150 of Longitude
    • The Earth Spins 360 0 in 24 hours
    • hours
    • Or longitude is 4 minutes
  • We measure from Prime Meridian in Greenwich England
  • Every to the East =+ 1 Hour
  • Every to the West =- 1 Hour

Greenwich, England is Initiation Point for Time Zones

  • World rotates west to east (counterclockwise) , so time zones to the east are ahead of the those time zones to the west
Greenwich, England is Initiation Point

Problem 3 – Time Zone

How many hours difference is there between Tokyo?

  • So the difference is
  • Since one hour is 150 longitude
  • So it is hours.
  • Now Tokyo is east of Rome, so it is 8 hours later in Tokyo.

International Date Line

  • Located in mid-Pacific Ocean near 180° longitude.
  • Crossing IDL from east to west, it՚s the next day (+ 1 day)
  • Crossing IDL from west to east, it՚s the previous day (-1 day)
International Date Line

Problem 4 - IDL

  • It is 9 AM Saturday in California what time is it in Australia ?
  • So, it is per hour = 7 hours
  • So total time difference is 7 hours, since travelling east to west, time becomes earlier it is 7 hours before, i.e.. , 2 AM
  • Also you are crossing IDT east to west, so it becomes next day, therefore time in Australia is 2 AM Sunday

Daylight Savings Time

  • Used mainly in USA to add an “extra” hour of daylight in the afternoon during spring/summer
  • “Spring forward and Fall back”

Problem 5 - Sunrise/Sunset Time Corrections

  • If sunset in Winnipeg what is the time for sunset in Manitoba
  • Difference is
  • longitude is 4 minutes
  • longitude is minutes
  • So, it is 32 minutes late, i.e.. , 5: 25 PM + 32 minutes = 5: 57 PM

Time Zones - World Map

Time Zones - World Map

Jet Lag

  • Medical phenomena that occurs due to crossing the various time zones
  • Characterized by extreme fatigue, disorientation and loss of appetite.
  • Sleep is seen as one of the best cures for jet lag, as is exposure to sunlight.
  • It is considered that it takes 1 day per time zone to recover from jet lag.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)