Difference Between Altitude and Latitude

Altitude vs Latitude

Altitude and latitude are commonly used terms in the field of astronomy and geography. Both are parameters relating to the angular position of a location.

More about Latitude

The angular distance on a plane perpendicular to the plane of the equator is known as the latitude. This is used as one of the two coordinates for a location on earth. In the physical sense, it gives the north-south position of the location considered. The line at which the latitude is constant runs parallel to the equator around the globe.

Taken together with longitude, latitude can be used to specifically locate a position on earth. The equator is considered as the zero latitude (i.e. 0° ). The North Pole has the latitude +90° and the South Pole has -90°. There are specially defined latitudes, such as Arctic circle and Tropic of Cancer in the northern hemisphere and Antarctic circle and Tropic of Capricorn in the southern hemisphere.

Apart from the common usage shown above, latitude is further divide by the properties and relative definitions.

Geodetic Latitude is the angle between the plane of the equator and the normal to the surface at a point. Since earth is not perfectly spherical, the normal does not always pass through the center of the earth.

Geocentric latitude is the angle between the equator and the radius of a point on the surface.

Astronomical Latitude is defined as the angle between the equatorial plane and the true vertical at a point on the surface: the true vertical is the direction of a plumb line; it is the direction of the gravity field at that point.

More about Altitude

Altitude can be defined in a broader sense as the vertical distance between a datum line and a point considered above that line. The datum line can be selected in many ways. Therefore, many altitude terms are in use. The basic forms of altitudes in common use are the indicated altitude and the absolute altitude. These are mostly used in aviation because the altitude refers to the height of a point in the atmosphere. If the point considered is on the ground, it is known as elevation.

Altitude is also one of the key coordinates of the horizontal coordinate system used in astronomy. It is a coordinate system that uses observer’s horizon as the fundamental plane. The angular distance to a point on the celestial sphere from the horizon is defined as the altitude of that point. But in this case, the system altitude is used for angular measurement, not for linear measurement.

What is the difference between Altitude and Latitude?

• The latitude is a measure from the equator, giving how high a point is located on the globe above the equator.

• The term altitude can be used in several cases;

• The height to a point from a datum line. (Geography and aviation)

• The angular position above the horizon of an observer. (Astronomy)

• The latitude is an angular measurement, hence given is degrees; together with longitude it is used to give exact coordinates of the position of a location.

• The altitude (in aviation) is the height to a point in the atmosphere, therefore, measured in units of length, such as meters.

• The altitude used in astronomy is also an angular measurement from the horizon, therefore, measured in degrees.