The latitude of a point on a Sphere is the elevation of the point from the Plane of the equator. The latitude is related to the Colatitude (the polar angle in Spherical Coordinates) by . More generally, the latitude of a point on an Ellipsoid is the Angle between a Line Perpendicular to the surface of the Ellipsoid at the given point and the Plane of the equator (Snyder 1987).

The equator therefore has latitude 0°, and the north and south poles have latitude , respectively. Latitude is also called Geographic Latitude or Geodetic Latitude in order to distinguish it from several subtly different varieties of Auxiliary Latitudes.

The shortest distance between any two points on a Sphere is the so-called Great Circle distance, which can be directly computed from the latitudes and Longitudes of the two points.

**References**

Snyder, J. P. *Map Projections--A Working Manual.* U. S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1395. Washington,
DC: U. S. Government Printing Office, p. 13, 1987.

© 1996-9

1999-05-26