Learn how to use geographic coordinates in Google Earth to find specific locations on our planet.
The Google Earth offers some research tools to help find locations around the Earth. The simplest method is to type in the name of the desired location, but you can also use geographic coordinates to locate a specific point. Below, I will show you how to do this in a few minutes.
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Earth (Image: NASA/Unsplash)
What are geographic coordinates?
First of all, it is important to understand what geographic coordinates are and how they work. In short, geographic coordinates are imaginary points on the Earth’s surface, defined by the intersection of imaginary lines (longitudinal and transverse) in relation to the planet’s rotation axis.
The longitudinal lines are called “meridians” and are referenced to the Greenwich Meridian. Transverse lines, on the other hand, are called “parallel” and are referenced to the Equator Line. Points are displayed in degrees and their subdivisions in minutes and seconds, which are measurements of how far a point is from its respective reference lines.
Thanks to this network of imaginary lines and their intersections, it is possible to precisely locate any place on the Earth’s surface. The identification of points is made by a longitude (east or west) and a latitude (north or south).
How to use coordinates in Google Earth
Time needed: 3 minutes.
- Enter the Google Earth website:
Open your browser and go to earth.google.com ;
- Use the search tool:
Click on the magnifying glass icon in the upper left corner to open the search bar;
- Enter the desired coordinates:
The geographic data needs to be in “degrees, minutes and seconds” (DMS), “degrees and decimal minutes” (DMM) or “decimal degrees” (DD) — in DMS format, numbers must be accompanied by the symbol “°”;
- Press the “Enter” key to search:
The platform will display a displacement animation and show the exact location of the coordinates in a few seconds.
How to find coordinates in Google Earth
Google Earth also informs data regarding the location of any place, something that can help when knowing the coordinates of a street, for example.
- Open your browser and go to earth.google.com ;
- When the interface loads, hover your mouse over the location you want to know the coordinates — the numbers will be in the lower right corner of the screen.