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Altitude vs. Latitude: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 28, 2023
Altitude is the height of an object above sea level or ground level, while latitude is a geographic coordinate specifying north-south position on Earth's surface.
Altitude vs. Latitude

Key Differences

Altitude refers to the vertical elevation of an object above a reference point, usually Earth's sea level. Latitude, in contrast, is a measurement of distance from the Equator, expressed in degrees north or south.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 28, 2023
Altitude can be measured in units such as feet or meters and is key in fields like aviation and mountain climbing. Latitude is measured in degrees, minutes, and seconds, and is crucial in navigation and geography.
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Altitude affects environmental conditions like air pressure and temperature. Latitude influences climate patterns, length of daylight, and seasonal changes.
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High altitude areas, such as mountains, have specific flora and fauna adapted to those conditions. Locations at various latitudes exhibit distinct climatic zones, such as tropical, temperate, and polar.
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The concept of altitude is also used metaphorically to denote a high level or degree, whereas latitude does not share this metaphorical use.
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Comparison Chart

Definition

Height above sea level or ground level.
Geographic coordinate for north-south positioning.
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Measurement Units

Feet, meters.
Degrees, minutes, seconds.
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Relevance

Aviation, mountain climbing, weather.
Geography, navigation, climate.
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Environmental Influence

Air pressure, temperature.
Climate zones, length of daylight.
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Examples

"The plane is cruising at an altitude of 35,000 feet."
"Sydney is at a latitude of 33.8688° S."
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Altitude and Latitude Definitions

Altitude

The vertical distance between an object and Earth's surface.
The helicopter maintained a constant altitude during the flight.
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Latitude

A system used to indicate the location of any place on Earth north or south of the equator.
Bangkok is situated at a latitude of 13.7563° N.
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Altitude

A measurement of height or elevation on land or in the air.
The peak's altitude makes it a challenging climb.
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Latitude

A measure of a place's position relative to the equator.
The latitude of Cape Town is 33.9249° S.
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Altitude

Height of an object above sea level.
The altitude of Denver, Colorado, is 5,280 feet above sea level.
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Latitude

The angular distance of a place north or south of the earth's equator.
Mexico City has a latitude of 19.4326° N.
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Altitude

The position of an object in relation to sea or ground level.
The altitude sickness affects climbers at higher elevations.
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Latitude

The distance north or south of the equator measured in degrees.
Quito, Ecuador, is located almost exactly on the equator, at a latitude of 0°.
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Altitude

The height of a thing above a reference level, especially above sea level or above the earth's surface.
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Latitude

A geographic coordinate specifying a location's north-south position.
Oslo, Norway, is at a latitude of 59.9139° N.
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Altitude

Great height or elevation
Has trouble breathing at altitude.
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Latitude

The angular distance north or south of the earth's equator, measured in degrees along a meridian, as on a map or globe.
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Altitude

Often altitudes A high location or area.
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Latitude

A region of the earth considered in relation to its distance from the equator:temperate latitudes.
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Altitude

(Astronomy) The angular distance above the observer's horizon of a celestial object.
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Oct 19, 2023

Latitude

(Astronomy)The angular distance of a celestial body north or south of the ecliptic.
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Altitude

(Mathematics) The perpendicular distance from the base of a geometric figure to the opposite vertex, parallel side, or parallel surface.
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Latitude

Freedom from normal restraints, limitations, or regulations.
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Altitude

The absolute height of a location, usually measured from sea level.
As the altitude increases, the temperature gets lower, so remember to bring warm clothes to the mountains.
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Oct 19, 2023

Latitude

A range of values or conditions, especially the range of exposures over which a photographic film yields usable images.
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Altitude

A vertical distance.
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Latitude

(Archaic)Width; breadth.
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Altitude

(geometry) The distance measured perpendicularly from a figure's vertex to the opposite side of the vertex.
The perpendicular height of a triangle is known as its altitude.
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Latitude

The angular distance north or south from a planet's equator, measured along the meridian of that particular point.
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Oct 19, 2023

Altitude

(astronomy) The angular distance of a heavenly body above our Earth's horizon.
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Latitude

(geography) An imaginary line (in fact a circumference) around a planet running parallel to the planet's equator.
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Altitude

Height of rank or excellence; superiority.
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Latitude

(figurative) The relative freedom from restrictions; scope to do something.
His parents gave him a great deal of latitude.
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Altitude

Elevation of spirits; heroics; haughty airs.
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Latitude

(astronomy) The angular distance of a heavenly body from the ecliptic.
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Altitude

Highest point or degree.
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Latitude

(photography) The extent to which a light-sensitive material can be over- or underexposed and still achieve an acceptable result.
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Altitude

Space extended upward; height; the perpendicular elevation of an object above its foundation, above the ground, or above a given level, or of one object above another; as, the altitude of a mountain, or of a bird above the top of a tree.
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Latitude

Extent or scope; e.g. breadth, width or amplitude.
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Altitude

The elevation of a point, or star, or other celestial object, above the horizon, measured by the arc of a vertical circle intercepted between such point and the horizon. It is either true or apparent; true when measured from the rational or real horizon, apparent when from the sensible or apparent horizon.
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Latitude

Extent from side to side, or distance sidewise from a given point or line; breadth; width.
Provided the length do not exceed the latitude above one third part.
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Altitude

The perpendicular distance from the base of a figure to the summit, or to the side parallel to the base; as, the altitude of a triangle, pyramid, parallelogram, frustum, etc.
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Latitude

Room; space; freedom from confinement or restraint; hence, looseness; laxity; independence.
In human actions there are no degrees and precise natural limits described, but a latitude is indulged.
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Altitude

Height of degree; highest point or degree.
He is [proud] even to the altitude of his virtue.
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Latitude

Extent or breadth of signification, application, etc.; extent of deviation from a standard, as truth, style, etc.
No discreet man will believe Augustine's miracles, in the latitude of monkish relations.
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Altitude

Height of rank or excellence; superiority.
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Latitude

Extent; size; amplitude; scope.
I pretend not to treat of them in their full latitude.
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Altitude

Elevation of spirits; heroics; haughty airs.
The man of law began to get into his altitude.
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Oct 19, 2023

Latitude

Distance north or south of the equator, measured on a meridian.
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Oct 19, 2023

Altitude

Elevation especially above sea level or above the earth's surface;
The altitude gave her a headache
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Latitude

The angular distance of a heavenly body from the ecliptic.
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Oct 19, 2023

Altitude

The perpendicular distance from the base of a geometric figure to opposite vertex (or side if parallel)
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Latitude

The angular distance between an imaginary line around a heavenly body parallel to its equator and the equator itself
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Altitude

Angular distance above the horizon (especially of a celestial object)
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Latitude

Freedom from normal restraints in conduct;
The new freedom in movies and novels
Allowed his children considerable latitude in how they spent their money
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Altitude

Elevation or distance above a given level, especially sea level.
The hikers reached an altitude of 10,000 feet.
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Dec 28, 2023

Latitude

An imaginary line around the Earth parallel to the equator
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Latitude

Scope for freedom of e.g. action or thought; freedom from restriction
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Oct 19, 2023

Repeatedly Asked Queries

What affects altitude conditions?

Altitude conditions are affected by air pressure and temperature.
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What is latitude?

Latitude is the geographic coordinate for north-south positioning on Earth.
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How is latitude measured?

Latitude is measured in degrees, minutes, and seconds.
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Can altitude be zero?

Yes, altitude can be zero at sea level.
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Does altitude affect weather?

Yes, higher altitudes often have cooler and more variable weather.
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Dec 28, 2023

What is altitude?

Altitude is the height above sea level or ground level.
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Dec 28, 2023

How is altitude measured?

Altitude is measured in feet or meters.
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Dec 28, 2023

What is high altitude?

High altitude refers to locations significantly above sea level, like mountains.
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Do latitudes correlate with time zones?

No, time zones are primarily based on longitude, not latitude.
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Dec 28, 2023

Is altitude relevant in aviation?

Yes, altitude is crucial in aviation for flight levels.
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Why is latitude important for navigation?

Latitude is essential for pinpointing north-south positions on Earth.
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How does latitude influence climate?

Latitude influences climate, day length, and seasonal changes.
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What is the equator's latitude?

The equator has a latitude of 0 degrees.
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Can latitude affect daylight hours?

Yes, latitude affects the length of day and night throughout the year.
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What are the health effects of high altitude?

High altitude can cause effects like altitude sickness due to lower oxygen.
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Does latitude vary with Earth's curvature?

Yes, latitude varies as Earth's surface curves away from the equator.
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Dec 28, 2023

Is latitude used in GPS?

Yes, latitude is a key coordinate used in GPS for location tracking.
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Dec 28, 2023

What is the importance of altitude in geography?

Altitude is important for understanding topography and climate.
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Dec 28, 2023

How do pilots use altitude?

Pilots use altitude to ensure safe flight levels and avoid collisions.
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What is the highest latitude?

The highest latitudes are near the poles, at 90 degrees north or south.
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Dec 28, 2023

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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