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I just read about latitudes and longitudes. I read latitudes are imaginary lines that run around the earth and longitudes are lines that run around from top to bottom.

Using this system:

1. How is exact position determined in degrees?   
2. Why is the equator represented as zero degrees?
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Feels like a homework question –  Nathan W Jun 28 '12 at 23:29
    
There are several ways to approach this question. Are you perhaps looking for something like en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_longitude? –  whuber Jun 29 '12 at 13:30
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1 Answer

Google = wiki = http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geographic_coordinate_system#Latitude_and_longitude_in_practice

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We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

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Note the discussion of that section: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… –  blah238 Jun 29 '12 at 4:23
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