Geography GCSE: Understanding map co-ordinates

Joe Crowley explains how coordinates can be used to help pinpoint an exact location on a map.

He explains that there are different types of coordinates and demonstrates how latitude and longitude can be used to plot a position anywhere on earth.

Degrees, minutes and seconds are used, as well as digital forms to express latitude and longitude.

Latitude is plotted according to your position relative to the equator, whereas longitude is plotted according to your position relative to the prime meridian at Greenwich.

Latitude and longitude are used by GPS, or Global Positioning Satellite, technology.

Joe explains that a system that’s often used as an alternative to latitude and longitude when navigating using Ordnance Survey maps is a system called grid references .

This uses a six figure eastings and northings method.

Joe shows how the grid references work to plot a position within 100 metres.

This clip is from the series Get Lost.

Teacher Notes

Useful when discussing map reading or using maps to navigate.

Students can be asked to discuss the difference between paper maps and digital maps and the significance of map features.

This clip could also help students understand coordinates, contour lines and how map symbols and legends translate to real landscapes.

Encourage students to discuss the importance of observing surroundings and matching them to a position.

Curriculum Notes

This clip will be relevant for teaching Geography.

This topic appears in OCR, Edexcel, AQA, WJEC KS4/GCSE in England and Wales, CCEA GCSE in Northern Ireland and SQA National 4/5 in Scotland