About Globes

A world globe is a model of the earth showing land masses and bodies of water. Some globes include raised texture to illustrate mountains and valleys. Other globes are labeled with the names of continents, countries, states and cities. Still other globes are meant to be more decorative. Although a globe is round, with no beginning or end, there are two main reference lines from which all distances and locations are calculated. One is the equator running east and west around the middle of the globe, dividing it into two equal halves. The other is the prime meridian, an imaginary line running from pole to pole. Both of these lines are 0° and the globe numbering system starts at the point where they intersect.


All lines running east and west, parallel to the equator, are called latitude lines. Latitude lines are shown at 15” intervals north and south of the equator.

The lines running north and south from pole to pole are called longitude lines, or sometimes referred to as meridians. Longitude lines are numbered along the equator on your globe at 15° intervals east and west of the prime meridian at Greenwich. Remember, latitude lines go from 0° at the equator to 90° at the poles. Longitude lines go from 0° at the prime meridian to 180°, a point on the exact opposite side of the globe. In giving a position, latitude is always stated first.