Study the map with longitude and latitude

The lesson is designed for students in grades 4-6. Here, the students will create their own map using the online service "Kartutskrift" (Map Printout). Once the students have selected an area and printed their map, they will work on reading and analyzing the map using longitude and latitude. The task concludes with a whole-class experiment with the map.

Longitude and latitude help us determine our location

To determine your location, start by indicating whether you are in the northern or southern hemisphere.
The line that divides the Earth into north and south is called the Equator. The Equator is 0 degrees and serves as the reference point for indicating latitude, which represents the horizontal lines on the map. The middle of the North Pole is 90 degrees north, and the South Pole is 90 degrees south.
Longitude, also known as meridians, represents the vertical lines on the map, which run in a north-south direction and are measured from the Prime Meridian located in Greenwich, where the measurement starts at 0. From 0, the lines go halfway around the Earth, which is 180 degrees east and 180 degrees west, totaling 360 degrees, which is the circumference of the globe.

Part 1 - Select area and print your own map

Do this:

  1. Open e-service Kartutskrift and locate the town where you live.
  2. Move the map so that your residential area is approximately in the center of the grid.
  3. Zoom in as much as possible and then click on "Ändra" (Change) at the bottom of the page.
  4. Select the scale 1:50,000, which means that 1 cm on the map represents 500 meters in reality.
  5. Click on "Skapa karta" (Create map) at the bottom of the page and customize the map by checking the boxes for "Norrpil" (North arrow), "Teckenförklaring" (Legend), "Skalstock" (Scale bar), and "Gradnät" (Gridlines). Here, you can also choose to Name the map. Then click "Ok" to create a PDF that you can save or print.

Part 2 - Investigate and explain

Now the students will read and analyze the map. The map consists of 12 map sheets and a legend at the back. Each student selects the map sheet that includes their residential area. They should then study the map sheet and answer the following questions:

  • Which longitude and latitude are closest to your residential area?
  • Follow one of the longitudes on the map sheet where your residence is located. Are there any towns or locations that it passes through or is very close to? Which ones? Do the same with a latitude.
  • Write down the coordinates for some places in your map book. Exchange with a classmate and try to find each other's locations. Write down the names of the places and some information about the surrounding area. Use the legend if needed.

Part 3 - Discussion

Summarize the exercise as a whole class and experiment with the following:

  • In Google Maps, you can enter longitude and latitude by typing the coordinates followed by the degree symbol (°). Enter the following in the search box on Google Maps: 60.66629°, 17.13260°, where is it?
  • Change the search box to -33.92081°, 18.44289°, where have you ended up now?
  • Where do you end up if you enter 0°, 0° in the search box?

Tip! Typing the degree symbol (°) may vary depending on your keyboard and device. Select "Insert," "Special Characters," type "degrees" in the search box. Or use the [shift] + [§] keys or insert the symbol for degrees by pressing and holding the ALT key while typing 0176 on the numeric keypad.

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