• location
    Signs often point in the general direction of a location.

    Photograph by Paolo Bernabei, My Shot

    GPS
    A Global Positioning System, or GPS, uses satellites orbiting the Earth to relate absolute location.

    Location, Location, Location
    Traditionally, those are the three most important factors in buying and selling real estate.

    A location is the place where a particular point or object exists. Location is an important term in geography, and is usually considered more precise than "place." A locality is a human settlement: city, town, village, or even archaeological site.

    A place's absolute location is its exact place on Earth, often given in terms of latitude and longitude.

    For example, the Empire State Building is located at 40.7 degrees north (longitude), 74 degrees west (latitude). It sits at the intersection of 33rd Street and Fifth Avenue in New York City, New York. That is the building’s absolute location.

    Location can sometimes be expressed in relative terms. Relative location is a description of how a place is related to other places. For example, the Empire State Building is 365 kilometers (227 miles) north of the White House in Washington, D.C. It is also about 15 blocks from New York's Central Park. These are just two of the building's relative locations.

    Relative location can help analyze how two places are connected, whether by distance, culture, or even technology. The city of Kiev, Ukraine, for example, is about 2,298 kilometers (1,428 miles) east of London, England. The U.S. cities of Key West, Florida, and Anchorage, Alaska, are even further apart—6,436 kilometers (3,999 miles). However, Floridians and Alaskans share the same language, national government, and geographic features. (They both have long ocean coasts subject to heavy storms, for instance.). Culturally, Ukraine and England are much further apart than Florida and Alaska: They speak different languages, have different government systems, and different geographic features. (Ukraine is landlocked, for instance, while England is part of the island nation of the United Kingdom.)

    Directions like north, south, east, and west help describe where one place is in relation to another. The "Wild West" is a cultural location that vaguely refers to parts of the United States west of the Mississippi River. The Wild West, however, rarely includes the states of Alaska and Hawaii, the westernmost states in the nation.

    Coordinates of longitude and latitude help pinpoint the absolute location of a person, place, or thing. Knowing a location is 0 degrees west (longitude) and 51 degrees north (latitude) tells you it’s probably near Greenwich, England, for instance. Knowing the location is 0 degrees west and 51 degrees, 28 minutes, and 40 seconds north tells you the location is the Royal Observatory, a building in Greenwich. At the Royal Observatory, directions like left, right, upstairs, and downstairs give visitors even more precise locations.

    Even absolute location is a form of relative location! Coordinates simply give a place's position relative to the Equator (latitude) and prime meridian (longitude).

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    absolute location Noun

    exact spot where something is located, usually its latitude and longitude.

    address Noun

    specific location, using street names or landmarks, of a building or site.

    analyze Verb

    to study in detail.

    coordinates Noun

    a set of numbers giving the precise location of a point, often its latitude and longitude.

    culture Noun

    learned behavior of people, including their languages, belief systems, social structures, institutions, and material goods.

    direction Noun

    the way in which somebody or something goes, points, or faces.

    Encyclopedic Entry: direction
    Empire State Building Noun

    (1931) skyscraper in New York City, New York.

    Equator Noun

    imaginary line around the Earth, another planet, or star running east-west, 0 degrees latitude.

    Encyclopedic Entry: equator
    exact Adjective

    precise or finely detailed.

    geography Noun

    study of places and the relationships between people and their environments.

    Encyclopedic Entry: geography
    government Noun

    system or order of a nation, state, or other political unit.

    island Noun

    body of land surrounded by water.

    Encyclopedic Entry: island
    landlocked Adjective

    having no access to an ocean or sea.

    latitude Noun

    distance north or south of the Equator, measured in degrees.

    Encyclopedic Entry: latitude
    locality Noun

    general area of a populated or once-populated place.

    location Noun

    position of a particular point on the surface of the Earth.

    Encyclopedic Entry: location
    longitude Noun

    distance east or west of the prime meridian, measured in degrees.

    Encyclopedic Entry: longitude
    precise Adjective

    exact.

    prime meridian Noun

    imaginary line around the Earth running north-south, 0 degrees longitude.

    Encyclopedic Entry: prime meridian
    relative location Noun

    general spot where something is located; its place in relation to something else.

    storm Noun

    severe weather indicating a disturbed state of the atmosphere resulting from uplifted air.

    technology Noun

    the science of using tools and complex machines to make human life easier or more profitable.

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