ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Absolute location versus relative location

Updated on July 8, 2011
Trinidad and Tobago. In terms of absolute location, the country is 10'40N 61'31W.  A relative location may describe Trinidad as the southernmost Caribbean island or a few kilometres north of South America.
Trinidad and Tobago. In terms of absolute location, the country is 10'40N 61'31W. A relative location may describe Trinidad as the southernmost Caribbean island or a few kilometres north of South America.

Imagine that you’re lost Down Under and asked passers-by for directions. One erudite individual responds to your query with, “Sydney Opera House is 31 degrees South and 152 degrees East.” That wouldn’t be much help would it?

A more helpful person might happen by and tell you that the Opera House is on Bennelong Point in Sydney Harbour, close to the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Maybe then you’d find your way. That’s the difference between absolute location and relative location: relative location is far more confusing than absolute location.

The relative location details the location of a destination in relation to another destination, landmark or point. So when we say that the store is “just around the corner” or “opposite City Hall,” we’re describing relative location. On the other end of the spectrum, the absolute location details the location using an accepted coordinate system. The full absolute location appears as follows: 47°12’ North, 6°5’ West.

Absolute locations are described in a shorthand form that is indexed to the lines of latitude and longitude. The line of latitude runs parallel to the equator and measures the distance of a point north or south of the equator in degrees, minutes and even seconds.

The line of longitude runs perpendicular to the equator (from north to south) and describes a point according to its angular distance East or West of the Greenwich Meridian or Prime Meridian. Therefore the longhand absolute location for 47°12’ North, 6°5’ West is 47 degrees, 12 minutes North of the Equator and 6 degrees, five minutes West of the Greenwich Meridian.

Relative locations are understandable because they are relative to points to which most persons can relate. They can be described in relation to streets, cities, landmarks and other available references. Naturally, these are informal and not in a standardized form, since there are several different ways to describe locations of any one place using relative location.

Coordinates are imaginary lines that are very useful for navigation systems and those who use maps – among other uses. However, while absolute locations are more precise and standard, relative locations are informal, not standardized and more understandable in many cases.

Comments

Submit a Comment

  • SpiffyD profile imageAUTHOR

    SpiffyD 

    7 years ago from The Caribbean

    Thanks Jami. I'm glad that you enjoyed the hub and I look forward to checking out yours.

  • profile image

    jami l. pereira 

    7 years ago

    Voted up , useful and awesome , Very Good Hub ! :)

  • SpiffyD profile imageAUTHOR

    SpiffyD 

    7 years ago from The Caribbean

    Thanks sergell. I'm following you now.

  • iamsergell profile image

    Lord Sergell of House Stark 

    7 years ago from Darwin, Australia

    Very informative! Can use this in asking directions. Relative or absolute?

    Voted up and useful. :D Following you now, follow me too. :D

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)