Glossary: latitude and longitude

Latitude and longitude are a pair of numbers (coordinates) used to describe a position on the plane of a geographic coordinate system. The numbers are in decimal degrees format and range from -90 to 90 for latitude and -180 to 180 for longitude.

For example, Washington DC has a latitude 38.8951 and longitude -77.0364. In API calls you’ll often see the numbers placed together and separated by a comma: 38.8951,-77.0364.

One common problem is mixing up the latitude and longitude. Some tools and APIs format longitude,latitude while others use latitude,longitude.

latitude,longitude longitude,latitude
Leaflet, Mapbox.JS, iOS SDK Mapbox web services, GeoJSON


Always check the documentation to see how you should format the coordinates. And if a point doesn’t show where you expect it to - troubleshoot by switching the order!

Additional questions? Ask our support team or learn more about How Mapbox Works.