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Chameleon Graphing

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Greek Maps
 Dicaearchus
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Ancient Greek Maps

Maps today have lines of latitude and longitude that tell where a place is located. The latitude number tells how far away a place is from the equator, and the longitude tells how far away it is from a half-circle through the North Pole, the South Pole, and Greenwich, England, called the Prime Meridian.

Here is a globe showing the equator, the Prime Meridian, and lines of latitude and longitude:

And here is a map of the world showing the same lines:

The two numbers, latitude and longitude, that tell where a place is on Earth are a lot like the x- and y-coordinates that tell where a point is in the coordinate plane. So who was the first person to make a map with latitude and longitude?

The idea of latitude and longitude comes from a group of people who lived in Ancient Greece, thousands of years ago. They were interested in philosophy and understanding the world around them. One of them was named Dicaearchus.

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