Absolute Location

Absolute Location

Absolute Location

When you give someone the location of something and it has to be 100% correct.

No room for error.

There is no doubt or misunderstanding of what you meant.

You may want to give an absolute location of something.

For example you could tell a delivery driver to drop some pizza off at your house with a relative location…. 


My house is one mile down the road on the right. It’s the blue house across the street from the school.

This works well most of the time, but what if there are two blue houses. Or the driver goes a little over or under a mile, maybe they missed the school.

Well, an absolute location could work, better. You could give them the address.

Like — I live at 123 Main St. 

This address is an absolute location. With it I can find an absolute location. 

A dictionary definition might define absolute like this  “exists independently” or “not in relation to other things”

Which means this is the only house with this address so there should be no confusion.

Of course we do use absolute locations when ordering pizza all the time. But we might also add some relative location directions also to make it easier. 

Like I live at 123 Main St. It’s the blue house across the street from the school about 1 mile down the road.

Combining them makes it easier to find locations much of the time.

Sometimes addresses don’t work though… what if you’re in the middle of the jungle, the desert, the arctic… or the ocean. 

Well, then we can use coordinates, which we discussed in another video.

For example a boat is trying to find its way to the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa. The boat is 30 degrees North and 15 degrees west. By looking at those coordinates you can see the boat is close, but not quite there.

Giving the exact coordinates of the canary islands can get you to where you are going… This is an absolute location.

You could also give them relative location directions and tell them that they are north of the islands and they need to sail south, southwest from their current location.

Both can help them out, but the coordinates are precise. There is no need to describe what they are looking for.

In conclusion absolute location uses man made systems, like coordinates or addresses, to give a precise location of something in order to guarantee there is no confusion in finding it.

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Compass Rose

Cartographers put a compass rose on a map so that you can see where things are located in relation to another.

A compass rose can be a simple 4 Point with just the 4 cardinal directions that we learned in the previous video: North, South, East, and West.