What are Meridians?

Meridians, also known as survey lines, are a system of straight lines used to divide land into sections in the United States. Meridians are used to survey the land, determine ownership, and to provide navigation between points. Meridians are based on the geographic coordinates of longitude and latitude and are used in mapping and plotting.

How Meridians Work

Meridians are lines of longitude that run north and south and are used to measure distances east and west of the Prime Meridian, which is located at 0° longitude. Meridians are numbered and intersect with lines of latitude, which run east and west and measure distances north and south of the Equator. Meridians are used to divide land into sections for survey and mapping purposes.

Each meridian is located at a specific degree of longitude and is identified by its number. For example, the fourth meridian is located at 4° longitude and is used as a reference point for surveying and mapping land. Meridians also help to define the boundaries of states and counties.

History of Meridians

Meridians were first used in the late 17th century by surveyors in the American colonies. Surveyors used the meridians to divide the land into blocks and parcels and to determine property boundaries. Over the years, surveyors have refined the use of meridians to accurately measure distances and angles, and to locate points on the Earth’s surface.

Uses of Meridians

Meridians are used to survey and map land, determine boundaries, and measure distances. Meridians are also used in navigation, allowing ships and aircraft to identify their location. Meridians are also used by astronomers to measure celestial objects and by geographers to map the Earth’s surface.


Meridians are an important part of the surveying, navigation, and mapping system used in the United States. Meridians are lines of longitude used to measure distances east and west of the Prime Meridian and to divide land into sections. Meridians have been used since the 17th century and are essential for surveyors, navigators, and geographers.

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