It is believed that the use of latitude and longitude originated from the various sea-faring peoples of the Mediterranean Sea. The Latin words latitudo and longitudo mean the width and length of the world. These were known to be the length and width of the Mediterranean Sea. The current standard we use now was ratified in Rome in the year 1883. This set the prime meridian (zero degrees longitude) as Greenwich, England. Of course, zero degrees latitude is the equator.