West is among the four cardinal points or directions of the compass. It's the opposite direction from south, and exactly the opposite direction from north. This means that if you have your latitude and longitude West and your east angle just happen to be exactly opposite each other, your latitude is West -radiant, or -nothing. However, if you have all the elements of a perfect circle around the earth, with each point on the circle having exactly the same longitude, then your latitude would be exactly where the north pole is. Therefore, if your latitude were along the equator it would read 90 degrees East.
North and South are the only directions that don't start or end with the West. Hence, "west" in this context doesn't have to refer to the actual location where the continents of Earth actually tilt. Rather it means the direction of where the sun or, more accurately, the rays of sunlight shine. If they shine east-west instead of northwest-west, then the local meridian - the horizontal line that represents the location of the sun on the earth - would be exactly where the rays shine. So if you were sitting under an east-west-sized tree in the west, then your local meridian would point to the exact spot where the tree ends.
However, there's a little-known fact about the polar axis. The east and the west aren't really at parallel with each other - they're actually 90 degrees apart. This slight difference accounts for why the east and the west don't touch when looking up at the sky from the ground. From this perspective, it's easier to understand why the orientation of your GPS map differs by heading directly west from the north pole. (GPS units often represent latitude and longitude in different ways, depending on where you are.
If you're on the western side of an Equator facing north, your GPS unit will read the east (or, latitudes) and north (or, latitudes) as displayed on its digital display. Your GPS unit also has a way to measure your latitude in a given location. This way, you can get your latitude and longitude - and, depending on your model, your altitude - simply by looking at the graphical representation of your location on the screen. If you are on the south pole of alatitude (where the equator's horizontal line is opposite the geographic north-south slope of the earth's plane), your GPS displays the word "pole" in lower case letters. If you are on the north pole of alatitude (where the horizontal line is exactly north of the geographic south slope of the earth's plane), your GPS displays the word "sun" in lower case letters.
Precise latitude and longitude readings are particularly important when you're navigating from one geographic area to another, or when you need to locate something on a map. For instance, if you're flying from Atlanta, Georgia, to San Diego, California, your GPS will tell you exactly how long you'll be away. As long as your GPS device has a way to measure your latitude and longitude - and, depending on the model you have, whether it also has an altitude gauge - it will indicate whether your current altitude is higher or lower than what you were last seen at. If you have a GPS unit with an external display, you can even examine the position on a map of your altitude and longitude - or, if you have an Internet connection, your altitude and longitude - by clicking on the appropriate icon on your computer screen.
Getting around the west coast, however, is not always easy. You can't simply click on a map to locate something on the west coast, since that function is only available along state highways or major urbanized thoroughfares in California and other Western states. Fortunately, there are a variety of devices that can help you find your way around the west coast, including popular apps such as Google Maps, which can give you detailed directions using detailed street maps of both the west and east coasts.