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A bounding box is a rectangular coordinate system used to define a geographical area on maps. It is determined by two sets of coordinates - latitude and longitude - which establish the location of the four corners of the box. The corner coordinates create four lines, forming a rectangle. All points within the box are considered to be part of the bounding box, or in its "bounds".
A bounding box can be used to define any area on a map, from a small village to a whole continent. It is commonly used by mapping applications to determine which map features within a certain area should be displayed on a given map. The bounding box is also used as an input for various network analytics services – such as route optimization, geocoding, geospatial features, and spatial analytics.
The bounding box generally consists of two points that define a quadrangle, formed by the maximum and minimum latitude and longitude values of the area.For example, consider a bounding box that contains the entire California state. The two points which define the box are 37.42 north and -121.75 west to the north and 32.55 south and -114.52 west to the south. An actual bounding box for a particular region might look like this: ‘[37.42,-121.75],[32.55,-114.52]'.Another example might be a bounding box for the United Kingdom, which would have the following coordinates: '[53, -4.5],[50, 1.7]'.Bounding boxes are used in many applications and are especially useful for map services like LocationIQ, which allow users to see the geographic area within and area of interest.