Time Zone Map

Time Zone Map Guidelines

The important thing to know when reading a time zone map is to orient yourself, the ‘Prime Meridian’ or ‘+0 UTC’ or ‘GMT’ will typically be displayed in the centre of the map. Every timezone behind that will be marked with a ‘-’ in UTC and every ahead will be marked with a ‘+’, and then a number, which represents how many hours you need to move your clock forward or back from the time in the Prime Meridian.

This essentially means the Americas will always be in -UTC, meaning the clocks will go back so many hours compared to GMT; whilst heading eastward into Europe, Africa and beyond will generally mean adding hours to the clock. Just be careful to check if a country observes Daylight Savings, which of course can alter the local time to be +1 from what’s standard. This will be a factor in any EU country and is observed in most of Canada and the US; but won’t be a factor generally speaking in Asia or Africa. But do be cautious not to be caught out by outliers when planning important meetings or events.

If you live in a time zone which is not in the Prime Meridian, then adjust according to your local timezone, adding and taking away hours as necessary.

How to Use the Time Zone Map

There are a few ways you can make life very easy for yourself when using a time zone maps:

Firstly, you’re looking at a map of the world, so the first thing to do is identify the locations you are interested in knowing the times for on the map.

Secondly, find a place on the map where you know the time. Either the place you are currently at or another location you are familiar with. The Prime Meridian is generally a good measuring stick for determining time zones given its +0 in UTC.

Now you just work out the difference between them in hours. There may be several locations, but the method is the same: count the number of time zones between them. Put a finger on the time zone you know: if you have to move left, then subtract from your starting number. If you have to move right, you will add to your starting number. Whatever number you are left on is how many hours ahead or behind the other location is. You can even do this to compare to places you don’t know.

For example, if you know that the time is 7am on the east coast of the USA and you want to know the time on the west coast of Africa, simply count the time zones between them. You must move five time zones to the right to reach the west coast of Africa, 7+5=12, therefore it must be noon there.

Let’s keep using this example. So it’s 7AM on the US East Coast, and Noon on the West Coast of Africa, but you are trying to coordinate 3 time zones and one of them is in Berlin as well. You only have to go right once, so it would be 1PM in Berlin, or Continental Time depending on who you ask, whilst it’s noon in West Africa and 7AM on the US East Coast. You can repeat this method as many times as you need.

The next thing to consider then is travel times: say you are travelling from the US East Coast to the African West Coast and the flight takes 5 hours. It will be 5PM at the destination, since you would add the hours from changing timezone to the length of the journey. So this same method can give you a general idea of the degree of jetlag you are likely to feel if planning a trip as well.

Even outside of travel and business, it is just good to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, and a time zone map is a quick and simple way of making sure that it’s always possible to sync up times.

Time Zone Map

These days it seems inevitable that you’ll end up having to sync up times with friends or business partners in totally different parts of the world – be it countries or continents apart – we are increasingly dependent as a society on Timezones in an ever more digitally connected world. 

A quick and really simple way to figure out what time it is in another location is to simply google it. Google has an in-built time zone converter although there are lots of sites out there that can provide the same service: simply input your local time and select a country or time zone you want to know the time of, you should have an accurate answer immediately. But what if you’re a particularly busy and connected person? Let’s say you need to know the time in multiple time zones, a time zone calculator suddenly becomes a very impractical solution with lots of back and forth.

Well there is an alternative: time zone maps. It can be confusing to look at at first, but it displays every time zone overlaid onto a map of the world and can tell you the time in multiple places at once, and what time differences you need to account for. It’s a very handy tool for scheduling important meetings with people in multiple time zones, accounting jet lag in travel planning or something as simple as knowing when people in different time zones are likely to be sleeping or otherwise indisposed. A time zone map can be a powerful tool in all those scenarios and more, giving important at-a-glance information once you know how it works.

To start, looking at the map you’ll see it divided up vertically, usually into coloured zones. These borders on a world clock map represent where one time zone gives way to another, and the colours are usually used to visually distinguish each time zone from one another. The lines can seem really oddly shaped, but that’s usually to account for the boundaries, national borders and local time zone irregularities.

In total there are about 39 different local times that are currently being used worldwide which you can view on our time zone map. Time zones are usually (but not always) named taking various factors into consideration, the most common one being location. Although the same time zone can sometimes be called by a few different names locally, like ‘Hong Kong Time’ being identical to ‘National Standard Time’ in Taiwan, so be aware of that when looking into specific locations

Why time zones were introduced?

  1. Time zones are crucial for standartizing time across countries and regions. A term “time zone” describes an area where uniform standard time isused for the legal, social or economical purpose. The time zones are not strict: they follow the boundaries of countries, because it would be inconvenient otherways.
  2. The offset from world’s standard time (Coordinated Universal Time UTC) expressed as UTC- or UTC+ defines the local time within a time zone. As a rule, the whole hours offsets are observed, but the 30 minutes or 45 minutes offsets are also possible.