The concept of longitude was first developed by ancient Greek astronomers. Hipparchus (2nd century BCE) used a coordinate system that assumed a spherical earth, and divided it into 360° as we still do today. His prime meridian passed through Alexandria. He also proposed a method of determining longitude by comparing the local time of a lunar eclipse at two different places, thus demonstrating an understanding of the relationship between longitude and time.
— Longitude: History.
Eratosthenes in the 3rd century BCE first proposed a system of latitude and longitude for a map of the world. His prime meridian (line of longitude) passed through Alexandria and Rhodes, while his parallels (lines of latitude) were not regularly spaced, but passed through known locations, often at the expense of being straight lines.
By the 2nd century BCE Hipparchus was using a systematic coordinate system, based on dividing the circle into 360°, to uniquely specify places on Earth. So longitudes could be expressed as degrees east or west of the primary meridian, as we do today (though the primary meridian is different). He also proposed a method of determining longitude by comparing the local time of a lunar eclipse at two different places, to obtain the difference in longitude between them. This method was not very accurate, given the limitations of the available clocks, and it was seldom done – possibly only once, using the Arbela eclipse of 330 BCE. But the method is sound, and this is the first recognition that longitude can be determined by accurate knowledge of time.
— History of longitude: Longitude before the telescope.
Eratosthenes created the first global projection of the world, incorporating parallels and meridians based on the available geographic knowledge of his era.
His third book of the Geography contained political geography. He cited countries and used parallel lines to divide the map into sections, to give accurate descriptions of the realms. This was a breakthrough and can be considered the beginning of geography. For this, Eratosthenes was named the "Father of Modern Geography."
— Eratosthenes: Geography.
One of the earliest known descriptions of standard time in India appeared in the 4th century CE astronomical treatise Surya Siddhanta. Postulating a spherical earth, the book described the thousands years old customs of the prime meridian, or zero longitude, as passing through Avanti, the ancient name for the historic city of Ujjain, and Rohitaka, the ancient name for Rohtak (28°54′N 76°38′E), a city near the Kurukshetra.
The notion of longitude for Greeks was developed by the Greek Eratosthenes (c. 276 BC – c. 195 BC) in Alexandria, and Hipparchus (c. 190 BC – c. 120 BC) in Rhodes, and applied to a large number of cities by the geographer Strabo (64/63 BC – c. 24 AD). But it was Ptolemy (c. AD 90 – c. AD 168) who first used a consistent meridian for a world map in his Geographia.
Ptolemy used as his basis the "Fortunate Isles", a group of islands in the Atlantic, which are usually associated with the Canary Islands (13° to 18°W), although his maps correspond more closely to the Cape Verde islands (22° to 25° W). The main point is to be comfortably west of the western tip of Africa (17.5° W) as negative numbers were not yet in use. His prime meridian corresponds to 18° 40' west of Winchester (about 20°W) today. At that time the chief method of determining longitude was by using the reported times of lunar eclipses in different countries.
— Prime meridian: History.