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The archipelago of the Maldives: geography and territory The Maldives are an oblong ring-shaped double-range of large atolls. The archipelago of the Maldives is located in the Indian Ocean, mostly just north and slightly south of the Equator, between 7°6’30” latitude north and 0°41’48” latitude south and between 72°32’30” and 73°45’54” longitude east. The Maldives comprise 26 atolls stretching north to south for about 764 km. and east to west for about 128 km. India is about 595 km. away from the archipelago to the north, Sri Lanka about 670 km. to the north-west and the Chagos islands about 550 km. to the south. The atolls comprise a circular coral reef which contains the internal lagoon around and within which the numerous islands of various sizes are clustered. The 26 atolls include a total of 1,190 coral islands covered in vegetation.
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