Terrestrial coordinate system
Lavin, Stephen Department of Geography, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska.
- Latitude and longitude
- Plane coordinates
- Additional Readings
The perpendicular intersection of two curves or two lines, one relatively horizontal and the other relatively vertical, is the basis for finding and describing terrestrial location. The Earth's graticule, consisting of an imaginary grid of east-to-west-bearing lines of latitude and north-to-south bearing lines of longitude, is derived from the Earth's shape and rotation, and is rooted in spherical geometry. The development of latitude and longitude likely originated during the classical period in Greece in the second century B.C. Hipparchus of Rhodes is thought to have been instrumental in its development. Plane coordinate systems, equivalent to horizontal X and vertical Y coordinates, are based upon cartesian geometry and differ from the graticule in that they have no natural origin or beginning for their grids.
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