3-D Coordinates - A Universal Rectangular Coordinate System for a GIS and Other Spatial Databases

by Earl F. Burkholder,

Abstract: Rules of solid geometry and 3-dimensional (3-D) rectangular coordinate systems are well known and used in many applications. Points on or near the earth's surface have long been described with rectangular coordinates; plane coordinates for horizontal position and elevation for the third dimension. When required to accommodate earth's curvature, standard practice is to describe horizontal position using geodetic coordinates of latitude/longitude. The third dimension is height above/below the ellipsoid. The 3-D geocentric coordinate system recommended for a GIS accommodates both local rectangular coordinates and geodetic latitude/longitude/height coordinates on a global scale without introducing distance distortions inherent in the use of a map projection.

Subject Headings: Geographic information systems | Information systems | Geodetic surveys | Mapping | Geometrics | Solid mechanics | Curvature | Distortion (structural)

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