Browse Definitions :
Definition

Cartesian coordinates (rectangular coordinates)

Cartesian coordinates, also called rectangular coordinates, provide a method of rendering graphs and indicating the positions of points on a two-dimensional (2D) surface or in three-dimensional (3D) space. The scheme gets its name from one of the first people known to have used it, the French mathematician and philosopher René Descartes (1596-1650). Cartesian coordinates are used to define positions on computer displays, in 3D models and virtual reality (VR) renderings. The coordinate system is also employed in mathematics, physics, engineering, navigation, robotics, economics and other sciences.

The Cartesian plane consists of two perpendicular axes that cross at a central point called the origin. Positions or coordinates are determined according to the east/west and north/south displacements from the origin. The east/west axis is often called the x axis, and the north/south axis is called the y axis. For this reason, the Cartesian plane is also known as the xy -plane. The x and y axes are linear number lines, meaning that each division on a given axis always represents the same increment. However, the increments on different axes can differ. For example, in the illustration at left below, each increment on the x axis might represent 2 units, while each increment on the y axis represents 5 units. Points or coordinates are indicated by writing an opening parenthesis, the x value, a comma, the y value, and a closing parenthesis in that order. An example is ( x,y ) = (2,-5). The origin is usually, but not always, assigned the value (0,0). 

 Cartesian three-space, also called xyz -space, has a third axis, oriented at right angles to the xy plane. This axis, usually called the z axis, passes through the origin of the xy -plane. Positions or coordinates are determined according to the east/west ( x ), north/south ( y ), and up/down (z) displacements from the origin. As is the case with the x and y axes, the z axis is a linear number line. For example, in the illustration at right above, each increment on the x axis might represent 5 units, each increment on the y axis 10 units, and each increment on the z axis 2 units. Points or coordinates are indicated by writing an opening parenthesis, the x value, a comma, the y value, another comma, the z value, and a closing parenthesis in that order. An example is ( x,y,z ) = (5,-10,-4). The origin is usually, but not always, assigned the value (0,0,0).

Other coordinate systems include semilog coordinates, log-log coordinates, polar coordinates, cylindrical coordinates, spherical coordinates and azimuth and elevation.

This was last updated in October 2016

Continue Reading About Cartesian coordinates (rectangular coordinates)

SearchCompliance
  • compliance risk

    Compliance risk is an organization's potential exposure to legal penalties, financial forfeiture and material loss, resulting ...

  • information governance

    Information governance is a holistic approach to managing corporate information by implementing processes, roles, controls and ...

  • enterprise document management (EDM)

    Enterprise document management (EDM) is a strategy for overseeing an organization's paper and electronic documents so they can be...

SearchSecurity
  • session key

    A session key is an encryption and decryption key that is randomly generated to ensure the security of a communications session ...

  • data breach

    A data breach is a cyber attack in which sensitive, confidential or otherwise protected data has been accessed and/or disclosed ...

  • multifactor authentication (MFA)

    Multifactor authentication (MFA) is a security technology that requires more than one method of authentication from independent ...

SearchHealthIT
SearchDisasterRecovery
  • risk mitigation

    Risk mitigation is a strategy to prepare for and lessen the effects of threats faced by a business.

  • call tree

    A call tree is a layered hierarchical communication model that is used to notify specific individuals of an event and coordinate ...

  • Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)

    Disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) is the replication and hosting of physical or virtual servers by a third party to provide ...

SearchStorage
  • cloud storage

    Cloud storage is a service model in which data is transmitted and stored on remote storage systems, where it is maintained, ...

  • cloud testing

    Cloud testing is the process of using the cloud computing resources of a third-party service provider to test software ...

  • storage virtualization

    Storage virtualization is the pooling of physical storage from multiple storage devices into what appears to be a single storage ...

Close