Browse Definitions :
Definition

polar coordinates

Polar coordinates provide a method of rendering graphs and indicating the positions of points on a two-dimensional (2D) surface. The polar coordinate system is employed in mathematics, physics, engineering, navigation, robotics, and other sciences.

The polar plane consists of a reference axis, or ray, that emanates from a point called the origin. Positions or coordinates are determined according to the distance or radius, from the origin, symbolized r , and the angle relative to the reference axis, symbolized by the lowercase Greek theta ( ). In the most common polar system, the reference ray points off toward the right, and angles are measured counterclockwise from it (illustration at left). This scheme is preferred, and is used by mathematicians, physicists, and engineers. In a less common scheme, the reference ray points upward, and angles are measured clockwise from it (illustration at right). This method is sometimes used by astronomers, navigators, military personnel, meteorologists, and robotics engineers.

Points or coordinates in either system are indicated by writing an opening parenthesis, the r value, a comma, the value, and a closing parenthisis in that order. The radius coordinates are, by convention, always nonnegative. Angles can be specified in degree s from 0 to 360, or in radian s from 0 to 2 pi , where pi is approximately 3.14159. An example using degrees is ( r , ) = (2,30). The origin is assigned r = 0.

If the scheme in the left-hand illustration is used, it is possible to convert a coordinate in the Cartesian xy -plane to polar values using these formulas:

x = r cos

y = r sin

Conversely, to convert a coordinate in the polar plane (as depicted in the left-hand illustration) to Cartesian values, use these formulas:

r = ( x 2 + y 2 ) 1/2

= arctan ( y / x )

Compare Cartesian coordinates .

This was last updated in September 2005

Join the conversation

1 comment

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

Why Newton needed polar coordinates instead of rectangular coordinates
Cancel

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • risk management

    Risk management is the process of identifying, assessing and controlling threats to an organization's capital and earnings.

  • compliance as a service (CaaS)

    Compliance as a Service (CaaS) is a cloud service service level agreement (SLA) that specified how a managed service provider (...

  • data protection impact assessment (DPIA)

    A data protection impact assessment (DPIA) is a process designed to help organizations determine how data processing systems, ...

SearchSecurity

  • identity provider

    An identity provider is a system component that is able to provide an end user or internet-connected device with a single set of ...

  • firewall

    A firewall is software or firmware that enforces a set of rules about what data packets will be allowed to enter or leave a ...

  • encryption

    Encryption is the method by which information is converted into secret code that hides the information's true meaning. The ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • disaster recovery team

    A disaster recovery team is a group of individuals focused on planning, implementing, maintaining, auditing and testing an ...

  • cloud insurance

    Cloud insurance is any type of financial or data protection obtained by a cloud service provider. 

SearchStorage

Close