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

• timing attack

A timing attack is a type of side-channel attack that exploits the amount of time a computer process runs to gain knowledge about...

• privileged identity management (PIM)

Privileged identity management (PIM) is the monitoring and protection of superuser accounts that hold expanded access to an ...

• possession factor

The possession factor, in a security context, is a category of user authentication credentials based on items that the user has ...

Business process reengineering (BPR) is a management practice in which business processes used are radically redesigned to ...

• innovation management

Innovation management involves the process of managing an organization's innovation procedure, starting at the initial stage of ...

Radical innovation is an invention that destroys or supplants an existing business model.

• employee resource group (ERG)

An employee resource group is a workplace club or more formally realized affinity group organized around a shared interest or ...

• employee training and development

Employee training and development is a set of activities and programs designed to enhance the knowledge, skills and abilities of ...

• employee sentiment analysis

Employee sentiment analysis is the use of natural language processing and other AI techniques to automatically analyze employee ...

• customer profiling

Customer profiling is the detailed and systematic process of constructing a clear portrait of a company's ideal customer by ...

• customer insight (consumer insight)

Customer insight, also known as consumer insight, is the understanding and interpretation of customer data, behaviors and ...