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Terrestrial Coordinate System/
Chart Projections and
• Learning Objectives:

– Comprehend the terrestrial coordinate system
– Comprehend the location of positions on the
earth using latitude and longitude
– Comprehend the basic properties of the most
commonly used chart projections

Terrestrial Coordinate
• The earth is an oblate spheroid, but
for navigational purposes it is
considered a perfect sphere with a
circumference of 21,600 NM.
• On a perfect sphere at rest, all points
on the surface are similar; reference
points must be designated in order to
make any type of measurements.

Terrestrial Coordinate
• When rotation is introduced, the spin
axis introduces two reference points,
the north and south poles.
• The spin axis of the earth, together
with its poles, constitutes the basic
reference points on which the
terrestrial coordinate system is

– A great circle represents the shortest distance between two points on the surface of the earth. • Some key points: – A great circle is the largest circle that can be drawn on the face of the earth.Terrestrial Coordinate System • Great Circle: the intersection of a plane passing through two points on the surface of the earth and the center of the earth. .

Terrestrial Coordinate System • Equator • Meridian .

Terrestrial Coordinate System • Small Circle.any circle not passing through the center of the earth. .

Terrestrial Coordinate System • Meridians of longitude are great circles • Parallels of latitude are small circles (with the exception of the equator) .

. It serves as the reference for meridians of longitude. • The prime meridian passes through the original position of the Royal Greenwich Observatory.Latitude and Longitude • The equator divides the earth into the northern and southern hemispheres and is the reference for parallels of latitude.

Latitude and Longitude • Meridians are divided in half: – upper branch – lower branch • Prime Meridian – upper branch is known as the Greenwich meridian – lower branch is the 180th meridian .

. either east or west.Longitude Defined • The angular distance between the Greenwich meridian and the meridian passing through a particular point on the earth’s surface. Longitude is measured in degrees of arc from 0 to 180 degrees.

either north or south. .Latitude Defined • The angular distance between the Equator and the parallel passing through a particular point on the earth’s surface. Latitude is measured in degrees of arc from 0 to 90 degrees.

Longitude .

Latitude .

so NEVER use the longitude scale to determine distances on a chart.Measurement of Distance • Since latitude lines are parallel. the length of one degree of latitude is the same everywhere on earth (60 NM). the length in miles of one degree of longitude decreases. . • As the distance from the equator increases.

Measurement of Distance .

Note: Rhumb lines are lines on the surface of the earth that cross all meridians at the same angle. – Great circles represented as straight lines .Chart Projections • Desirable qualities of a chart projection: – Correct angular relationships – Representation of areas in their correct proportions relative to one another – True scale – Rhumb lines represented as straight lines. Ships on a constant course follow rhumb lines.

Mercator Projection • Imagine a cylinder rolled around the earth. . • Meridians appear as straight vertical lines when projected outward onto the cylinder. and parallel to the earth’s axis. tangent at the equator.

Mercator Projection .

• True shape of features is maintained for small areas (conformality) • Rhumb lines plot as straight lines. Distance. . and direction easily determined. Disadvantages • Distortion of true size of surface features increases with distance from the equator. • Great circles appear as curved lines.Mercator Projection Advantages • Position.

Gnomonic Projection • Surface features and reference lines on the earth’s surface are projected outward from the center of the earth onto a tangent plane. depending on point of tangency: – equatorial gnomonic (tangent at equator) – polar gnomonic (tangent at either pole) – oblique gnomonic (tangent somewhere else) . • Three basic types.

Gnomonic Projection .

Gnomonic Projection Advantages Disadvantages • Great circles appear • Rhumb lines appear as straight lines as curved lines (shortest distance • Distance and between two points) direction cannot be • Tolerable distortion measured directly within 1000 miles of • Not conformal (true the point of shapes are not tangency presented) .

Gnomonic Projection .

Mercator Gnomonic • Since great circles appear as straight lines. due to the ease of measurement of position. . used to determine the shortest route between two points.Gnomonic vs. distance. and direction. Mercator • Used for everyday navigation. This information is then transferred to a Mercator chart.

Gnomonic vs. Mercator .

S.S. territorial waters • National Ocean Service (NOS) – inland and coastal waters of the U.Nautical Charts • Two government activities are responsible for producing charts: • Defense Mapping Agency (DMA) – ocean areas of the world outside U. and its possessions .

Chart Numbering System • All charts are assigned a 1 to 5 digit number. depending on the scale of the chart • No.000.001 –4 misc and special non-nav charts –5 1: and larger .000.001 and smaller –3 1:2. of digits Scale –1 no scale (supporting publications) –2 1:9.001 to 1:9.

. First digit is the ocean basin (there are nine worldwide).Chart Numbering System • 1 Digit: supporting publications • 2 or 3 Digits: depict large ocean basins and subdivisions.

Ocean Basins of the World .

– There are nine coastal regions in the world – Each is divided into several subregions • • • The first number is the region The second number is the subregion The last three numbers represent the geographic sequence of the chart .Chart Numbering System • 5 Digits: are of suitable scale to depict coastal regions with the great detail necessary for piloting.

Coastal Regions of the World .

Chart Numbering System • Thus. the chart numbering system – indicates the scale of the chart (by the number of digits in the chart number) – indicates the area of the world depicted (ocean basin. and subregion) – enables the navigator to organize the charts into portfolios . subdivision. coastal region.

Chart Scale • An important point to remember: SMALL SCALE = LARGE AREA LARGE SCALE = SMALL AREA .

inland waters) . • DMA and NOS disseminate corrections using two publications: – Notice to Mariners (DMA. worldwide coverage) – Local Notice to Mariners (USCG.S.Chart and Publication Correction System • Navigation is constantly changing! • It is not practical to constantly reprint navigational charts and publications. changes pertaining to U.

using a correction card for each chart. not all changes are made. . • Fortunately. The corrections are kept on file. • Changes are then entered on a chart when a ship is scheduled to operate in the area the chart covers.Chart and Publication Correction System • Corrections must be made by hand to the affected chart or publication.

DMA publishes a five volume summary of all corrections for the previous six months. .Chart and Publication Correction System • Semiannually.

Other Correction Resources • Broadcast Notice to Mariners • Worldwide Navigation Warning System (NAVAREAS) • HYDROLANTS and HYDROPACS • DMA Daily Memoranda • Special Warnings (USN or USCG) • Automated Notice to Mariners System (ANMS) .