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Cartesian coordinates help locate a point by using a reading from the x axis (abscissa) and one from the y axis (ordinate).  By convention the abscissa is written first, separated by a comma  (x,.y).  The origin is the center at (0,0).  This system allows that any point is associated with an ordered pair of real numbers.  The quadrants are divided into 4 parts and are numbered as Quadrant I, II, III, and IV.  For instance, in the graph to the left, point A is located by finding its x and y axis.   Since it is in the first quadrant it is all positive (6,5).  However, Point B is a negative x axis so its position is (-3,2).  Point C is all negative (-5,-2) and Point D is (4,-4).

The Cartesian coordinate system is used to determine each point in either a two dimension or 3 dimensional systems.  The coordinates are defined by the x axis and y axis for two dimensional systems and the addition of the z axis for three dimensional systems.   Global Position System (GPS) uses the Cartesian Coordinate System to find reference points to compare on a world-wide grid.  On the figure to the left, you would use the center of the Earth as (0, 0).  The z axis is pointing north; the Y points to the Indian Ocean and the X axis points to Africa.  Once you develop formulas for distance and movement you can then track yourself on a grid.  Almost like the fly on Descartes ceiling.

The applications of using the power of a Cartesian Coordinate System is limitless. You can create graphs at any angle on three dimensional objects and look at a plane surface.  As researchers collect data to try and solve problems.  Science and math act as one!

 A three dimensional object can be analyzed by graphs in many directions. Tracking movement of currents using Cartesian Coordinate System
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