Other Free Encyclopedias » 21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia » 21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia - Grand Rapids to Hadron

Great-circle route

lines follow called appears

Great-circle route, route on the earth's surface based on the great circle, any circle that divides a sphere into equal halves. The great-circle route is always the shortest route between 2 points. It appears on a gnomonic projection map as a straight line; on flat maps it often appears as a longer curve. By the 1800s ship navigators set their compasses to follow lines called rhumb lines, which join selected points along the great-circle route. Airplanes follow the great-circle route by using a method called inertial guidance.

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