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Reference Lines on Earth - 14221_25
Earth and the Terrestrial Coordinate System Background Before  we  begin  to  examine  the  nautical  chart,  we  must  first  understand some  facts  about  Earth  itself. Facts  about  Earth It  is  not  a  perfect  sphere The  diameter  at  the  Equator  equals  approximately  6,888  nautical  miles. The  polar  diameter  is  approximately  6,865  nautical  miles,  or  23  miles less  than  the  diameter  at  the  Equator. Technically  it  is  classified  as  an  oblate  spheroid  (a  sphere  flattened  at the poles.) Figure  1-4.  Earth. For  the  purposes  of  navigation,  we  assume  that  we  are  working  with  a perfect sphere. The  differences  between  the  two  diameters  are  small enough to be considered insignificant. Nautical  charts  do  NOT  take  Earth’s  oblateness  into  account. 1-8

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