Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial.
geodesy (jēŏdˈĭsē) or geodetic surveying, theory and practice of determining the position of points on the earth's surface and the dimensions of areas so large that the curvature of the earth must be taken into account. It is distinguished from plane surveying, the operations of which are executed without regard to the earth's curvature. In geodetic surveying, two points, called stations, many miles apart are selected, and the latitude and longitude of each is determined by astronomical means. The line between these two points, the base line, is measured with a high degree of accuracy. The position of a third station is determined by the angle it makes with each end of the base line. This process, called triangulation, is continued until the whole area to be surveyed is mapped. For indicating a triangulation station the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey uses a bronze disk suitably marked and having a projection on the bottom for anchoring it in concrete. Where the curvature of the earth is great or where there are hills or high trees between stations, towers are built so that one station may be seen from another. In recent years, artificial earth satellites have come into wide use as geodetic instruments. Shifts in the orbits of the satellites Explorer I and Vanguard I provided data by which geodesists corrected the value for the oblateness of the earth. This led to a program of geodetic satellites specifically designed to measure variations in the earth's gravitational field, and to determine the exact geographic position of points on the earth's surface. A triangulation station in space, the geodetic satellite, is photographed against the background of stars in order to compare accurately the relative positions of points on the earth.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
base line[′bās ‚līn]
The line traced on amplitude-modulated indicators which corresponds to the power level of the weakest echo detected by the radar; it is retraced with every pulse transmitted by the radar but appears as a nearly continuous display on the scope.
A surveyed line, established with more than usual care, to which surveys are referred for coordination and correlation.
A cardinal line extending east and west along the astronomic parallel passing through the initial point, along which standard township, section, and quarter-section corners are established.
The bottom alignment of upper-case letters in a font.
The geodesic line joining the two stations between which electrical phase or time is compared in determining navigational coordinates.
(science and technology)
A line drawn in the graphical representation of a varying physical quantity, such as a voltage or current, to indicate a reference value, such as the voltage value of a bias.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
A surveyed line which has been established with more than usual care, and to which surveys are referred for coordination and correlation.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.