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            The study of the earth is done through various means. The geographic aspect of the study describes the location and bearing of a small section of the globe. One of the elements used for the description of the earth is the geo-map. Geo-maps give an in-depth the understanding of the locations and directions of regions of the earth. A geo-map displays the geographic outlook of a region, such as country or continent, with the representations made in specific colors assigned to them. The study of the geo-maps needs the understanding of the giving locations using different types of coordinates. Some of the ways of establishing coordinates includes geographic, State Plane and Universal Transverse Mercator Grid System coordinates. The three coordinate systems have both similarities and differences especially the types of bearing that they use to describe the location of a particular place in a geo-map. The systems are as outlined below.


Geographic Coordinates

            Geographic coordinate system is a framework for locating the regions of the earth. The system utilizes a spherical surface to locate places on the earth; it is in three dimensions. It is divided into three components, angular value, prime meridian and a datum. Taking a specific location, the coordinate of the system can be written. The region is Park Forest Village, Pennsylvania.

Latitude: 40 45′ 28″ N, Longitude: 077 53′ 28″

The coordinate system only utilizes the Latitudes and Longitudes in describing the location of the region.


Universal Transverse Mercator Grid System (UTM)

            This is a referencing system where coordinates are written for the Mercator projection, which is transverse in nature. It utilizes 2-dimensional coordinate system that is similar to the Cartesian plane. The system is specialized application that focuses on the projection that has both conformal and cylindrical nature. It partitions the globe into 60 specific zones. The zones are found both in the north and the south but are subdivided by the equator. Each zone covers six degrees on the longitude and it contains its own central meridian. The origin of the zones is located in the point of intersection between the equator and their central meridian. When utilizing this system linear variables are formed. One major issue about the system is that it is a representation of the horizontal position and is therefore is independent of the vertical positions of the earth.

A good instance is Park Forest Village in Pennsylvania is located into UTM zones 17 and 18. Therefore, the coordinates are:

Easting: 258700.831 meters, Northing: 4519697.563 meters, Zone: 18 North


From the location shown above, the UTM describes the direction of the place using the Easting and the Northing in terms of the length covered.


State Plane Coordinate System

In this system, there is no use of a projection but a coordinate system. It is used by the navigators and mappers to give a common reference points. The system divides the United States of America, including the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico into more than one hundred and twenty specific sections. The zones have specific code numerical that can be able to describe the projection limits for the area. The system focuses on two distinct projections relating on the shape of the mapped area. In regions that contain extensive east-west extension, the Lambert conformal projection is utilized. For north-south extension, the Mercator transverse projection is utilized.

For Park Forest Village found in the Pennsylvania State, west-east extension is realized. Therefore, there is the use of Lambert conformal projection, also known as the Northern Zone. The coordinates can be written as

Easting: 590726.231 meters, Northing: 69604.782 meters, Zone: 3701

The second information is retrieved from the National Geodetic Survey, (2015)
            NAD83 is a datum system that is used to describe the location of the place. It is an abbreviation for North America Datum and was founded in 1983.


Comparing the three coordinate systems
The three coordinate systems are different although they have some relationships. The coordinates are outlined below:

·                     Latitude: 40 45′ 28″ N, Longitude: 077 53′ 28″ W (Geographic)

·                     Easting: 258700.831 meters, Northing: 4519697.563 meters, Zone: 18 North (UTM)

·                     Easting: 590726.231 meters, Northing: 69604.782 meters, Zone: 3701 (State Plane)


            The major similarity is that the systems allow for plotting points on the surface of the globe. However, there are other distinct features for each of the coordinate systems. For Geographic system, polar coordinates are used that cuts across the entire earth; the Universal Transverse Mercator Grid System utilizes the Northings and the Eastings to locate a point within a small global section. The State Plane uses Eastings and Northings to locate a point especially the flattened zones, only works on the points within the United States of America. Among the three, only the State Plane coordinating system focuses on the flattened projection for a small section of the globe. 
Another noticable difference is that geographic coordinate system describes the region in question using the longitudes and latitudes. Both the two parameters are expressed up to the smallest section of a minutes. It is important to note that the three coordinate systems can be interconverted.


The figure above shows the UTM grid zones especially on the segment of the United States of America. Retrieved from UTM Grid Zones of the World by Morton, (n.d). This shows that Pennyslavania lied between the 17th and 18th Universal Transverse Mercator Grid Systemzones.
The figure below shows redrawn map for Lambert conformal conic shows a flattened part at the top of the globe. It is retrieved from ESRI, (n.d).



Morton, A. (n.d). UTM Grid Zones of the World.

National Geodetic Survey, (2015). NGS State Plane Coordinates Zones.

ESRI, (n.d). Interactive Album of Map Projections.



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