The idea of locating the position of a point by means of coordinates is a very common one. Most people are familiar with the idea of a map reference, which uses a rectangular coordinate system (the axes are at right angles to one another). The development of coordinates resulted from the work of René Descartes, the French mathematician. His work has been extended a long way since then, and there are now many different types of coordinate system. In this chapter, however, we will just look at the algebraic developments in the Cartesian coordinate system in two and three dimensions.
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