Give only two real life examples of Polar Coordinates.

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embizze eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Polar coordinates use a distance, r, and a direction, `theta` , to describe the position in the plane from the origin. (As opposed to rectangular or Cartesian coordinates that give the position in terms of some number of units horizontally and some number of units vertically displaced from the origin.)

(1) A farmer might describe a tornado as being 1/2 mile northeast of his house. The origin is the house, r=1/2 mile, and the bearing is NE or 45 degrees east of North.

(2) Aircraft controllers use polar coordinates. Planes are described as being some number of miles from the controller at some given bearing.