Why Great Circle (GC) Course is Shorter then R L Course ?« Back to Questions List

Posted by marinetales
Asked on April 6, 2021 5:59 pm

Great-circle distance is the shortest distance between any two points on the surface of a sphere that is measured along a path on the surface of the sphere. When calculating great-circle distance, the line of measurement does not pass through the sphere's interior. Great-circle distance is very important for trans oceanic voyages.

One example of its usage is when long distance routes are drawn on flat maps (for instance, a Mercator projection). When drawn on flat maps, the routes often look curved. This is the routes lie on great circles. If the route was to be drawn as a straight line, the measured distance would actually be longer than the great-circle distance.

Due to the fact that the Earth is approximately spherical, the equations for great-circle distance are important for finding the shortest distance between two points on the surface of the Earth. Therefore great-circle distance has important applications in navigation, as it can help navigators plan shorter routes and optimize voyage time and fuel efficiency.

Posted by marinetales
Answered On April 15, 2021 12:15 am