Coordinate system

In geometry, a coordinate system is a system that uses one or more numbers, or coordinates, to uniquely determine the position of the points or other geometric elements on a manifold such as Euclidean space.[1][2] The order of the coordinates is significant, and they are sometimes identified by their position in an ordered tuple and sometimes by a letter, as in "the x-coordinate". The coordinates are taken to be real numbers in elementary mathematics, but may be complex numbers or elements of a more abstract system such as a commutative ring. The use of a coordinate system allows problems in geometry to be translated into problems about numbers and vice versa; this is the basis of analytic geometry.[3]

The spherical coordinate system is commonly used in physics. It assigns three numbers (known as coordinates) to every point in Euclidean space: radial distance r, polar angle θ (theta), and azimuthal angle φ (phi). The symbol ρ (rho) is often used instead of r.