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# In this lesson, we will learn

the coordinate plane or Cartesian plane--the slope formula---the equation of a line---the slopes of parallel lines--the slopes of perpendicular lines
the midpoint formula--the distance formula

Coordinate geometry is applied to many professions and used by many in real life. For example it can be used by computer programmers.
Computer programmers use coordinate geometry because most of the programs that they write generate PDF files. And in a PDF file, the printed
page is one big coordinate plane. Coordinate geometry is thus used to position elements on the page. PDF files that are produced contains text,
images and line drawings, all of which are placed into position by using (x,y) coordinates, distances, slopes, and simple trigonometry.
Coordinate geometry are also used in manipulating images. The selected image is like a big coordinate plane with each colour information as each
individual points. Thus when the colours of the pictures are being manipulated, the points are changed.
Coordinate geometry are also applied in scanners. Scanners make use of coordinate geometry to reproduce the exact image of the selected picture
in the computer. It manipulates the points of each information in the original documents and reproduces them in soft copy.
Thus coordinate geometry are widely used without our knowing. They are mostly commonly used in reproducing the original and also in IT forms.
Introduction to Coordinate Geometry
A system of geometry where the position of points on the plane is described using an ordered pair of numbers.
Recall that a plane is a flat surface that goes on forever in both directions. If we were to place a point on the plane, coordinate geometry gives us a
way to describe exactly where it is by using two numbers.
What are coordinates?
Grid with rows and columns labelled. To introduce the idea, consider the grid on the right. The columns of the grid are lettered A,B,C etc. The rows
are numbered 1,2,3 etc from the top. We can see that the X is in box D3; that is, column D, row 3.
D and 3 are called the coordinates of the box. It has two parts: the row and the column. There are many boxes in each row and many boxes in each
column. But by having both we can find one single box, where the row and column intersect.
The Coordinate Plane. In coordinate geometry, points are placed on the "coordinate plane" as shown below. It has two scales - one running across
the plane called the "x axis" and another a right angles to it called the y axis. (These can be thought of as similar to the column and row in the
paragraph above.) The point where the axes cross is called the origin and is where both
x and y are zero.
coordinate plane showing x-axis, y-axis and origin.
On the x-axis, values to the right are positive and those to the left are negative. On the
y-axis, values above the origin are positive and those below are negative.
A point's location on the plane is given by two numbers,the first tells where it is on the
x-axis and the second which tells where it is on the y-axis. Together, they define a
single, unique position on the plane. So in the diagram above, the point A has an x
value of 20 and a y value of 15. These are the coordinates of the point A, sometimes
referred to as its "rectangular coordinates". Note that the order is important; the x
coordinate is always the first one of the pair.
For a more in-depth explanation of the coordinate plane see The Coordinate Plane.
For more on the coordinates of a point see Coordinates of a Point
Things you can do in Coordinate Geometry
If you know the coordinates of a group of points you can:
Determine the distance between them
Find the midpoint, slope and equation of a line segment
Determine if lines are parallel or perpendicular
Find the area and perimeter of a polygon defined by the points
Transform a shape by moving, rotating and reflecting it.
Define the equations of curves, circles and ellipses.
Information on all these and more can be found in the pages listed below.
Coordinate Plane
The coordinate plane or Cartesian plane is a basic concept for coordinate
geometry. It describes a two-dimensional plane in terms of two perpendicular
axes: x and y. The x-axis indicates the horizontal direction while the y-axis
indicates the vertical direction of the plane. In the coordinate plane, points are
indicated by their positions along the x and y-axes.
For example: In the coordinate plane below, point L is represented by the
coordinates (3, 1.5) because it is positioned on 3 along the x-axis and on 1.5
along the y-axis. Similarly, you can figure out the positions for the points M = (2,
1.5) and N = (2, 3).

On the coordinate plane, the slant of a line is called the slope. Slope is the ratio of
the change in the y-value over the change in the x-value, also called rise over run.
Given any two points on a line, you can calculate the slope of the line by using this
formula:
slope =
For example: Given two points, P = (0, 1) and Q = (4,1), on the line we can calculate the
slope of the line.
slope = =
Y-intercept
The y-intercept is where the line intercepts (meets) the y-axis.
For example: In the above diagram, the line intercepts the y-axis at (0,1). Its y-intercept is
equals to 1.
Equation Of A Line
In coordinate geometry, the equation of a line can be written in the form, y = mx +b,
where m is the slope and b is the y-intercept. (see a mnemonic for this formula)
For example: The equation of the line in the above diagram is:
Negative Slope
Let's look at a line that has a negative slope.
For example: Consider the two points, R(2, 3) and S(0, 1) on the line. What
would be the slope of the line?
slope = =

The y-intercept of the line is 1. The slope is 2. The equation of the line is:
y = 2x 1
Midpoint Formula
Some coordinate geometry questions may require you to find the midpoint of
line segments in the coordinate plane. To find a point that is halfway between two given points, get the average of the x-
values and the average of the y-values.
The midpoint between the two points (x1,y1) and (x2,y2) is
For example: The midpoint of the points A(1,4) and B(5,6) is