Ge*od"e*sy(?), n. [Gr. ; ge`a, gh^, the earth + to divide: cf. F. godsie.] (Math.) That branch of applied mathematics which determines, by means of observations and measurements, the figures and areas of large portions of the earth's surface, or the general figure and dimenshions of the earth; or that branch of surveying in which the curvature of the earth is taken into account, as in the surveys of States, or of long lines of coast.
Ge`o*det"ic*al(?), } a. Of or pertaining to geodesy; obtained or determined by the operations of geodesy; engaged in geodesy; geodesic; as, geodetic surveying; geodetic observers.
Geodetic curve, the shortest line that can be drawn between two points on the elipsoidal surface of the earth; a curve drawn on any given surface so that the osculating plane of the curve at every point shall contain the normal to the surface; the minimum line that can be drawn on any surface between any two points.
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