Definition: Great circle

UN - Geographic Information Systems

The circle that is formed by intersecting a plane through the centre of a sphere. For example, all meridians and the equator are great circles. On the sphere, the shortest path between two points is along the great circle that passes through both points.
United Nations, "Handbook on Geospatial Infrastructure in Support of Census Activities", Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Statistics Division, Studies in Methods, Series F No. 103, New York, 2009

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