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.
Source:
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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