**graticule and a grid**

April 30 2009 |
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Categories:
Map Elements

What is the difference between a graticule and a grid?

### Mapping Center Answer:

Both of these terms in ArcGIS parlance refer to reference systems that allow your map readers to identify specific locations on the globe. Strictly speaking a grid coordinate system is a "plane-rectangular coordinate system which is based upon and mathematically placed on a map projection" (see the Map Use book, Chapter 4 - Grid Coordinate Systems).

A graticule is one of three basic types of grids that you can use to provide a coordinate system on your map. The graticule is the set of east-west lines called "parallels" and north-south lines called "meridians" draped over the spheroidal or ellipsoidal approximation to the earth. The angular distance of a parallel from the equator and a meridian the prime meridian gives us the latitude and longitude coordinates of a feature.

One other type is a measured grid, which you could use to provide the Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) or State Plane Coordinate System (SPCS) coordinates that you often see on maps (e.g., topographic maps).

Both measured grids and the graticule allow your map readers to identify any location on your map with a specific x,y pair of coordinates.

The third option to allow your maps readers to identify locations on a map is a little different. It is called a reference grid in the software. It is really a grid cell coordinate location system. This means that map readers can find locations on a map by referencing row and columns using alphanumeric codes.

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