Definition of triangulation in US English:



  • 1(in surveying) the tracing and measurement of a series or network of triangles in order to determine the distances and relative positions of points spread over a territory or region, especially by measuring the length of one side of each triangle and deducing its angles and the length of the other two sides by observation from this baseline.

    • ‘We checked for spatial structure by determining the position of each pair on the lawn using the distance measurements described above and simple triangulation.’
    • ‘It was one of two instruments used to set up the principal triangulation and surveyor's grid for Great Britain-a mapping project to mark a network of fixed points across the country.’
    • ‘The position of the receiver is determined by triangulation, except that in this case, the distance to four GPS satellites is used to determine the receiver's position in three dimensions.’
    • ‘The GPS transceivers exchange ranging signals among themselves, and then triangulation methods enable relative positioning of the devices.’
    • ‘The first task was to establish a reference point on the far bank so the crossing could be measured by triangulation.’
    • ‘The accuracy of Borda's repeating circle allowed distances to be found by surveying using triangulation.’
    • ‘The Royal Danish Academy began an ambitious project to undertake a topographical survey of Denmark and also to use triangulation to determine geographical coordinates.’
    • ‘Cellular triangulation, Wi-Fi networks, and ultrawideband offer outdoor and indoor location data as well, sometimes down to the centimeter level.’
    • ‘They cannot extend a ruler to a distant galaxy and cannot usually use triangulation like surveyors do because the distances involved are too large.’
    • ‘It is of course possible that something could be rigged without the network and without triangulation.’
    • ‘Vision-based anticollision systems normally require two cameras because, like human eyes, they use stereoscopic triangulation to judge distance.’
    • ‘GPS altitude triangulation is much more accurate.’
    • ‘He greatly increased the accuracy of measurements of the Earth, using Snell's method of triangulation.’
    • ‘He introduced techniques to measure the earth and distances on it using triangulation.’
    • ‘From 1890 to 1893 he worked for the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey and developed triangulation methods of surveying which were less expensive and more accurate than those employed up to that time.’
    • ‘A single measurement of a carefully selected baseline of just a few hundred metres enabled him to calculate the distances between all the towns via triangulation.’
    • ‘However, accuracy of the position estimate by triangulation may be degraded depending on array geometry and rover location, the well known dilution of precision.’
    • ‘This is a fundamental limit to the physical measurement of triangulation systems.’
    • ‘We located all radio-tagged individuals by triangulation and subsequent visual observation.’
    • ‘Small accumulating errors of triangulation were estimated in relation to other sources of measurement and sampling errors.’
  • 2Formation of or division into triangles.

    • ‘The edges E are actually edges of future triangles, obtained by triangulation.’
    • ‘Could this 72-degree bound be achieved by a triangulation in which all triangles met edge to edge?’
    • ‘Exploiting basic structural concepts of triangulation and curvilinearity in order to produce an inherently rigid, yet dynamic form, the light, ephemeral pavilion sits serenely above a small pool.’
  • 3US (in politics) the action or process of positioning oneself in such a way as to appeal to or appease both left-wing and right-wing standpoints.

    • ‘He has reacted to Republican tax cuts proposals by proffering a Democrat "watered-down" version of the same, a movement redolent of Clinton's "triangulation" strategy.’
    • ‘Nicol Rae's chapter - "Clinton and the Democrats" - depicts triangulation as undermining party continuity.’
    • ‘Triangulation can help win temporary victories, but it can't produce long term gains.’
    • ‘The central argument was a reaffirmation of Third Way triangulation.’
    • ‘Bill Clinton's people used to call it triangulation, the art of putting an equal ideological distance between opponents and supporters alike.’
    • ‘The rhetoric of triangulation will not work in Europe.’
    • ‘The two answers taken together were a form of triangulation worthy of Bill Clinton.’
    • ‘Mr Watson is the first person we know of who thinks you can win a war by triangulation.’
    • ‘Congressional doves, by uniting around a strong offensive eschewing triangulation weakened the president.’
    • ‘Certainly, they are extremely impatient with the split the difference, triangulation strategies that have failed to win majorities for the last several election cycles.’
    • ‘We are clearly in the period of pre-election triangulation where New Labour again attempts to out Tory the Tories.’
    • ‘For all their triangulation, deep down inside both he and John Kerry are not foolish.’
    • ‘In the past, Clinton "triangulation" meant positioning oneself between the Democrats and Republicans in Congress.’
    • ‘Those pledges could get harder to keep as the governor a Reaganesque triangulation.’
    • ‘If Portillo and the Conservatives were bold enough to take on the legalisation of cannabis they would leapfrog beyond political triangulation.’
    • ‘Clinton won the last election by triangulation.’
    • ‘His speech tacked this way then that; he commits the crime of triangulation.’
    • ‘His strategy was triangulation: to push the Tories out to the Right, and to destroy Old Labour.’
    • ‘His approach heavily borrows from Bill Clinton's triangulation or Tony Blair's Third Way.’
    • ‘I call it dialectical triangulation.’