Understanding Distance Calculators

Distance calculators are tools for calculating the distance in between two or more points on the map. You can decide on the distance unit you want to use, whether kilometers, meters or miles. In most cases, you can simply type in the names of the places whose distance you’re interested in, and then click a button to display results. Postcodes and addresses could be used too.

How Distance Calculators Work

As you click the search button, a search will be run to locate the place you are referring to. First off, a search will be made on an internal list of usual locations. If this isn’t fruitful, a search will be done using Google Maps API GlocalSearch. If also unsuccessful, you will be asked to pinpoint the location of the place by clicking on the map. This will let you see the distance between the two points, and the location will be entered into the internal database so that it will be found the next time someone searches for it.

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When a result has been returned, you can save the URL and use it for your own reference, or to give it to a friend or family member who may also need it.

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How Distance Is Determined

The distance that lies between any two features is determined as the shortest distance between them, that is, in which the two features are nearest each other. This logic is used by any geoprocessing tool that calculates distance.

If input data is in an equidistance projected coordinate system, distance measurements can be most accurate. Although distance calculations can always be done no matter the coordinate system used, the results can be inaccurate or even insignificant when data is in a geographic coordinate system or a wrongly selected projected coordinate system.

Key Considerations

A lot of features could be equally closest to the next feature. If this occurs, any of the equally closest features can be indiscriminately chosen as the closest. If one feature contains or is contained in another feature, their is zero. A distance of zero is calculated in a scenario where there is at least one x,y coordinate shared between them.

Thus, distance is zero when between two overlapping, intersecting, touching or crossing features. Distance is always based on the a polygon feature’s outer edges instead of the center. As we mentioned, zero is the distance between any feature and the polygon surrounding it. The distance that lies between two features of any kind, is always the same no matter which one of them is being measured to and from.

Basic Distance-finding Operations

Determining distance relies on the geometry type of the features, and also on other factors such as coordinate system. However, three basic rules dictate how distance will be calculated. First, the distance that lies between two points is the straight line linking the points. Second, point-to-line distance can be the perpendicular or the closest vertex. Finally, determining the distance between polylines are segment vertices.