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Understanding Distance Calculators

Distance calculators are instruments that calculate the distance that separates two or more points on the map. You can the unit of distance as you prefer – meters, kilometers 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. As well, you can use postcodes and addresses.

How Distance Calculators Work

After you click the search button, a search will start to locate the place you indicated. 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 allow you determine the distance between the two points, and the location will be saved in the internal database so that it can be located when someone searches for it in the future.
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The moment a result is displayed, you can get the URL so you can go back to it for your own reference, or the reference of a friend or relative who might need it.
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How Distance Is Determined

The distance between any two points is defined as the shortest separation in between them, where the two are closest to each other. This logic is employed by any geoprocessing tool calculating distance.

Input data in an equidistance projected coordinate system lead to the most accurate distance measurements. 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.

Important Considerations

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

Hence, with two features intersecting, overlapping, crossing, or touching, distance is zero. Distance is always measured to the boundary of a polygon feature, rather than to the center. As indicated earlier, if a feature is entirely inside a polygon, their distance is zero. 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. But there are three basic rules that dictate how distance is calculated. First, the distance between two points is the straight line that connects the points. Second, point-to-line distance can be the perpendicular or the closest vertex. Third and last, segment vertices determine the distance between polylines.