Calculate distance between two latitude-longitude points? (Haversine formula)

0 votes
asked Aug 26, 2008 by robin-minto

How do I calculate the distance between two points specified by latitude and longitude?

For clarification, I'd like the distance in kilometers; the points use the WGS84 system and I'd like to understand the relative accuracies of the approaches available.

28 Answers

0 votes
answered Jan 19, 2008 by jaircazarin-old-acco

Here is a C# Implementation:

static class DistanceAlgorithm
{
    const double PIx = 3.141592653589793;
    const double RADIUS = 6378.16;

    /// <summary>
    /// Convert degrees to Radians
    /// </summary>
    /// <param name="x">Degrees</param>
    /// <returns>The equivalent in radians</returns>
    public static double Radians(double x)
    {
        return x * PIx / 180;
    }

    /// <summary>
    /// Calculate the distance between two places.
    /// </summary>
    /// <param name="lon1"></param>
    /// <param name="lat1"></param>
    /// <param name="lon2"></param>
    /// <param name="lat2"></param>
    /// <returns></returns>
    public static double DistanceBetweenPlaces(
        double lon1,
        double lat1,
        double lon2,
        double lat2)
    {
        double dlon = Radians(lon2 - lon1);
        double dlat = Radians(lat2 - lat1);

        double a = (Math.Sin(dlat / 2) * Math.Sin(dlat / 2)) + Math.Cos(Radians(lat1)) * Math.Cos(Radians(lat2)) * (Math.Sin(dlon / 2) * Math.Sin(dlon / 2));
        double angle = 2 * Math.Atan2(Math.Sqrt(a), Math.Sqrt(1 - a));
        return angle * RADIUS;
    }
0 votes
answered Jan 26, 2008 by pete-kirkham

It rather depends how accurate you want to be and what datum the lat and long are defined on. Very, very approximately you do a little spherical trig, but correcting for the fact that the earth is not a sphere makes the formulae more complicated.

0 votes
answered Aug 26, 2008 by chuck

This link might be helpful to you, as it details the use of the Haversine formula to calculate the distance.

Excerpt:

This script [in Javascript] calculates great-circle distances between the two points – that is, the shortest distance over the earth’s surface – using the ‘Haversine’ formula.

function getDistanceFromLatLonInKm(lat1,lon1,lat2,lon2) {
  var R = 6371; // Radius of the earth in km
  var dLat = deg2rad(lat2-lat1);  // deg2rad below
  var dLon = deg2rad(lon2-lon1); 
  var a = 
    Math.sin(dLat/2) * Math.sin(dLat/2) +
    Math.cos(deg2rad(lat1)) * Math.cos(deg2rad(lat2)) * 
    Math.sin(dLon/2) * Math.sin(dLon/2)
    ; 
  var c = 2 * Math.atan2(Math.sqrt(a), Math.sqrt(1-a)); 
  var d = R * c; // Distance in km
  return d;
}

function deg2rad(deg) {
  return deg * (Math.PI/180)
}
0 votes
answered Jan 7, 2010 by stephen-watson

Thanks very much for all this. I used the following code in my Objective-C iPhone app:

const double PIx = 3.141592653589793;
const double RADIO = 6371; // Mean radius of Earth in Km

double convertToRadians(double val) {

   return val * PIx / 180;
}

-(double)kilometresBetweenPlace1:(CLLocationCoordinate2D) place1 andPlace2:(CLLocationCoordinate2D) place2 {

        double dlon = convertToRadians(place2.longitude - place1.longitude);
        double dlat = convertToRadians(place2.latitude - place1.latitude);

        double a = ( pow(sin(dlat / 2), 2) + cos(convertToRadians(place1.latitude))) * cos(convertToRadians(place2.latitude)) * pow(sin(dlon / 2), 2);
        double angle = 2 * asin(sqrt(a));

        return angle * RADIO;
}

Latitude and Longitude are in decimal. I didn't use min() for the asin() call as the distances that I'm using are so small that they don't require it.

It gave incorrect answers until I passed in the values in Radians - now it's pretty much the same as the values obtained from Apple's Map app :-)

Extra update:

If you are using iOS4 or later then Apple provide some methods to do this so the same functionality would be achieved with:

-(double)kilometresBetweenPlace1:(CLLocationCoordinate2D) place1 andPlace2:(CLLocationCoordinate2D) place2 {

    MKMapPoint  start, finish;


    start = MKMapPointForCoordinate(place1);
    finish = MKMapPointForCoordinate(place2);

    return MKMetersBetweenMapPoints(start, finish) / 1000;
}
0 votes
answered Jan 28, 2011 by avi-c

Got Error- no Method 'toRad'

So modified the above procedure to call toRad method-

toRad(lat2-lat1) 

Math.cos(toRad(lat1))

and added the method-

//degrees to radians
function toRad(degree) 
{
    rad = degree* Math.PI/ 180;
    return rad;
}
0 votes
answered Jan 12, 2012 by conualfy

I post here my working example.

List all points in table having distance between a designated point (we use a random point - lat:45.20327, long:23.7806) less than 50 KM, with latitude & longitude, in MySQL (the table fields are coord_lat and coord_long):

List all having DISTANCE<50, in Kilometres (considered Earth radius 6371 KM):

SELECT denumire, (6371 * acos( cos( radians(45.20327) ) * cos( radians( coord_lat ) ) * cos( radians( 23.7806 ) - radians(coord_long) ) + sin( radians(45.20327) ) * sin( radians(coord_lat) ) )) AS distanta 
FROM obiective 
WHERE coord_lat<>'' 
    AND coord_long<>'' 
HAVING distanta<50 
ORDER BY distanta desc

The above example was tested in MySQL 5.0.95 and 5.5.16 (Linux).

0 votes
answered Jan 17, 2012 by bherto39

Here's a simple javascript function that may be useful from this link.. somehow related but we're using google earth javascript plugin instead of maps

function getApproximateDistanceUnits(point1, point2) {

    var xs = 0;
    var ys = 0;

    xs = point2.getX() - point1.getX();
    xs = xs * xs;

    ys = point2.getY() - point1.getY();
    ys = ys * ys;

    return Math.sqrt(xs + ys);
}

The units tho are not in distance but in terms of a ratio relative to your coordinates. There are other computations related you can substitute for the getApproximateDistanceUnits function link here

Then I use this function to see if a latitude longitude is within the radius

function isMapPlacemarkInRadius(point1, point2, radi) {
    if (point1 && point2) {
        return getApproximateDistanceUnits(point1, point2) <= radi;
    } else {
        return 0;
    }
}

point may be defined as

 $$.getPoint = function(lati, longi) {
        var location = {
            x: 0,
            y: 0,
            getX: function() { return location.x; },
            getY: function() { return location.y; }
        };
        location.x = lati;
        location.y = longi;

        return location;
    };

then you can do your thing to see if a point is within a region with a radius say:

 //put it on the map if within the range of a specified radi assuming 100,000,000 units
        var iconpoint = Map.getPoint(pp.latitude, pp.longitude);
        var centerpoint = Map.getPoint(Settings.CenterLatitude, Settings.CenterLongitude);

        //approx ~200 units to show only half of the globe from the default center radius
        if (isMapPlacemarkInRadius(centerpoint, iconpoint, 120)) {
            addPlacemark(pp.latitude, pp.longitude, pp.name);
        }
        else {
            otherSidePlacemarks.push({
                latitude: pp.latitude,
                longitude: pp.longitude,
                name: pp.name
            });

        }
0 votes
answered Jan 24, 2012 by tony-gil

This is a simple PHP function that will give a very reasonable approximation (under +/-1% error margin).

<?php
function distance($lat1, $lon1, $lat2, $lon2) {

    $pi80 = M_PI / 180;
    $lat1 *= $pi80;
    $lon1 *= $pi80;
    $lat2 *= $pi80;
    $lon2 *= $pi80;

    $r = 6372.797; // mean radius of Earth in km
    $dlat = $lat2 - $lat1;
    $dlon = $lon2 - $lon1;
    $a = sin($dlat / 2) * sin($dlat / 2) + cos($lat1) * cos($lat2) * sin($dlon / 2) * sin($dlon / 2);
    $c = 2 * atan2(sqrt($a), sqrt(1 - $a));
    $km = $r * $c;

    //echo '<br/>'.$km;
    return $km;
}
?>

As said before; the earth is NOT a sphere. It is like an old, old baseball that Mark McGwire decided to practice with - it is full of dents and bumps. The simpler calculations (like this) treat it like a sphere.

Different methods may be more or less precise according to where you are on this irregular ovoid AND how far apart your points are (the closer they are the smaller the absolute error margin). The more precise your expectation, the more complex the math.

For more info: wikipedia geographic distance

0 votes
answered Jan 26, 2012 by whostolebenfrog

Here is a java implementation of the Haversine formula.

public final static double AVERAGE_RADIUS_OF_EARTH_KM = 6371;
public int calculateDistanceInKilometer(double userLat, double userLng,
  double venueLat, double venueLng) {

    double latDistance = Math.toRadians(userLat - venueLat);
    double lngDistance = Math.toRadians(userLng - venueLng);

    double a = Math.sin(latDistance / 2) * Math.sin(latDistance / 2)
      + Math.cos(Math.toRadians(userLat)) * Math.cos(Math.toRadians(venueLat))
      * Math.sin(lngDistance / 2) * Math.sin(lngDistance / 2);

    double c = 2 * Math.atan2(Math.sqrt(a), Math.sqrt(1 - a));

    return (int) (Math.round(AVERAGE_RADIUS_OF_EARTH_KM * c));
}

Note that here we are rounding the answer to the nearest km.

0 votes
answered Jan 2, 2013 by taiseer-joudeh

Here is the implementation VB.NET, this implementation will give you the result in KM or Miles based on an Enum value you pass.

Public Enum DistanceType
    Miles
    KiloMeters
End Enum

Public Structure Position
    Public Latitude As Double
    Public Longitude As Double
End Structure

Public Class Haversine

    Public Function Distance(Pos1 As Position,
                             Pos2 As Position,
                             DistType As DistanceType) As Double

        Dim R As Double = If((DistType = DistanceType.Miles), 3960, 6371)

        Dim dLat As Double = Me.toRadian(Pos2.Latitude - Pos1.Latitude)

        Dim dLon As Double = Me.toRadian(Pos2.Longitude - Pos1.Longitude)

        Dim a As Double = Math.Sin(dLat / 2) * Math.Sin(dLat / 2) + Math.Cos(Me.toRadian(Pos1.Latitude)) * Math.Cos(Me.toRadian(Pos2.Latitude)) * Math.Sin(dLon / 2) * Math.Sin(dLon / 2)

        Dim c As Double = 2 * Math.Asin(Math.Min(1, Math.Sqrt(a)))

        Dim result As Double = R * c

        Return result

    End Function

    Private Function toRadian(val As Double) As Double

        Return (Math.PI / 180) * val

    End Function

End Class
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