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Distance Calculators: How They Work and How to Use Them

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. Usually, you can just type in the names of the places whose distance from each other you’d like to know, and then click some button to show results. As well, you can use postcodes and addresses.

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 you still get no results, then you will have to click the specific location of the area on the map. This will show you the distance between the two points, and the location will also be stored in the internal database so that it can be located when somebody searches for it in the future.
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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 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.

Distance measurements are most exact when the input data is in an equidistance projected coordinate system. Distance may always be computed no matter what coordinate system is used, but the results may not be reliable or even meaningless if the data is in a geographic coordinate system or an incorrectly selected projected coordinate system.

Significant Considerations

Several features can be equally closest to another feature. In this case, any of the equally closest features will be picked randomly as the closest. When a feature contains or is contained in another feature, their distance is automatically zero. Two features with at least one x,y coordinate shared, will have a distance of zero.

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

Measuring distance depends on the geometry type of the features, as well as other factors like the coordinate system. But there are three core rules for determining how distance is to be calculated. First, the distance between two points is the straight line that connects the points. Second, distance from one point to one line can be the perpendicular vertex or the closest vertex. Third and last, segment vertices determine the distance between polylines.