There is tons off stuff around to do this for you. See for example opensource GIS. At work we used database extensions to prototype a "map based search" functionality. A user can look for features on a body, e.g. a certain crater on Mars. Another application is to draw a rectangle on a map and get all relevant measurements back. Because the extensions support different coordinate systems, projections etc. You can solve most geometry problems relatively easy. Are you already using some mySQL extension? The distance between two points sounds trivial to me. Like Limbic~Region already said if the distance is small, an approximation is good enough, i.e. use a straight line instead of an arc. In fact in my experience this is sufficient inmost cases.
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