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Finding the Distance between longitude and latitude pairs

by cacharbe (Curate)
on Mar 07, 2002 at 16:37 UTC ( #150054=sourcecode: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??
Category: Miscellaneous
Author/Contact Info Chuck Charbeneau (cacharbe)
Description: A while back my younger sister asked me to help her with homework from her college trig course. She had to solve a Great Circle Distance problem. After showing her the steps, it got me to thinking, and then reading, and then finally coding. What I found was quite interesting, and from that research spawned an application to find the distances between to corporate locations from their zip codes that I implemented on our intranet.

There are actually a couple of different methods for determining the distance between 2 long/lat pairs and you need to be aware of the accuracy of each. The Great Circle method is the least accurate IIRC, but is the most accessible, as it is a part of Math::Trig. I wrote some code to do this using the various methods. As I mentioned, it finds the distances between two zip codes for which the long/lat pairs are known, but I've removed the database interface for brevity and just given the pertinent code. You should also read: this, this and (my favorite) this article.

I was pretty explicit in my code so that my non-programming sister could understand it when I showed it too her to explain the different algorithms, but I think it gets the point across.


use strict;
use Math::Trig qw(deg2rad pi great_circle_distance asin acos);

## Distances are in Miles ##
my ($lat1, $long1);
my ($lat2, $long2);

print "Haversine   : ". &Haversine($lat1, $long1, $lat2, $long2) ."\n"
print "Law Cosines : ". &LawCosines($lat1, $long1, $lat2, $long2)."\n"
print "Flat-Earth  : ". &FlatEarth($lat1, $long1, $lat2, $long2) ."\n"
print "Great Circle: ". &GreatCircle($lat1, $long1, $lat2, $long2)."\n

sub LawCosines {
my ($lat1, $long1, $lat2, $long2) = @_;
my $r=3956;

  my $dist = acos(sin(deg2rad($lat1))*
                cos(deg2rad($long2)- deg2rad($long1))) 
                * $r;
  return $dist;


sub FlatEarth {
    my ($lat1, $long1, $lat2, $long2) = @_;
    my $r=3956;

    my $a = (pi/2)- deg2rad($lat1);               
    my $b = (pi/2)- deg2rad($lat2);
    my $c = sqrt($a**2 + $b**2 - 2 * $a *$b
    my $dist = $c * $r;

return $dist;


sub Haversine {
  my ($lat1, $long1, $lat2, $long2) = @_;
  my $r=3956;

  $dlong = deg2rad($long1) - deg2rad($long2);
  $dlat  = deg2rad($lat1) - deg2rad($lat2);

  $a = sin($dlat/2)**2 +cos(deg2rad($lat1)) 
                    * cos(deg2rad($lat2))
                    * sin($dlong/2)**2;
  $c = 2 * (asin(sqrt($a)));
  $dist = $r * $c;               

return $dist;


sub GreatCircle {
my ($lat1, $long1, $lat2, $long2) = @_;
my $r=3956;
    my @zip1 = (deg2rad($long1), deg2rad(90-$lat1));
    my @zip2 = (deg2rad($long2), deg2rad(90-$lat2));
    my $dist = great_circle_distance(@zip1, @zip2,$r);

return $dist;


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•Re: Finding the Distance between longitude and latitude pairs
by merlyn (Sage) on Mar 07, 2002 at 19:24 UTC
      Also - WWW::MapBlast by Lee Goddard. He's going to be using some of my code shown above in his next release.


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