Understanding Distance Calculators

Distance calculators are tools that calculate the distance that lies between at least two points on the map. You can decide on the distance unit you want to use, whether kilometers, meters or miles. You can typically just type in the names of the places whose distance you’d like to find out, and then click a button in order to get results. Postcodes and addresses may be used as well.

How Distance Calculators Work

Once you click the search button, a search will be performed to look for the place you have indicated. First off, a search will be made on an internal list of usual locations. If there is no match, the Google Maps API GlocalSearch feature will now be used. 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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As soon as a result is returned, you can get the URL so you can use it as a permanent link back to the page for your own reference, or to give it to other people who may 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 used by any geoprocessing tool that calculates distance.

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

Key Considerations

There may be multiple features that are equally closest to another feature. If this occurs, any of the equally closest features can be indiscriminately chosen as the closest. If one feature contains or is contained in another feature, their is 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 earlier noted, if a feature is contained inside a polygon, the distance between the feature and the containing polygon is calculated as zero. Whichever of two features (of any kind) is being measured to and from, their distance is always the same.

Basic Distance-finding Operations

Measuring distance depends on the geometry type of the features, as well as other factors like the coordinate system. However, three basic rules dictate how distance will be calculated. First, the distance that lies between two points is the straight line linking 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.