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Understanding Distance Calculators

Distance calculators are instruments that calculate the distance that separates two or more 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. 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, a search will be done on an internal list of common locations. If you get no match, the search will now be made with the use of 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. Although distance calculations can always be done no matter the coordinate system used, the results can be inaccurate or even insignificant when data is in a geographic coordinate system or a wrongly selected projected coordinate system.

Important 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. When a feature contains or is contained in another feature, their distance is automatically zero. A distance of zero is calculated in a scenario where there is at least one x,y coordinate shared between them.

Therefore, when two features cross, intersect, touch or overlap, the distance is zero. Distance is always based on the a polygon feature’s outer edges instead of 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

Determining distance relies on the geometry type of the features, and also on other factors such as 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. Finally, determining the distance between polylines are segment vertices.