Determining Distance between Two Cities
Date: 07/30/97 at 16:10:59 From: Danna Remen Subject: Equation for determining distance between 2 cities using longitude and latitude I need an equation to use in an application for a car dealership. When a dealer does not have the particular car that a customer wants, the dealer should be able to find out which dealerships in other cities have the car (using what we call a Car Locator), and how far away (in miles) each location is. I have tried doing this using what is apparently a faulty equation using longitude and latitude. All distances are in the thousands of miles, even between cities within the same state. Do you have anything that I can use?
Date: 07/31/97 at 09:00:09 From: Doctor Jerry Subject: Re: Equation for determining distance between 2 cities using longitude and latitude Hi Danna, Here's some information about calculating great circle distances, using latitude and longitude, and assuming the Earth is a sphere. I'll give the answer using spherical coordinates. It's quite easy to convert to latitude and longitude coordinates. In a right-handed coordinate system, let (x,y,z) be a point on a sphere of radius a. The spherical coordinates of (x,y,z) are (a,phi,theta), where phi is like latitude, but it is measured from the positive z-axis. The angle phi varies between 0 and pi. The angle theta is like longitude, but is measured from the positive x-axis (towards the positive y-axis). The angle theta varies between 0 and 2*pi. Suppose you have the spherical coordinates (a,phi,theta) of a point. The angle phi is like latitude, but it is measured from the positive z-axis. The angle phi varies between 0 and pi. The angle theta is like longitude, but is measured from the positive x-axis (towards the positive y-axis). The angle theta varies between 0 and 2*pi. Given (a,phi,theta), calculate the (x,y,z) coordinates from x=a*cos(theta)*sin(phi) y=a*sin(theta)*sin(phi} z=a*cos(phi). So, suppose you are given the points (a,phi_1,theta_1) and (a,phi_2,theta_2). The first thing to do is to calculate the rectangular coordinates r_1=(x_1,y_1,z_1) and r_2=(x_2,y_2,z_2) of these points. Letting alpha be the angle between the lines joining the center (0,0,0) of the sphere to r_1 and r_2, use the dot product of the vectors r_1 and r_2 to calculate alpha. You will find that alpha= arccos(r_1.r_2/a^2) = arccos(cos(phi_1)*cos(phi_2) +cos(theta_1-theta_2)*sin(phi_1)*sin(phi_2)). The great circle distance between r_1 and r_2 is d=a*alpha. -Doctor Jerry, The Math Forum Check out our web site! http://mathforum.org/dr.math/
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