Decimal Degrees conversion and distance of two points on google map

Those two functions are usefull when you’re making Google Maps applications: When you show the coordinates of a point, it’s…

December 26, 2009

Those two functions are usefull when you’re making Google Maps applications:
When you show the coordinates of a point, it’s sometimes better to show them as degrees and not as deciaml (even if decimal is simpler). Each of the two coordinates can be converted with the same function. In the function call the “tipo” is the type of the “v” value: if you call the function without the type, then the default type is “N”, that means “NORTH”, it means that you’re converting a Latitude value (Latitude is the angular distance of a point north or south of the Equator). Values for latitude type are “N” for NORTH and “S” for SOUTH.
If you specify “E” or “W” than you’re converting a Longitude value (Longitude is the angular distance of a point east or west of the Greenwich Meridian).

function convertDecDeg(v,tipo) {
	if (!tipo) tipo='N';
	var deg;
	deg = v;
	if (!deg){
		return "";
	} else if (deg > 180 || deg < 0){
		// convert coordinate from north to south or east to west if wrong tipo
		return convertDecDeg(-v,(tipo=='N'?'S': (tipo=='E'?'W':tipo) ));
	} else {
		var gpsdeg = parseInt(deg);
		var remainder = deg - (gpsdeg * 1.0);
		var gpsmin = remainder * 60.0;
		var D = gpsdeg;
		var M = parseInt(gpsmin);
		var remainder2 = gpsmin - (parseInt(gpsmin)*1.0);
		var S = parseInt(remainder2*60.0);
		return D+"&deg; "+M+"' "+S+"'' "+tipo;

This function calculates distance with the Haversine formula, this formula assumes that our Earth is spherical, but it isn’t since it’s more like a big orange fruit also compresses at poles. I’ve read that this function has an error about + o – 3 meters (it depends), but it’s a small error for many purposes, I’ve used it on my google maps ruler:

function distance(lat1,lon1,lat2,lon2) {
	var R = 6371; // km (change this constant to get miles)
	var dLat = (lat2-lat1) * Math.PI / 180;
	var dLon = (lon2-lon1) * Math.PI / 180; 
	var a = Math.sin(dLat/2) * Math.sin(dLat/2) +
		Math.cos(lat1 * Math.PI / 180 ) * Math.cos(lat2 * Math.PI / 180 ) * 
		Math.sin(dLon/2) * Math.sin(dLon/2); 
	var c = 2 * Math.atan2(Math.sqrt(a), Math.sqrt(1-a)); 
	var d = R * c;
	if (d>1) return Math.round(d)+"km";
	else if (d<=1) return Math.round(d*1000)+"m";
	return d;


I'm a software engineer, an everyday web developer and a maker. I usually build sites with PHP, within or without WordPress. I build Internet of Things with Arduino and ESP8266. I'm the founder of and and I'm actually the Chief Technical Officer of Better Days web agency.

Comments on “Decimal Degrees conversion and distance of two points on google map”

3 thoughts

  1. bob says:

    “var c = 2 * Math.atan2(Math.sqrt(a), Math.sqrt(1-a));” can be simplified to “var c = 2 * Math.asin(Math.sqrt(a));”

  2. wiwi says:


  3. k says:


Comments are closed


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