# How to compute the distance between centroids and polygons?

Suppose I have an Excel spreadsheet with the latitude and longitude of the centroid of every county in the U.S. I want to know the shortest distance from each county to any part of Oklahoma (presumably, somewhere along the border). I then want this distance in this Excel spreadsheet as a new column.

Is this possible to do and how? I know next to nothing about GIS

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What tools do you have at hand? There are n ways to skin this cat. Let us know what tools you have, skills (GIS, Programming, etc), and we'll give you a good start. – OptimizePrime May 24 '12 at 19:55
@OptimizePrime Thank you for your quick response! Would that be easier to hash out over a chat forum here? – J G May 24 '12 at 20:06
Have you checked gis.stackexchange.com/questions/2/… – underdark May 24 '12 at 20:41
I understand how to do the distance between 2 coordinates. The problem -- as I wrote below -- is that I don't know how to do the distance between a county whose coordinates I know and the boundary of Oklahoma, whose coordinates I do not know. Perhaps it is possible to get those coordinates. – J G May 24 '12 at 20:51