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This answer will derive a simple, useful rule of thumb. Its analysis suggests that within any region of diameter a, the relative error when using a suitably well-chosen map projection to measure distances within that region will typically be a/(2R) or less, where R is the earth's radius. Since R is large (over 6 million meters or 4 thousand miles), ...


The correct answer would be when does it bothers you (depends on the application). If you want me to post curvature correction equations I will but generally the error introduced (in a survey) is small. For example in a 10km line the error would be around 6.8meters . But again when you are surveying an area you always apply curvature and refraction ...

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