I want to use GeoTools for working with gis data. I'm most concerned about distance calculations, not so much about drawing a map. What I still couldn't figure out is how to make distance calculations work smoothly on the WGS84 spheroid. As an example I want to calculate the distance (in meters) between two linestrings. The postgresql code would be

    ST_GeomFromText('LINESTRING(13.45 52.47,13.46 52.48)')::Geography,
    ST_GeomFromText('LINESTRING(13.00 52.00,13.1 52.2)')::Geography

The output is 38364.138314182

With geotools I would imagine something like

import org.geotools.geometry.jts.JTSFactoryFinder
import org.geotools.geometry.jts.WKTReader2,
import org.geotools.factory.Hints,
import org.geotools.referencing.crs.DefaultGeographicCRS

Hints hints = new Hints(Hints.CRS, DefaultGeographicCRS.WGS84)
GeometryFactory geometryFactory = JTSFactoryFinder.getGeometryFactory(hints)
WKTReader2 reader = new WKTReader2(geometryFactory)
Geometry g1 = reader.read('LINESTRING(13.45 52.47,13.46 52.48)')
Geometry g2 = reader.read('LINESTRING(13.00 52.00,13.1 52.2)')

Now the output is 0.442040722106004 which is the same as

    ST_GeomFromText('LINESTRING(13.45 52.47,13.46 52.48)'),
    ST_GeomFromText('LINESTRING(13.00 52.00,13.1 52.2)')

which is the euclidean distance in degrees. For points I can use the OrthodromicDistanceCalculator but not for lines. Plus, it is very inconvenient to specify that distance calculations should be based on WGS84 over and over again.

  • reproject your lines in to a better projection and proceed as you were with JTS.
    – Ian Turton
    Jan 7, 2015 at 12:42
  • @iant With a projection I get wrong distances or have to use very special projections for each area I'm in. This would be a lot of work with results worse than postgis. If that is the only way, geotools will fail my requirements.
    – stofl
    Jan 7, 2015 at 17:44
  • You could use the auto projections which match each area
    – Ian Turton
    Jan 8, 2015 at 8:41
  • That sounds like a possible fix. Could you please give a code example?
    – stofl
    Jan 8, 2015 at 10:43

1 Answer 1


Using the following code I can get an answer of 38355.3256m (which is probably close enough) - I imagine that with a more careful choice of central point a more "accurate" result might be obtained.

    Geometry g1 = reader.read("LINESTRING(13.45 52.47,13.46 52.48)");
    Geometry g2 = reader.read("LINESTRING(13.00 52.00,13.1 52.2)");
    CoordinateReferenceSystem auto = CRS.decode("AUTO:42001,13.45,52.3");
    MathTransform transform = CRS.findMathTransform(DefaultGeographicCRS.WGS84,
    Geometry g3 = JTS.transform(g1, transform);
    Geometry g4 = JTS.transform(g2, transform);
  • Thank you iant. I think that is sufficient for my purposes. I thought choosing an appropriate projection for each area I'm in would be much more work than that.
    – stofl
    Jan 8, 2015 at 13:04

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