The gdal_proximity.py description says:

The gdal_proximity.py script generates a raster proximity map indicating the distance from the center of each pixel to the center of the nearest pixel identified as a target pixel. Target pixels are those in the source raster for which the raster pixel value is in the set of target pixel values.

While, regarding Euclidean Distance, ArcGIS documentation says:

Conceptually, the Euclidean algorithm works as follows: for each cell, the distance to each source cell is determined by calculating the hypotenuse with x_max and y_max as the other two legs of the triangle. This calculation derives the true Euclidean distance, rather than the cell distance. The shortest distance to a source is determined, and if it is less than the specified maximum distance, the value is assigned to the cell location on the output raster.

Is there any real difference between these algorithms?

  • Lots of arc's heavy lifting is done with gdal.
    – mmann1123
    Commented Sep 1, 2020 at 16:31

1 Answer 1


As commented by @Matte:

Conceptually no , as the ArcGIS documentaion says. Both calculate the distance of the cell center. But usually you have different outputs from different tools and programs depending on number types, precision and rounding in the calculation process. To tell if this [matters] you can only try it out and see if the small deviations really concern.

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