I am trying to calculate the distance using the ST_Distance function in the postgres database.

I am using following query:

SELECT ST_Distance(
  ST_GeogFromText('SRID=4326;POINT(52.3551151038034 4.87660185549649)')
  , ST_GeogFromText('SRID=4326;POINT(52.3549985339677 4.87622001617791)')

For this the distance is returned as 44.159975697 meters.

When I am comparing this value with other sources, for example Haversine formula explained in this post. The Haversine formula return the value as 0.0289913126501404, which is roughly 29 meters.

What am I doing wrong with my query here?

  • 1
    Just in case, did you checked that you didn't swap latitude and longitude when entering your coordinates ? ST_GeogFromText use WKT geometry so coordinates have to be POINT(longitude, latitude) – mgc Nov 11 '16 at 17:16
  • I would think if he swapped lat and long his calculated difference would be greater than 29 meters.. – Evan Carroll Nov 11 '16 at 17:27
  • 1
    mgc was right. He flipped the coords. I posted an answer – LR1234567 Nov 11 '16 at 19:17
  • @mgc, yes you are correct. I had by mistake swapped the lat-log values. Switching them back gives the correct result. – Ashish Gamit Nov 11 '16 at 20:33

You swapped the long, lat. Common mistake.

If you do this:

SELECT ST_Distance(
 ST_GeogFromText('SRID=4326;POINT(4.87660185549649 52.3551151038034 )')
, ST_GeogFromText('SRID=4326;POINT(4.87622001617791 52.3549985339677 )')

Answer is:

29.07032499 meters

You can even get closer to Havershine, by forcing the distance formula to use sphere instead of spheroid by passing in false for the optional use_spheroid arg (it defaults to true).

SELECT ST_Distance(
  ST_GeogFromText('SRID=4326;POINT(4.87660185549649 52.3551151038034 )')
, ST_GeogFromText('SRID=4326;POINT(4.87622001617791 52.3549985339677   )'), false);



Which is pretty close to your Havershine answer.


The Haversine formula assumes the earth is a perfect sphere whereas SRID 4326 is a better, more oddly shaped representation.

ST_Distance on SRID 4326 does not result in meters but rather degrees.

You'll need to choose a map projection with its measurement defined in meters (or feet) or cast into a geography.

here is another useful link: Why is result of ST_Area or ST_Distance in SRID 4326 so small

  • the points are in geography.. ST_Distance( geog, geog ) is not ST_Distance( geom, geom ) – Evan Carroll Nov 11 '16 at 17:57
  • In fact, the accept answer tells him to use Geography, which is exactly what Ashish is already doing with ST_GeogFromText – Evan Carroll Nov 11 '16 at 17:59
  • 1
    You are right, I glossed right over that! – kttii Nov 11 '16 at 17:59
  • @EvanCarroll that was some good research/information in the answer you deleted – kttii Nov 11 '16 at 19:35
  • I could bring it back in a different question if you thought it was helpful, but it didn't address the problem here. – Evan Carroll Nov 11 '16 at 21:50

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