I am already using proj4j in my project to convert between different coordinate reference systems. (Internally I use WGS84 but some sources supply data in a different CRS.)

Now I need to calculate the distance between two points in meters and am wondering if (and how) that is possible with PROJ4J. (Just in case: my use case is limited to a maximum distance of around 100 km.)

I have come across org.osgeo.proj4j.util.ProjectionMath#greatCircleDistance(double, double, double, double), but that class is not documented at all. What CRS and unit does that method expect for the latitude/longitude values? And what is the unit for the result?

1 Answer 1


This function implements the Haversine formula (see the source code here - it is indeed not documented).

The input parameters are geographical coordinates (double lon1, double lat1, double lon2, double lat2) in radian. It returns a coefficient which should be multiplied by the earth radius to become a distance.

So, use for example:

double distanceInMeters = 6378137 * ProjectionMath.greatCircleDistance(lon1 * Math.PI/180, lat1 * Math.PI/180, lon2 * Math.PI/180, lat2 * Math.PI/180);

to get a distance in meters.

  • 1
    Thanks! Looking at the source code, I see that lat/lon args are used as input to Math.sin() and Math.cos(). So I assume they need to be in radians, using any spherical coordinate system (including WGS84), correct?
    – user149408
    May 26, 2020 at 22:47
  • Oh, yes, good point I forgot: These angles have to be in radian !
    – julien
    May 27, 2020 at 5:21
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    Very useful reference to the source code. I got excellent results using the average WGS radius: Public Const WGSSEMIMAJOR As Double = 6378137.0 ' Equator Public Const WGSSEMIMMINOR As Double = 6356752.314245 ' Poles Public Const WGSRADIUS As Double = (WGSSEMIMAJOR + WGSSEMIMMINOR) / 2 Aug 19, 2022 at 16:20

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