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Is there a way (preferably in Excel) to calculate the distance (based on lat, lon) between two lists of points?

My end goal would be, for example, to have a list of Starbucks and a list of McDonald's, and then show the nearest neighbor, if you will.

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  • I'm looking for minimum distance.
    – b-rad-b
    Commented Mar 4, 2014 at 16:54
  • By which unet, will return the distance?
    – Jeed
    Commented Apr 2, 2017 at 8:21
  • @Jeed Any unit would be fine, probably miles in this case.
    – b-rad-b
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 13:24

2 Answers 2

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Given a list of geographic coordinate pairs, you can implement the Haversine formula directly in Excel.


The simplest way to use this (or a more accurate, but I think it's not your case) formula consists into press Alt+F11 to open the VBA Editor, click Insert --> Module and then (copy and) paste e.g. the code kindly suggested by blah238.

Public Function getDistance(latitude1, longitude1, latitude2, longitude2)  
earth_radius = 6371  
Pi = 3.14159265  
deg2rad = Pi / 180  

dLat = deg2rad * (latitude2 - latitude1)  
dLon = deg2rad * (longitude2 - longitude1)  

a = Sin(dLat / 2) * Sin(dLat / 2) + Cos(deg2rad * latitude1) * Cos(deg2rad * latitude2) * Sin(dLon / 2) * Sin(dLon / 2)  
c = 2 * WorksheetFunction.Asin(Sqr(a))  

d = earth_radius * c  

getDistance = d  

End Function

There will be a new custom getDistance function (unit = kilometer) available in your spreadsheet which accepts four parameters, i.e. the two pairs of coordinates, as follow:

getDistance(latitude1, longitude1, latitude2, longitude2)

where latitude1, longitude1, latitude2, longitude2 should be replaced by their relative cell references.

enter image description here

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  • 3
    Direct link: codecodex.com/wiki/…
    – blah238
    Commented Mar 4, 2014 at 21:34
  • @blah238 Thanks for your suggestion. I've added a short how-to in order to make it working. Commented Mar 5, 2014 at 9:58
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    @afalciano Thanks for the walk through & code. My question though is what are the ultimate units from this equation? is it meters?
    – Kerry
    Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 1:11
  • @Kerry It's kilometers. Also, where the formula says "Sqr" it should be "Sqrt".
    – ddunn801
    Commented Jan 24, 2018 at 19:25
  • The unit of measure of distances is kilometers, just like the Earth radius. Commented Jan 26, 2018 at 11:49
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A more accurate way is to use Vicenty's formula. It is based on an ellipsoid instead of a sphere. However, the previous answer will do the job if you work in a city (differences can be neglected in your case). I've found an excel vb code here just in case.

Note that if you work in a city, using "bird flight" distances could be misleading. It would be better to use network distances. A compromise is to use "Manhattan distance"

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