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How do I find a (longitude, latitude) point (any will do) on a circle where the only info I have is a (longitude, latitude) center point, and a radius measured in Feet (ft.)?

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I am not sure what (lat, lon) means for a point off the circle. –  BBischof Sep 24 '10 at 17:55
    
(latitude, longitude) –  Christopher Perry Sep 24 '10 at 18:02
    
From Wikipedia "The latitude is approximately the angle between straight up at the surface (the zenith) and the noonday sun when it is at the equinox." and the long is defined similarly. So the center would be undefined. This is why I am confused. –  BBischof Sep 24 '10 at 18:27
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Depending on what type of answer you are looking for, this might do better on the GIS.se site. –  4 2 Sep 24 '10 at 18:37

1 Answer 1

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Assuming you are using a spherical model of the earth, a simple way is to proceed due north or due south, for then each degree of latitude has a constant length (with value extremely close to 10000000/90 meters, because the French revolutionaries originally defined the meter as 10^-7 times the distance from the equator to the North Pole along the Paris meridian!). For large radii or points close to poles you will have to adjust the latitude appropriately to account for passing over the pole (and add 180 degrees to the longitude).

For example, starting at (lon, lat) = (-90, 40) with a radius of 10,000 feet, you would convert that to 10,000 / (39.37/12) = 3048.006 meters, then convert that to 3048.006 * 90 / 10000000 = 0.0274321 degrees, landing you at (-90, 40.0274321). (Notice I write the longitude first, because it's the horizontal coordinate.)

If you need more accuracy, don't look up the approximate spherical radius of the earth: use the geoid appropriate for the datum of your coordinates. Appropriate formulae appear in books on geodesy and earth projections. A good resource is the USGS Professional Paper 1395, Map Projections--A Working Manual, by John Snyder.

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