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Re: Spherical trig application

  • Subject: [mg2242] Re: Spherical trig application
  • From: danl (Daniel Lichtblau)
  • Date: Wed, 18 Oct 1995 05:54:38 GMT
  • Approved:
  • Distribution: local
  • Newsgroups: wri.mathgroup
  • Organization: Wolfram Research, Inc.
  • Sender: daemon at ( )

(mail to <ui at> bounced)

In article <DGBJLI.MM8 at> Roger Uribe <ui at> writes:
> Given a roughly convex polygon on the Earth's surface - typically 1000
> miles "diameter" and 3 - 12 vertices. I need to know whether a given
> point is in it or not.  There are about 10,000+ such points to test so
> I need an effecient method.
> Any ideas, or know of any software that will do something like it.
> I guess defining the enclosing circle and discarding any points
> outside that would get rid of most of them.
> I don't want a lesson in spherical trig, I'm no expert but I know
> enough, it's the methods and short cuts I'm after.
> Thanks  Roger.

  I know nothing about sperical trig.
  You could try this. First, set up coordinates so that your region of  
interest lies in the first octant less the equator. From the diameter  
restriction, you know you can do this. You can now exclude any point with  
a negative coordinat. Now translate from the sphere to the plane by  
mapping (x,y,z) -> (x/z, y/z). Translate your region to the plane. Maybe  
use a pair of circles circumscribing/enscribiing your plane region to  
include/exclude points, and for the remaining points check a bunch of  
planar inequalities. The point is inside iff all chacks pass (if the  
region was actually convex).

  Daniel Lichtblau
  Wolfram Research

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