theta = lon2 - lon1The resulting distance is in kilometers.
dist = acos(sin(lat1) × sin(lat2) + cos(lat1) × cos(lat2) × cos(theta))
if (dist < 0) dist = dist + pi
dist = dist × 6371.2
(The original Great Circle Mapper used a modified version of the geod program from the PROJ.4 cartography tools. This program uses an older, less-sophisticated algorithm developed by Paul Thomas of the USGS.)
First, in the example the locations for LAX and JFK are rounded to the nearest arc-minute of longitude and latitude, or 1/60th of a degree. The Great Circle Mapper uses data from the FAA which is accurate to 0.000001 degree.
Second, the formulae used in the example assume that Earth is a sphere.
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Copyright © 1996-2013
Karl L. Swartz.
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