[GRASS-user] v.distance anything to anything

Markus Metz markus.metz.giswork at gmail.com
Mon Oct 15 07:30:15 PDT 2012

On Mon, Oct 15, 2012 at 3:09 PM, Moritz Lennert
<mlennert at club.worldonline.be> wrote:
> On 13/10/12 15:51, Markus Metz wrote:
>> In GRASS7, v.distance can now calculate distances from
>> point,line,boundary,centroid,area to
>> point,line,boundary,centroid,area.
> So how does it calculate the distance between two lines (lines or
> boundaries) ? Between closest vertices ? What about lines that cross several
> other lines, or lines that cross each other at several points ?

For lines to lines, say line A to line B, it calculates shortest
distance of each vertex in A with each segment (not vertex) in B. So
far, this is the same like in the original version, results are
identical. Now if line A is a line or boundary, it calculates the
shortest distance of each vertex in B to each segment in A.
Additionally, it checks for intersections. In case of intersections,
the first intersection found is used and the distance set to zero.

For lines to areas, it behaves similar to the original version. If a
line is inside an area, the distance is set to zero. The first point
of the line inside the area is used as common point. The distance is
also set to zero if the line intersects with the outer ring or any of
the inner rings (isles), in which case the fist intersection is used
as common point.

For areas to areas, the module checks first for overlap or if one area
is (partially) inside the other area. This is computationally quite
intensive. If the outer rings of the two areas do not overlap, the
distance is calculated as above for lines to lines, treating the outer
rings as two lines. Again, the first point encountered falling into an
area is used as common point, or the first intersection point.

For anything else than points to lines, there can be several common
points with distance = zero, and the closest location could then be
several points or several lines or several areas (result of overlay).
For v.distance, I choose to select a single point, and not create an
overlay like v.overlay.

>> In GRASS 6, v.distance can calculate distances only from
>> point,centroid to point,line,boundary,centroid,area.
> AFAIK, this was due to the conceptual issue mentioned above. I think that
> the answer has to be clearly explained in the manual because they are not as
> straightforward. And a first rapid test shows that these issues seem to be
> problematic in your implementation:
> red: from features (quickly digitized test data available here:
> black: to features (roadsmajor and urbanarea from nc_spm_08)
> green: connecting lines between from and to feature

Thanks for testing! These issues should be fixed, at least conforming
to my explanation above, in r53401.

Markus M

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