Distance Formula DefinitionIt might be an understatement to say that math is not everyone’s strongest subject, and there are many people who simply can’t deal in square roots, exponents, and multi-variable calculations. Luckily for those individuals, who may well be the majority of people on the planet, there are calculators such as the distance calculator which can measure the distance between two points on a plane. This saves a great deal of work and frustration for many people, especially those who are either not too skilled in mathematics or those who have simply had a few too many years between their last math class and their immediate need to calculate distance.
A Simple Calculator for a Decently Complex FormulaLet’s face it: Most people no longer do any kind of math without any kind of calculator. This luxury of modern life has made things quite a bit easier, but it has also made it harder to remember formulas and calculations when they are no longer a part of daily life — or even occasional life. This is where the distance calculator becomes quite essential. The calculator presents just a few simple fields to users who engage its web interface. Those fields are nicely styled, appropriately labeled, and they make the process easier to complete.
For reference, the equation below is used for distance calculation and it’s the exact formula employed by the distance calculator when a user has correctly filled out all of the relevant fields:
Distance = the square root of ( (X2 – X1)^2 + (Y2 – Y1)^2 )
Does that look familiar? It’s likely that this equation was last seen in an early algebra class by most of the people who will be requiring the use of the calculator itself. Given that formula, it might be tempting to simply plug in some numbers and do the work manually. That, however, would be a mistake, as the distance calculator can do the same task in a matter of seconds.
What to Have on Hand in Order to use the Distance CalculatorGenerally speaking, calculating distance requires both an X and Y value for the starting point and the end point. This is most often employed when using geographical coordinates like longitude and latitude. In more abstract applications, distance is simply calculated as the distance between two points within a typical grid or graph. In fact, that’s how most people learned the formula in their most basic algebra math courses.
To that end, the distance calculator application will require four pieces of information in order to produce an accurate result for the end user. Those pieces are as follows:
The X1 coordinate for the starting pointThe Y1 coordinate for the starting pointThe X2 coordinate for the final ending pointThe Y2 coordinate for the final ending pointThese are pretty basic requirements, and it’s as easy as finding the values and plugging them into the XTML form elements on the calculator’s website. For uses involving latitude and longitude, these values can be gleaned from any standard map or an online service like Google Maps, MapQuest, or Bing. For other, more abstract uses, consult the material where the coordinates are actually given.
An Easy Way to Save Paper, Ink, and TimeDetractors will note that doing manual calculations of distance is a great way to foster understanding of the equation and contribute to long-term retention of the actual formula and variables themselves. That’s fine, of course, but a little old-fashioned, as well. The distance calculator saves time, effort, and valuable space on paper, and that’s something that virtually everyone should be able to appreciate.
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How to Calculate Distance FormulaLet’s be honest – sometimes the best distance formula calculator is the one that is easy to use and doesn’t require us to even know what the distance formula formula is in the first place! But if you want to know the exact formula for calculating distance formula then please check out the “Formula” box above.