This is documentation for Mathematica 7, which was
based on an earlier version of the Wolfram Language.
View current documentation (Version 11.2)


As of Version 7.0, SpheroidalDistance has been superseded by GeoDistance.
SpheroidalDistance[pt1, pt2]
gives the distance between points pt1 and pt2 on Earth using the spheroidal model of the planet.
  • A point pti is expressed as a pair of numbers {latitude, longitude}.
  • Each coordinate latitude and longitude can be given in degrees, or as {degrees, minutes}, or {degrees, minutes, seconds}.
  • A negative value for a coordinate indicates that the coordinate is South latitude or West longitude.
  • Distances are returned in kilometers.
  • Note that the model is an approximation formula that only employs machine-precision computation. It is fairly accurate to distances of up to 10000 kilometers on the standard model of Earth.
  • The following options can be given:
SemimajorAxis6378.14specify the length of the semimajor axis
Eccentricity0.081819specify the value of the eccentricity
  • With the setting SemimajorAxis->length the length of the semimajor axis in the spheroidal model is assumed to be length kilometers.
  • With the setting Eccentricity->v the eccentricity in the spheroidal model is assumed to be v.