Distance calculator

THEIS

Hi, Sincerely
Commercial Supporter
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Nov 27, 2017
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Hi,

I did not download/install the program, BUT it runs off Google maps so I would not depend on its' accuracy for anything other than messing around.
Google advises that the Google Maps Longitude and Latitude coordinates could be off by 15+/- meters. If you are calculating distance on an actual roadway Google has directly mapped via its' cars then the margin of error defaults back to standard GPS errors (area dependent) of 5+/- meters.

Sincerely,
Theis
 
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Skookum

Theory of Devolution
Belligerents
May 6, 2017
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I just used it, it was off by 26 yards at a mile.
 

Skookum

Theory of Devolution
Belligerents
May 6, 2017
1,839
2,077
119
Long or short? Thanks for the input.
It was short.

I have a place that has been verified by multiple lasers and multiple means, to be 1763 yards. The calculator gave 1,737 yards. I have no idea if this is a problem with every spot. I just tried it with this one because I am so absolutely sure of the distance.

There is a 7 degree down angle. I don't believe any of these satellite based programs account for slope when giving measurements. I would have to do the math to see what that straight line distance would be given the angle.

Edit: just did the math, if slope was the only issue, it would have come out to 1,749 yards.
 
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Magnumitis

Private
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Jul 30, 2018
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North central Arkansas
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It was short.

I have a place that has been verified by multiple lasers and multiple means, to be 1763 yards. The calculator gave 1,737 yards. I have no idea if this is a problem with every spot. I just tried it with this one because I am so absolutely sure of the distance.

There is a 7 degree down angle. I don't believe any of these satellite based programs account for slope when giving measurements. I would have to do the math to see what that straight line distance would be given the angle.

Edit: just did the math, if slope was the only issue, it would have come out to 1,749 yards.
This program used to have an elevation feature as an option which would basically lay out elevation under the map of two points as a bar graph. Unfortunately it has been removed. It was fairly accurate as I recall.
 

jasent

ELR junkie
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Jan 23, 2013
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deer park wa
If I can’t range it I use google earth and just walk it in.
My results have reflected skookums findings and it’s often just a touch short on distance
Not great for those first round hits but it works for this rock hunter
 
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PAYDIRT

Adair County Long Guns
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Oct 22, 2017
576
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N.E. Okla.
Distance Tool app. on my iPhone. I've checked many things to see how it compares to real measurements and I've been very surprised. Such as projects that I've worked on, mile sections, home plate to second base, football fields, warehouses that I knew what the floor space was. Just drop the pins and it's VERY close. Missed a mile section by 2 yards.
 
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Culpeper

"Goodbye, Rutten"
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Nov 25, 2006
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Roswell NM
Google Earth Pro, Android, and Chrome are spot on for ruler distances on my area. Also, from what I understand the closer you are in elevation above the ground the more accurate it may be. In other words close to visual pixel level or just high enough to identify references. Anyway, I'm glad they added the function for Android.
 
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Racer88

Firearms Pedant
Online Training Access
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Minuteman
Nov 10, 2018
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Recently, at a local range, my buddy and I wanted to run the Tall Target Test. Having an accurate distance is important, of course. The range sign said 100 yards. We measured it with a tape. It was 96 yards. Out of curiosity, I measured it with Google Maps. I was surprised at how accurate Google Maps was.... within 1.5 feet of the tape-measured distance! That comes to 99.5% accuracy. Not bad. And, part of that 0.5% discrepancy could be attributed to my mouse positioning.
 
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SIDS01

Private
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Feb 13, 2017
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Hi,

I did not download/install the program, BUT it runs off Google maps so I would not depend on its' accuracy for anything other than messing around.
Google advises that the Google Maps Longitude and Latitude coordinates could be off by 15+/- meters. If you are calculating distance on an actual roadway Google has directly mapped via its' cars then the margin of error defaults back to standard GPS errors (area dependent) of 5+/- meters.

Sincerely,
Theis
The clear sky consumer grade GPS location error is in the 5 meter range, but the distance measurement is considerably better. Accurately locating property lines or programming a GPS guided missile is subject to the 5 meter limitation. Measuring distances within a property are not. The Google Earth distance measurement is made from a series of scaled photographs. It's accuracy limitation is primarily the resolution of the photograph.

The standard 5 meter GPS error estimate also needs to be qualified. It can be a lot worse for several reasons, or down to about 1 meter on both ends. The noise error is only about 1 meter. The rest of it tends to be systematic, but time varying. If you take 2 clear sky measurements within an hour, the distance estimate error will be closer to 1 meter on each end than 5. If you set a waypoint when you place a permanent target and make distance estimates from your shooting position at a later date, it'll be closer to the 5 meter error. It can be a lot more than 5 meters if one end of your measurement is in a canyon and the satellites are obscured.

A GPS App on a cell phone may or may not be GPS. The least accurate method is estimating position from cell tower signal strength. I've had distance errors of over 150 yards on a 750 yard target from these apps. A better method uses time of flight for a signal to return from multiple cell towers with accurately known locations. Some newer phones have actual GPS chips in them.

My first real rangefinder was a 1600B, and the limitations of not having a LRF were obvious the first time I used it. When I started shooting real distance, I bought a PLRF15. Our 2200 yard target is a 20 minute drive followed by a 30 minute hike from the shooting positions. There isn't cell or internet service, so a LRF is really the only alternative if we move the shooting position. The same would apply for uncooperative targets.

Google Earth will work well for starting out if a 3D measurement is used or the look angle isn't significant and there are terrain features that have been there long enough and can be pinpointed.
 
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Eccentric

Walkin' Boss
Belligerents
Jun 4, 2017
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Northern California
Very interesting. This program was something that I wasn't aware of until a few minutes ago. Don't know how useful it'll be for me compared to rangefinder or milrad subtention data calculations............but it should be fun to play with regardless.
 
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