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Index › Point to line distance
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 Point to line distance (Read 3674 times)
 hansi Point to line distance Jun 15th, 2010, 4:34pm   When calculating the point to line distance you'll mostly find equations that give the perpendicular distance to an infinitely long line, like this here: http://www.intmath.com/Plane-analytic-geometry/Perpendicular-distance-point-line...I really needed to find the distance to a line segment, which involved some matrix fun. Here's my solution, in case anyone needs something similar: Code:```// press space to reset// click for randomness// drag to movefloat x1; float y1; float x2; float y2; int index = 0; void setup(){  size( 600, 600 );  smooth();  textFont( loadFont( "SansSerif-12.vlw" ) );    x1 = width/2 - 100;  y1 = height/2;  x2 = width/2 + 100;  y2 = height/2;}void draw(){  background( 0 );    stroke( 255 );  line( x1, y1, x2, y2 );  fill( 255, 255, 0 );  noStroke();  ellipse( mouseX, mouseY, 10, 10 );    PVector result = getDistance( x1, y1, x2, y2, mouseX, mouseY );  stroke( 150 );  line( mouseX, mouseY, result.x, result.y );    stroke( 255 );  text( "The distance to the line is: " + result.z, 10, 10 ); }void mousePressed(){  x1 = 100+random(width-200);  y1 = 100+random(height-200); }void mouseDragged(){  x1 = mouseX;  y1 = mouseY; }void keyPressed(){  x1 = width/2-100;  y1 = height/2; }/** * Returns a point on the line (x1,y1) -> (x2,y2) * that is closest to the point (x,y) * * The result is a PVector. * result.x and result.y are points on the line. * The result.z variable contains the distance from (x,y) to the line, * just in case you need it :) */PVector getDistance( float x1, float y1, float x2, float y2, float x, float y ){  PVector result = new PVector();    float dx = x2 - x1;  float dy = y2 - y1;  float d = sqrt( dx*dx + dy*dy );  float ca = dx/d; // cosine  float sa = dy/d; // sine    float mX = (-x1+x)*ca + (-y1+y)*sa;    if( mX <= 0 ){    result.x = x1;    result.y = y1;  }  else if( mX >= d ){    result.x = x2;    result.y = y2;  }  else{    result.x = x1 + mX*ca;    result.y = y1 + mX*sa;  }    dx = x - result.x;  dy = y - result.y;  result.z = sqrt( dx*dx + dy*dy );    return result;   } ```You'll only need the bottom half of the code, the top is just to illustrate how to use it. Edited: code is a little more compact nowEdited: removed the calculation of mY, it's never used and just wastes time « Last Edit: Jun 18th, 2010, 10:09am by hansi »
 Smitty Re: Point to line distance Reply #1 - Jun 15th, 2010, 6:42pm   Nice work, hansi.  These geometric things are always tricky, and it can be tough to get a good result for something like this when there are multiple cases to consider (e.g., closest point at one end of the segment vs. somewhere in the middle).A few suggestions for making the code a little smaller and perhaps optimizing a bit:First, you can make the following changes at the start of getDistance() (old code commented out) Code:```  //float dx = abs( x1 - x2 );  //float dy = abs( y1 - y2 );  float dx = x2 - x1;  float dy = y2 - y1;  float d = sqrt( dx*dx + dy*dy );  //float a = atan2( y2 - y1, x2 - x1 );  //float ca = cos( a );  //float sa = sin( a );  float ca = dx/d;  float sa = dy/d;  float mX = (-x1+x)*ca + (-y1+y)*sa;  float mY = (-y1+y)*ca + ( x1-x)*sa; ```Running dx and dy through abs() is unnecessary, since you're squaring them anyway when you find d.  And calculating them this way lets you skip the trig calls, which will save you a lot of time, and just compute ca and sa in one step.Second, you can save some space in the if-else tree at the end by taking the distance calculation out, like this: Code:```  if( mX <= 0 ) {    result.x = x1;    result.y = y1;  }  else if ( mX >= d ) {    result.x = x2;    result.y = y2;  }  else {    result.x = x1 + mX*ca;    result.y = y1 + mX*sa;  }    dx = x - result.x;  dy = y - result.y;  d = sqrt( dx*dx + dy*dy );  result.z = d; ```This might be a little bit slower for the case where the closest point is between the endpoints, since you'll be doing a square-root calculation instead of just an abs(), but I think it's a worthwhile tradeoff to make the code shorter and easier to understand and maintain.
 hansi Re: Point to line distance Reply #2 - Jun 16th, 2010, 2:16am   hey smitty! thanks for the suggestions, i've already updated the code. it was two in the morning yesterday and i really couldn't be bothered to go through the code again after i had it working ... h,-
 Smitty Re: Point to line distance Reply #3 - Jun 16th, 2010, 8:12am   hansi wrote on Jun 16th, 2010, 2:16am:thanks for the suggestions, i've already updated the code. it was two in the morning yesterday and i really couldn't be bothered to go through the code again after i had it working ... Believe me, I know that feeling!    Glad I could help.Two other things that occurred to me about this part: Code:``` float dx = x2 - x1; float dy = y2 - y1; float d = sqrt( dx*dx + dy*dy ); float ca = dx/d; float sa = dy/d; float mX = (-x1+x)*ca + (-y1+y)*sa; float mY = (-y1+y)*ca + ( x1-x)*sa; ```First, if you made all the changes I suggested, then you no longer need mY, so you can leave that out.Second, the variables dx, dy, d, ca, and sa depend only on the endpoints of the line (x1, x2, y1, y2), not on the point (x, y), so you can save time by calculating them when you set a new line, and then re-use the same values until you change the location of the endpoints.  So, for example: Code:```// after setting a new x1, x2, y1, y2:PVector point1 = new PVector(x1, y1, 0);PVector lineUnit = new PVector(x2 - x1, y2 - y1, 0);float d = lineUnit.mag();lineUnit.normalize(); ```This uses d to store the length of the line.  The normalize() method shortens or lengthens lineUnit to a length of 1, pointing in the same direction--so afterwards, lineUnit is simply [cos(a), sin(a), 0] where a is the angle the line points (from point 1 to point 2).Then you can change getDistance() to work something like this: Code:```PVector getDistance(float x1, float x2, PVector lineUnit, float d, float x, float y) { float ca = lineUnit.x; float sa = lineUnit.y; // proceed as before...} ```
 hansi Re: Point to line distance Reply #4 - Jun 18th, 2010, 10:43am   hey smitty! thanks again for suggestions, i removed mY completely. as for your other suggestion about pre-calculating distance+cos/sin: this definitely makes sense if one always checks against a static set of lines, but also means more work before the function call can happen. i think the current version is a good trade-off between ease of use and speed. so for completeness: here's a version that is totally crazy fast as long as your lines rarely change. i put the whole thing into a class cause i'm not a big fan of having many variables flying around. Code:```// press space to reset// click for randomness// drag to moveLine myLine; void setup(){  size( 600, 600 );  smooth();  textFont( loadFont( "SansSerif-12.vlw" ) );    myLine = new Line( width/2 - 100, height/2, width/2 + 100, height/2 ); }void draw(){  background( 0 );    stroke( 255 );  myLine.draw();  fill( 255, 255, 0 );  noStroke();  ellipse( mouseX, mouseY, 10, 10 );    PVector result = myLine.getDistance( mouseX, mouseY );  stroke( 150 );  line( mouseX, mouseY, result.x, result.y );    fill( 255 );  text( "The distance to the line is: " + result.z, 10, 10 ); }void mousePressed(){  myLine.x1 = 100+random(width-200);  myLine.y1 = 100+random(height-200);  myLine.update(); }void mouseDragged(){  myLine.x1 = mouseX;  myLine.y1 = mouseY;  myLine.update(); }void keyPressed(){  myLine.x1 = width/2-100;  myLine.y1 = height/2;  myLine.update(); }//////////////////////////////////////////////class Line{  // where does the line start/end?  public float x1, x2, y1, y2;    // some happy math variables  private float dx, dy, d, ca, sa, mx, dx2, dy2;    // we use this to store the result,  // so if you want to store the result and calculate again  // you should do  // PVector mine = new PVector();  // mine.set( line.getDistance( mouseX, mouseY ) );  private PVector result;    public Line( float x1, float y1, float x2, float y2 ){    this.x1 = x1;    this.y1 = y1;    this.x2 = x2;    this.y2 = y2;    result = new PVector();    update();  }    /**   * Call this after changing the coordinates!!!   */  public void update(){    dx = x2 - x1;    dy = y2 - y1;    d = sqrt( dx*dx + dy*dy );    ca = dx/d; // cosine    sa = dy/d; // sine  }    /**   * Returns a point on this line   * that is closest to the point (x,y)   *   * The result is a PVector.   * result.x and result.y are points on the line.   * The result.z variable contains the distance from (x,y) to the line, just in case you need it :)   */  PVector getDistance( float x, float y ){    mx = (-x1+x)*ca + (-y1+y)*sa;        if( mx <= 0 ){      result.x = x1;      result.y = y1;    }    else if( mx >= d ){      result.x = x2;      result.y = y2;    }    else{      result.x = x1 + mx*ca;      result.y = y1 + mx*sa;    }        dx2 = x - result.x;    dy2 = y - result.y;    result.z = sqrt( dx2*dx2 + dy2*dy2 );        return result;    }    /**   * Draw it!   */  public void draw(){    line( x1, y1, x2, y2 );  }} ```obviously there are many more optimizations one could go for, e.g. in my own project i don't even need the result.x/result.y variables so i threw them out alltogether and only return the distance.
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