A Spherical Geometry Calculator and Navigation Aid

Spheric does spherical geometry calculations on the Earth's surface.

Enter two points (or a whole series of them) and have the distance (or the cumulative distance) computed and expressed in units of your liking: miles, nautical miles, or kilometers. Define a great arc (the shortest line between two points) and a point, then have the distance between them computed. Or find an intersection of two great arcs.

Of course, azimuth calculations are also included: find an azimuth from one point to another, or, less trivially, find a point at a given distance and azimuth (range and bearing) from a given one.

In particular, two functions are quite difficult to find in any other program:

  • Geodesic distance and azimuth (geodesic line is the shortest path between two points on the Earth ellipsoid).
  • "Elliptic great arc distance", measured along a line drawn on an ellipsoid so that its projection on a sphere is a great circle arc.

The program stores a number of points on Earth and then allows you to refer to them by names. It will also accept data from an ASCII file (or write to one).

Various display and input formats are supported: deg/min/sec, decimal degrees, deg/min/fraction. (And yes, conversion from geographic to geocentric latitude, strangely omitted in quite a few programs of this kind, has not been forgotten about.)

Spheric does not use the common trigonometric formulae to do its calculations; instead, it performs them on three-dimensional, Earth-centered vectors. This provides greater speed (which may be not so important), but also, first of all, unmatched internal accuracy better than 0.1 m (of course, within the Earth model used). Actually, it may be the most accurate program of its kind, regardless of price (and this includes U.S. government contracts).

Most of the casual users will never need this program's power (although, of course, they may easily use it). Serious ones, however, will find it indispensable.

[Download] spheric.zip Spheric v1.20 (2004/03/18)
[Download] spheric-inst.exe The same version as a self-extracting archive.
Click here if you are still running Windows 3.1.
Click here to find Spheric/LX for DOS and HP 95/100/200LX Palmtops

Under Windows Vista, 7, and 8, Spheric may experience a problem when trying to save its configuration to disk: Windows (in its default, idiot-proof setup) does not allow an application to create or modify any files inside its own folder if it is nested inside Program Files or Program Files (x86). This limitation can be lifted by changing Windows settings, or Spheric can be simply installed elsewhere.

Note: Spheric registration keys are not currently available until further notice. If you used PayPal to procure a registration, please cancel the payment. When the full functionality is again available, a notification will be posted here.

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Posted 1997/03/10; last updated 2013/11/05 Copyright © 1997-2013 by J. Andrzej Wrotniak