upoints is a collection of GPL v3 licensed modules for working with points on Earth, or other near spherical objects.
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upoints - Modules for working with points on Earth

Test state on master Current PyPI release Number of downloads from PyPI


At this point upoints only exists to assist the users who have been using it for years, I absolutely do not recommend its use to new users.

upoints is a collection of GPL v3 licensed modules for working with points on Earth, or other near spherical objects. It allows you to calculate the distance and bearings between points, mangle xearth/xplanet data files, work with online UK trigpoint databases, NOAA's weather station database and other such location databases.

Previous versions of upoints were called earth_distance, but the name was changed as it no longer reflected the majority of uses the packages was targeted at.


upoints's only strict requirements beyond the Python standard library are aaargh and lxml, and as such should run with Python 2.6 or newer [1]. If upoints doesn't work with the version of Python you have installed, drop me a mail and I'll endeavour to fix it.

The module has been tested on many UNIX-like systems, including Linux and OS X, but it should work fine on other systems too.

To run the tests you'll need nose2. Once you have nose2 installed you can run the tests with the following commands:

$ nose2 -v tests
[1]If you still use Python v2.5 only small changes are required, for example to the property definitions.


The simplest way to show how upoints works is by example, and here goes:

>>> from upoints import point
>>> Home = point.Point(52.015, -0.221)
>>> Telford = point.Point(52.6333, -2.5000)
>>> print("%d kM, with an initial bearing of %d°"
...       % (Home.distance(Telford), Home.bearing(Telford)))
169 kM, with an initial bearing of 294°

All the class definitions, methods and independent functions contain hopefully useful usage examples in the docstrings. The API documentation is built with Sphinx, and is available in doc/html/api/.

There is some accompanying text and examples for point.py, formerly edist.py, available in geolocation and path cross. More examples are available for xearth.py in xearth and path cross. Some background and more examples for trigpoints.py is online in Trigpointing and point.py. Usage examples for cities.py is available in Cities and cities.py. And finally, Pythons on a plane contains information on weather_stations.py.


I'd like to thank the following people who have contributed to upoints.


  • Cédric Dufour - edist.py's CSV import, and flight plan output
  • Thomas Traber - GPX support enhancements, Points filtering, and some cool usage scenarios

Bug reports


  • Kelly Turner - Xearth import idea, and copious testing
  • Simon Woods

If I've forgotten to include your name I wholeheartedly apologise. Just drop me a mail and I'll update the list!

API Stability

API stability isn't guaranteed across versions, although frivolous changes won't be made.

When upoints 1.0 is released the API will be frozen, and any changes which aren't backwards compatible will force a major version bump.


The modules assume the caller will take care of significant digits, and output formatting [2]. All results are returned with whatever precision your Python install or system generates; unintuitive float representation, rounding errors, warts and all.

The reasoning is simple, the caller should always know what is required and any heuristics added to the code would be just that -- guesses, which can and will be wrong.

The upoints modules do not take flattening in to account, as in calculations based in most populated areas of the earth the errors introduced by ignoring the earth's flattening are quite small. Future versions may change if the limitation becomes an issue in real use.

Although not really a limitation one should also be careful to use data sources that are based around the same datum, and even within two data sources that use the same datum you should make sure they use the same representations. It isn't unusual to find data sources from the USA that specify longitudes west of Greenwich as positive for example.

[2]A future release may include more standard output definitions, but there is no intention to add "magic" data mangling.


If you find any problems, bugs or just have a question about this package either file an issue or drop me a mail.

If you've found a bug please attempt to include a minimal testcase so I can reproduce the problem, or even better a patch!