zip_distance - Calculate the distance between two US ZIP codes with Lasso 8

The project zip_distance and its source files are hosted on GitHub.


zip_distance calculates the distance between two US ZIP codes using Lasso Professional 8 and MySQL using the Haversine formula.




zip_distance is a collection of methods.

[deg2rad] converts degrees to radians. Used by [calculate_distance].

[calculate_distance] calculates the distance in miles between two points on a sphere from their latitude and longitude using the Haversine formula.

[zip2latlong] accepts a United States ZIP code. Returns a map of keys and values. "lat" corresponds to the ZIP code latitude, "lon" to its longitude, and "errors" for errors that may occur.

Inputs are not validated because postal code databases from around the world have widely different formats and precision with geolocation. Validation should be added by the developer. Examples for US ZIP codes are provided in the source of the demo.


local('latlon1') = zip2latlong('95073');
local('latlon2') = zip2latlong('94103');

=> 58.68406933211648635051

Installation and Requirements

The repository contains collection of methods in the file zip_distance.lasso, an SQL file to build the table, and a directory zip_distance_demo containing the demo file index.lasso.

Install the file zip_distance.lasso where you think is best. Place it in either your Lasso Server's or Site's LassoStartup or LassoLibraries directory, restarting the appropriate scope as needed, or include it in the page that calls the methods. I recommend Lasso Site LassoStartup.

Create a MySQL database or reuse an existing one, setting up Lasso Security as necessary. In my opinion, it is better to avoid mucking around with Lasso Security and use the inline -host connection method for improved speed and less Lasso SiteAdmin configuration.

Load the file zip_codes.sql into your MySQL database. This will build the required table.

Copy the directory zip_distance_demo, and edit the file index.lasso to configure the necessary loading method and database connection variables. Save the file, then place it on your web server and load it in a web browser. Any configuration errors should be returned.

Notes and Acknowledgments

All ZIP code information was taken from the US Census Bureau's Gazetteer files.

You can use any other data file. There are numerous commercial and educational providers. Reference this discussion thread, Calculate Driving Distance. This thread includes a discussion about methods used to calculate distance. I am using the Haversine formula because it is less prone to error at short distances.

The Zip Code Database Project provided the data source.

Bil Corry suggested the Haversine formula (replacing the Law of Cosines in spherical geometry formula).

Jason Huck corrected my decimal precision syntax.

Did you like this article? Please send me a Gratipay, as little as 25¢ per week!

Updates, suggestions and comments regarding this article may be sent to Steve Piercy, [email protected] or comment using Disqus.

Written by Steve Piercy in Lasso on Mon, Aug 22, 2005.
Last modified: Sun, Jun 1, 2014
Tags: zip_distance, ZIP Code, distance, calculator, Lasso


comments powered by Disqus