Calculate points with angle and distance from a centroid

Here is just a small r-script, which calculates the location of points around a centroid. I had problems with a dataset containing only the angle and the distance of the points and not their exact location. In my case the dataset represents a little forest survey with trees occurring in a given distance from the plots centroid.


bsp_sel # my plot data
trueCentroids = gCentroid(bsp_sel,byid=TRUE)



My Buffered plot and its centroid

# data structure:
# Species | Distance (in m) | Angle (in radians degree)
## For example
# Spruce | 20.5 | 66
centerPoint <- coordinates(trueCentroids)

# Function to calculate for instance the coordinates of the point in 20.5m by 66° from the coordinates of the centerpoint
retPoCordinates <- function(center,angle,distance){
x <- round(centerPoint[,1] + distance * cos(angle),0)
y <- round(centerPoint[,2] + distance * sin(angle),0)
result <-,y));names(result) <- c("x","y")

pp <- retPoCordinates(centerPoint,data$angle,data$distance) #Saves the coordinates of all trees in the variable pp
coordinates(pp) <- ~x+y
points(pp,col="green4",pch=19) # Add to plot
Plot with all trees around the centroid

Plot with all trees around the centroid

#If you want you could furthermore save your SpatialPoint Object as Esri shapefile. Use the tree species as attribute-table
#and the spatial projection from your first shape
spp <- SpatialPointsDataFrame(coords=coordinates(pp),$Species),proj4string=CRS(proj4string(bsp_sel)))
writeOGR(spp,"shapes","treepoints",driver="ESRI Shapefile",)

# Besides you could now calculate a distance matrix between the points or make a test for spatial aggregation and so on...


# ...

Go 4 it ! 😉


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About Martin Jung

PhD researcher at the University of Sussex. Interested in nature conservation, ecology and biodiversity as well as statistics, GIS and 'big data'
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