A common use case with PostGIS data is to calculate things, such as distances between points, lengths of lines, and the area of polygons. The topic of accuracy, or inaccuracy, with
GEOMETRYdata comes up often. The most frequent offenders are generic SRIDs such as 3857 and 4326. In some projects accuracy is paramount. Non-negotiable. On the other hand, plenty of projects do not need accurate calculations. Those projects often rely on relationships between calculations, not the actual values of the calculations themselves. If Coffee shop Y is 4 times further away than Coffee shop Z. I’ll often go to Coffee shop Z just based on that.
In most cases, users should still understand how significant the errors are. This post explores one approach to determine the how accurate (or not!) the calculations of a given SRID are in a particular region, based on latitude (North/South). The queries used in this post can be adjusted for your specific area.
Click through to see how much the choice of SRID can impact your results.