Monte Carlo Simulation of Line-of-Sight Distance Measurements

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This Monte Carlo simulation of line-of-sight distance measurement is based on the small angle formula (SAF), which has two arguments: (1) measured width of a reference object, and (2) measured angular diameter of the reference object from the standpoint of the observer. In this example, the reference object is 5 feet in diameter; its measurement errors are normally distributed with a mean of 5 feet and 0.95 quantile of feet. The angular diameter of the reference object from the observer's standpoint is ; its measurement errors are triangularly distributed with limits of . One hundred pseudorandom argument sets based on those distributions are mapped to the SAF and scatter-plotted using their 0.9 ellipsoid quantile against a set of SAF results. The correlation plots indicate that these results are loosely correlated with the measured reference object width and highly correlated with the measured angular diameter.

Contributed by: Daniel G. Martinez (March 2011)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA




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