jwest jwest - 1 year ago 46
Javascript Question

Calculating the percent overlap of two polygons in JavaScript

Here's the problem: I have geoJSON and topoJSON files that give me the polygons for Census block groups and voting precincts. I'm trying to see by how much a given Census block group overlaps with a given precinct.

I've seen a couple examples of what I'm after in other languages—i.e. R and in some GIS tools—but I'm trying to write this as a Node.js script. A few questions:

  1. Is there an NPM module (I've done a fair amount of Googling, but I haven't found one) that can spit out the percent overlap?

  2. Is there an algorithm, or an exmaple written in another language, that I should know about (I've looked, but I haven't the foggiest where to begin) and that I could port to JavaScript?

  3. Failing these, can someone explain to me how I would go about thinking about creating an algorithm for this?

In the end, the final product would look something like this—imagining that I have arrays of precincts and blockgroups, and each one is an object with a geometry property that contains the polygon data for the precinct or block group, and also imagining that I have a function called
that, when passed two polygons spits out the percent overlap:

// Iterate over each precinct.
_.each( precincts, function ( precinct ) {

// Iterate over each blockgroup.
_.each( blockgroups, function ( blockgroup ) {

// Get the overlap for the current precinct and blockgroup.
var o = overlap( precinct.geometry, blockgroup.geometry );

// If they overlap at all...
if ( o > 0 ) {

// ...Add information about the overlap to the precinct.
blockgroup: blockgroup.id,
overlap: o




(I've seen this module, but that only gives if the polygons overlap, not by how much they do.)

Answer Source

To compute the overlapping percentage

  1. Compute the intersection of the two polygons

    Intersection = intersect(Precinct, Block)
  2. Divide the area of Intersection by the area of the parent polygon of interest.

    Overlap = area(Intersection) / area(Parent)
  3. It is a little unclear what you mean by the percent overlap. The parent polygon could be one of several possibilities

    a) area(Intersection) / area(Precinct)
    b) area(Intersection) / area(Block)
    c) area(Intersection) / area(Precinct union Block)

As for a javascript library, this one seems to have what you need Intersection.js

There's also the JSTS Topology Suite which can do geospatial processing in JavaScript. See Node.js examples here.