proximity to a location polygon (Geozone)

Given a set of points (latitude/longitude) that make a location polygon, how would you determine the straight line distance between this polygon and  separate point (lat/long)?  In essence how do we calculate the proximity to the polygon?
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Assuming that the point is outside the polygon, the distance would be the minimum distance from the point to any line segment on the boundary of the polygon.
If the dot product between vector between the end points of a segment and the vector between the first endpoint and the separate point is between 0 and 1, then the closest point on the segment is between the end end points, otherwise it is one of the end points.

If the polygon is small enough that it can be approximated as flat, you can use planar geometry, otherwise, you can use spherical geometry.

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GIS/GPS Programming

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