# fitcircle¶

find mean position and great [or small] circle fit to points on a sphere.

## Synopsis¶

**gmt fitcircle** [ *table* ] **-L***norm* [ **-F***flags* ] [ **-S**[*lat*] ]
[ **-V**[*level*] ]
[ **-bi**binary ]
[ **-di**nodata ]
[ **-e**regexp ]
[ **-f**flags ]
[ **-g**gaps ]
[ **-h**headers ]
[ **-i**flags ]
[ **-o**flags ]
[ **-:**[**i**|**o**] ]

**Note:** No space is allowed between the option flag and the associated arguments.

## Description¶

**fitcircle** reads lon,lat [or lat,lon] values from the first two
columns on standard input [or *table*]. These are converted to
Cartesian three-vectors on the unit sphere. Then two locations are
found: the mean of the input positions, and the pole to the great circle
which best fits the input positions. The user may choose one or both of
two possible solutions to this problem. The first is called **-L1** and
the second is called **-L2**. When the data are closely grouped along a
great circle both solutions are similar. If the data have large
dispersion, the pole to the great circle will be less well determined
than the mean. Compare both solutions as a qualitative check.

The **-L1** solution is so called because it approximates the
minimization of the sum of absolute values of cosines of angular
distances. This solution finds the mean position as the Fisher average
of the data, and the pole position as the Fisher average of the
cross-products between the mean and the data. Averaging cross-products
gives weight to points in proportion to their distance from the mean,
analogous to the “leverage” of distant points in linear regression in the plane.

The **-L2** solution is so called because it approximates the
minimization of the sum of squares of cosines of angular distances. It
creates a 3 by 3 matrix of sums of squares of components of the data
vectors. The eigenvectors of this matrix give the mean and pole
locations. This method may be more subject to roundoff errors when there
are thousands of data. The pole is given by the eigenvector
corresponding to the smallest eigenvalue; it is the least-well
represented factor in the data and is not easily estimated by either method.

## Required Arguments¶

**-L***norm*- Specify the desired
*norm*as 1 or 2, or use**-L**or**-L3**to see both solutions.

## Optional Arguments¶

*table*- One or more ASCII [or binary, see
**-bi**] files containing lon,lat [or lat,lon; see**-:**[**i**|**o**]] values in the first 2 columns. If no file is specified,**fitcircle**will read from standard input.

**-F****f**|**m**|**n**|**s**|**c**- Normally,
**fitcircle**will write its results in the form of a text report, with the values intermingled with report sentences. Use**-F**to only return data coordinates, and append*flags*to specify which coordinates you would like. You can choose from**f**(Flat Earth mean location),**m**(mean location),**n**(north pole of great circle),**s**(south pole of great circle), and**c**(pole of small circle and its colatitude, which requires**-S**).

**-S**[*lat*]- Attempt to fit a small circle instead of a great circle. The pole will be constrained to lie on the great circle connecting the pole of the best-fit great circle and the mean location of the data. Optionally append the desired fixed latitude of the small circle [Default will determine the latitude].

**-V**[*level*] (more ...)- Select verbosity level [c].

**-bi**[*ncols*][**t**] (more ...)- Select native binary input. [Default is 2 input columns].

**-di***nodata*(more ...)- Replace input columns that equal
*nodata*with NaN.

**-e**[**~**]*“pattern”***|****-e**[**~**]/*regexp*/[**i**] (more ...)- Only accept data records that match the given pattern.

**-f**[**i**|**o**]*colinfo*(more ...)- Specify data types of input and/or output columns.

**-g**[**a**]**x**|**y**|**d**|**X**|**Y**|**D**|[*col*]**z**[+|-]*gap*[**u**] (more ...)- Determine data gaps and line breaks.

**-h**[**i**|**o**][*n*][**+c**][**+d**][**+r***remark*][**+r***title*] (more ...)- Skip or produce header record(s).

**-i***cols*[**+l**][**+s***scale*][**+o***offset*][,*...*] (more ...)- Select input columns and transformations (0 is first column).

**-o***cols*[,...] (more ...)- Select output columns (0 is first column).

**-:**[**i**|**o**] (more ...)- Swap 1st and 2nd column on input and/or output.

**-^**or just**-**- Print a short message about the syntax of the command, then exits (NOTE: on Windows just use
**-**). **-+**or just**+**- Print an extensive usage (help) message, including the explanation of any module-specific option (but not the GMT common options), then exits.
**-?**or no arguments- Print a complete usage (help) message, including the explanation of all options, then exits.

## ASCII Format Precision¶

The ASCII output formats of numerical data are controlled by parameters
in your gmt.conf file. Longitude and latitude are formatted
according to FORMAT_GEO_OUT, absolute time is
under the control of FORMAT_DATE_OUT and
FORMAT_CLOCK_OUT, whereas general floating point values are formatted
according to FORMAT_FLOAT_OUT. Be aware that the format in effect
can lead to loss of precision in ASCII output, which can lead to various
problems downstream. If you find the output is not written with enough
precision, consider switching to binary output (**-bo** if available) or
specify more decimals using the FORMAT_FLOAT_OUT setting.

## Examples¶

Suppose you have lon,lat,grav data along a twisty ship track in the file ship.xyg. You want to project this data onto a great circle and resample it in distance, in order to filter it or check its spectrum. Do the following:

gmt fitcircle ship.xyg -L2 gmt project ship.xyg -Cox/oy -Tpx/py -S -Fpz | sample1d -S-100 -I1 > output.pg

Here, *ox*/*oy* is the lon/lat of the mean from **fitcircle**, and
*px*/*py* is the lon/lat of the pole. The file output.pg has distance,
gravity data sampled every 1 km along the great circle which best fits
ship.xyg

If you have lon, lat points in the file data.txt and wish to return the northern hemisphere great circle pole location using the L2 norm, try

gmt fitcircle data.txt -L2 -Fn > pole.txt