Line Segment Intersection

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//  public domain function by Darel Rex Finley, 2006



//  Determines the intersection point of the line defined by points A and B with the
//  line defined by points C and D.
//
//  Returns YES if the intersection point was found, and stores that point in X,Y.
//  Returns NO if there is no determinable intersection point, in which case X,Y will
//  be unmodified.

bool lineIntersection(
double Ax, double Ay,
double Bx, double By,
double Cx, double Cy,
double Dx, double Dy,
double *X, double *Y) {

  double  distAB, theCos, theSin, newX, ABpos ;

  //  Fail if either line is undefined.
  if (Ax==Bx && Ay==By || Cx==Dx && Cy==Dy) return NO;

  //  (1) Translate the system so that point A is on the origin.
  Bx-=Ax; By-=Ay;
  Cx-=Ax; Cy-=Ay;
  Dx-=Ax; Dy-=Ay;

  //  Discover the length of segment A-B.
  distAB=sqrt(Bx*Bx+By*By);

  //  (2) Rotate the system so that point B is on the positive X axis.
  theCos=Bx/distAB;
  theSin=By/distAB;
  newX=Cx*theCos+Cy*theSin;
  Cy  =Cy*theCos-Cx*theSin; Cx=newX;
  newX=Dx*theCos+Dy*theSin;
  Dy  =Dy*theCos-Dx*theSin; Dx=newX;

  //  Fail if the lines are parallel.
  if (Cy==Dy) return NO;

  //  (3) Discover the position of the intersection point along line A-B.
  ABpos=Dx+(Cx-Dx)*Dy/(Dy-Cy);

  //  (4) Apply the discovered position to line A-B in the original coordinate system.
  *X=Ax+ABpos*theCos;
  *Y=Ay+ABpos*theSin;

  //  Success.
  return YES; }


If you need to find out only when (and where) the line segments intersect, you can modify the function as follows:


//  public domain function by Darel Rex Finley, 2006



//  Determines the intersection point of the line segment defined by points A and B
//  with the line segment defined by points C and D.
//
//  Returns YES if the intersection point was found, and stores that point in X,Y.
//  Returns NO if there is no determinable intersection point, in which case X,Y will
//  be unmodified.

bool lineSegmentIntersection(
double Ax, double Ay,
double Bx, double By,
double Cx, double Cy,
double Dx, double Dy,
double *X, double *Y) {

  double  distAB, theCos, theSin, newX, ABpos ;

  //  Fail if either line segment is zero-length.
  if (Ax==Bx && Ay==By || Cx==Dx && Cy==Dy) return NO;

  //  Fail if the segments share an end-point.
  if (Ax==Cx && Ay==Cy || Bx==Cx && By==Cy
  ||  Ax==Dx && Ay==Dy || Bx==Dx && By==Dy) {
    return NO; }

  //  (1) Translate the system so that point A is on the origin.
  Bx-=Ax; By-=Ay;
  Cx-=Ax; Cy-=Ay;
  Dx-=Ax; Dy-=Ay;

  //  Discover the length of segment A-B.
  distAB=sqrt(Bx*Bx+By*By);

  //  (2) Rotate the system so that point B is on the positive X axis.
  theCos=Bx/distAB;
  theSin=By/distAB;
  newX=Cx*theCos+Cy*theSin;
  Cy  =Cy*theCos-Cx*theSin; Cx=newX;
  newX=Dx*theCos+Dy*theSin;
  Dy  =Dy*theCos-Dx*theSin; Dx=newX;

  //  Fail if segment C-D doesn't cross line A-B.
  if (Cy<0. && Dy<0. || Cy>=0. && Dy>=0.) return NO;

  //  (3) Discover the position of the intersection point along line A-B.
  ABpos=Dx+(Cx-Dx)*Dy/(Dy-Cy);

  //  Fail if segment C-D crosses line A-B outside of segment A-B.
  if (ABpos<0. || ABpos>distAB) return NO;

  //  (4) Apply the discovered position to line A-B in the original coordinate system.
  *X=Ax+ABpos*theCos;
  *Y=Ay+ABpos*theSin;

  //  Success.
  return YES; }
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