Convex Hull Demonstration

CONVEX_HULL is a MATLAB library which reads a file containing the coordinates of a set of points in 2D, computes the convex hull of the points, and displays it.

The MATLAB program convhull ( ) is used to create the image. For practical calculations, convhull ( ) should be used. This program is designed instead to demonstrate the ideas behind a simple version of the convex hull algorithm in 2D, known as the gift wrapping algorithm.

It is intended to augment this program by including a function which computes and displays the convex hull one edge at a time. This has the advantage of displaying the logic behind the calculation.


convex_hull ( 'prefix' )


The computer code and data files described and made available on this web page are distributed under the GNU LGPL license.


CONVEX_HULL is available in a MATLAB version.

Related Data and Programs:

CG_LAB_TRIANGLES, MATLAB programs which deal with computational geometry and triangles;

GEOMETRY, a MATLAB library which performs geometric calculations in 2, 3 and M dimensional space.

POLYGON, a dataset directory which contains examples of polygons.

TRIANGULATE, a MATLAB program which triangulates a (possibly nonconvex) polygon, based on a C program by Joseph ORourke.


  1. Marc deBerg, Marc Krevald, Mark Overmars, Otfried Schwarzkopf,
    Computational Geometry,
    Springer, 2000,
    ISBN: 3-540-65620-0,
    LC: QA448.D38.C65.
  2. William Eddy,
    CONVEX, a dnew convex hull algorithm for planar sets,
    ACM Transactions on Mathematical Software,
    Volume 3, 1977, pages 411-412.
  3. Joseph ORourke,
    Computational Geometry in C,
    Second Edition,
    Cambridge, 1998,
    ISBN: 0521649765,
    LC: QA448.D38.

Source Code:

Examples and Tests:

EDDY is 20 points provided by William Eddy as a test case for his ACM TOMS Algorithm 523 for convex hulls.

ELLIPSOID1 is 200 points that lie on an ellipse;

ELLIPSOID2 is 1000 points that lie inside an ellipse.

GRAHAM is 11 points used by O'Rourke in a discussion of Graham's algorithm:

HAND is 59 points that outline a hand.

KN57 is 57 points which represent city locations in a traveling salesman problem.

STAR is 10 points which are the vertices of a star.

You can go up one level to the MATLAB source codes.

Last modified on 18 April 2011.