This is how Google plus codes work, a global and open source alternative to street addresses

Google summarizes in a very simple way what the plus codes are: an address for people or places that do not have it. The company has repeatedly claimed that the “next billion users” of the Internet will emerge in developing countries with diverse needs, such as locating their home locations.

google plus codes

In fact, according to a World Bank estimate that echoed from Mountain View, half of the world’s urban population lives in unnamed streets. That means that they cannot indicate where they live in a reasonably simple way with everything that can mean in so many areas. From this lack is born this open and global code system, applicable to any part of the world, with which to locate a specific place is much simpler.

The problem is particularly greater in countries like India, where the formats of residential addresses vary by regions, locations and even cases of use, hence Google has presented plus codes with special attention to this country, although functions in any corner of the planet.

How google plus codes work

The plus codes are short, simple and easy to use. They consist of an area code of four characters and a local code made up of four, a plus sign and two more characters, with a total of ten characters. In addition, they are based on latitude and longitude, which can be arranged in a grid and describe, as we said, each and every point on the planet.

The first four characters are, we said before, the area code. This identification comprises a region of approximately 100 x 100 kilometers. The next six characters, the local code, describe the neighborhood and the building, representing approximately 14 x 14 meters. The combination of both codes, which make up the global code, allow you to first locate a large area of the map and then an exact location within it.

In Google explain that if the location is in or near a city, the area code is not necessary. Likewise, in rural areas, even if the nearest town is 25 kilometers away, it is also not necessary since you can use the local code along with the name of the city. On the other hand, if more precision is required than that offered by the standard global code, an optional additional character can be used that represents an area of 3 x 3 meters, approximately the dimensions of a small vehicle.

The system, the work of a group of Google engineers, has been developed in open source. So anyone can see in detail how it works and develop their own applications for any purpose.

For the time being, the plus codes can be obtained through the latest update of the Google Maps application, by simply searching for a location, clicking on it and checking under the address, next to the coordinates, the appearance of its global code. From desktop, we can obtain it by adding to the Google Maps version for plus codes, plus.codes/map/.

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