If you frequently use Google Maps, you might have seen some random code written on the description pages of different locations. These are known as Plus Codes, and they are designed to make our lives easier.
What is a Plus Code?
Google first created plus codes back in 2014. The free-to-use geocoding system formally known as Open Location Code was added to Google Maps in 2015. Now, Google has brought the system to its Indian users.
Plus Codes provide an easy way to identify almost any place that exists on the earth, irrespective of the country or region. It is so because the open location code system is based on the existing latitude and longitude system which uses a grid to divide areas into small tiles forming a grid. A unique code is assigned to each of the tiles.
Remembering the plus code for an area is much simpler than burning your brain circuits while recalling the satellite coordinates. A complete plus code (also referred as global code) contains ten characters in total, with a ‘+’ character before the last two characters. Now, you might have guessed why it’s called a ‘plus code.’
For a given plus code, the first four characters narrow down the area search to a grid of around 100 x 100 kilometers. The remaining 6-character code can help a person pin down to your exact location. It describes the area roughly of the size of a half basketball court, around 14 x 14 meters. An additional accuracy of up to 3 x 3 meters can be achieved.
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You don’t need to use the first four digits of a plus code if you’re not searching an international location or someplace far off. The local code in such cases is combined with nearest city or town to make it simpler. For instance, if the place you want to find is a few kilometers away from London, you can use the local code of that place together with the city’s name, i.e. London.
Why Plus Code?
Other than making things more comfortable, there are many benefits offered by plus codes. For instance, an active internet connection isn’t required while encoding and decoding plus codes. So, you can find a place even when you’re running offline mode.
Also, plus codes are not limited to computers and internet. A plus code grid can be printed on a paper and used without the need for an electronic device.
How to find a Plus Code on Google Maps?
Finding Plus Codes in Google Maps is not some rocket science. In fact, you might have already seen it many times but didn’t pay attention.
In Google Maps, open the ‘More Info’ page of any place, restaurant, building, etc. Scroll down to find the plus code for the location. What makes things even simpler is that you can tap the plus code to copy it to the clipboard. Then you can paste it anywhere you want.
To find the plus code of a random location on the earth, tap and hold that location to drop a pin. Tap more info to display the plus code for that location. Similar way, you can know the plus code for your home or work.
How to use a plus code in Google Maps?
If one of your friends has shared a plus code, you can look for the place it represents by typing it in the Google Maps search bar or Google Search. The exact location tied to that plus code will be displayed on the screen, along with other available information.
So, this way you can use plus code to search and find places in Google Maps. However, being open source, plus codes aren’t limited to Google Maps. It isn’t a big deal for developers to includes them in their apps that use location services.