What is a Plus Code?
Formally known as Open Location Codes, Plus Codes are the next step in geolocation technology. The 10-character codes, which are accompanied by a plus sign, allow users to find the exact location of the destination they desire and therefore avoid the troubles of nameless streets and buildings.
A Plus Code allows places that have no official address to have a means of being identified on Google Maps and therefore allows users to receive directions there. This helps those living on unnamed streets to stay connected to the things a lot of us take for granted. Research from the World Bank states that half of the world’s population live on unnamed streets and therefore makes receiving mail, getting transportation and even disaster relief harder than it should be.
Plus codes therefore gives everywhere an address and in turn allow businesses and individuals to share their address no matter where they live.
How do Plus Codes work?
The Plus Code is based on the existing latitude and longitude of a location. Previously on Google Maps, there was coordinates which were used to describe a location however, they could be considered ‘lengthy’ and therefore hard to remember. With Plus Codes these coordinates are now condensed into a shorter more memorable collection of characters which are separated into two parts; An ‘area code’ and a ‘local code’.
The area code is represented by the first four characters of the code. This will represent a region of about 100km2.
The local code is made up of the last six characters and represents a location of about 14km2. This helps locate the specific place the user is trying to find, with each location having a unique local code.
The system works by using the area code to locate the wider region and then using the local code to identify the exact location you are searching for. An additional character can also be used to add more precision and takes the search from 14km2 to 3m2, therefore providing an extremely accurate way of finding a location.
How do I find a Plus Code?
Finding a plus code for a location is easy. Simply type the place you would like a code for in on google maps and view the code in the more information presented about the place.
You can also visit https://plus.codes/map/ to find your Plus Code.
How to use Plus Codes?
Plus Codes are very useful, whether you’re sharing your home or a meeting place. They allow whoever you’re sharing the code with to receive directions directly to the place the code relates to instead of having to describe the route yourself or point out qualities about the area which may help such as landmarks.
Finding a location by Plus Code can be achieved in two simple steps. You start by opening google maps, then simply enter the 10 characters into the engine. If you know you are near a place the area code is not needed and therefore you can enter just the local code on its own or pair the local code with the town or city you are in.