Obtaining Latitude & Longitude

I use several techniques for getting the latitude and longitude of a location. It depends on what info I have available:

  • Geeky - requires some forethought, batteries, and sky. Use a GPS receiver (esp. something slick like a Bluelogger or Navizon) to store your waypoints and tracks.
  • Quick & easy - if you're in the US, use a geocoder, like geocoder.us. It only requires an address, location, city, state and you're done. It would even be easily automatable (lots of people do this).
  • Slick but tedious - works anywhere in the world: gmap_extras greasemonkey script for Firefox adds latitude and longitude to GoogleMaps. Unfortunately, Google keeps changing their layout which breaks the Greasmonkey scripts.
  • National Geographics' Topo! is a little overkill, and very clunky interface. It is obviously a straight-port from Windows. In fact, the box and menus all say that you can export to Palm or PocketPC, but after lengthy discourse with National Geographic (well, Topics Entertainment) it was verified that this was not the case. Still, very details latitude, longitude, and altitude

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About the Author

Andrew Turner is an advocate of open standards and open data. He is actively involved in many organizations developing and supporting open standards, including OpenStreetMap, Open Geospatial Consortium, Open Web Foundation, OSGeo, and the World Wide Web Consortium. He co-founded CrisisCommons, a community of volunteers that, in coordination with government agencies and disaster response groups, build technology tools to help people in need during and after a crisis such as an earthquake, tsunami, tornado, hurricane, flood, or wildfire.