Google Maps is a useful tool from travelers, consumers and business owners. Even in small towns, finding locations can be difficult when relying on physical maps. Google Maps helps customers find businesses in their vicinity and even provides driving directions. Though as many business owners and map searchers have lamented at one time or another, certain locations are harder to pinpoint on a map than others. Google has introduced new Plus codes for Google Maps for hard-to-find locations.
Google Maps are based on a combination of information from public maps, GPS data and other sources. The problem is that not all locations can easily be identified by traditional address systems. To help alleviate this problem, Google introduced Open Location Codes (OLC, also known as “plus codes”) last April. The new system made it possible for Google to assign an address for every location in the world. Plus codes are now searchable on Google and Google Maps which means people can use them to share location information in places where there normally isn’t an address.
According to the Google Maps Blog, “These codes become extremely helpful in places with high population density but poor data accuracy or coverage, or those that lack a specific addressing system altogether. Kathmandu, Nepal, has a population of around one million people, but most roads have no names, and houses have no street numbers. Being able to precisely navigate without local knowledge is difficult. Plus codes will now let you easily specify your destination.”
Helping people find their way in Nepal is an impressive feat, but Google points out that Plus Codes are beneficial for a number of reasons that are applicable to consumers in the U.S. There are many times when people are in locations that don’t have physical addresses. Plus codes can make it easier to tell people about locations on the beach or river.
There are several ways this can be useful for small businesses. One example would be for events like concerts, beach parties and the like, where retailers may would want their customers to be able to find them in a large location without physical addresses. Instead of saying, find the booth next to the very tall tree, a retailer could put the Plus Code in their social media post and that would let users find the location via Google Maps. from finding friends at the beach to providing crisis response organizations with more accurate location data. Just giving consumers the last four digits of the location code should be enough to help them find you.
The new feature may even be helpful for crisis response organizations, who rely on accurate location information to provide aid and save lives. Since these are also situations where people need to find locations away from main roads and physical addresses, this is another situation where Plus Codes can help eliminate location uncertainty.
Though creating a system that provides unique addresses for every location on the planet can be tricky, Google has worked to make the system very easy to use for consumers. To find a Plus Code, visit http://plus.codes and share your location. The site automatically pinpoints where your are and provides a code.
Small businesses rely on customers being able to find them. Plus Codes ensure that consumers can find the retailers they need, no matter where they are.
For more recent news on how Google is affecting local search, read this article on a change to the number of locations listed in the Google Search Local Pack.