Google’s ‘Plus Codes’ makes nav­i­ga­tion in In­dia easy

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Google has cre­ated ‘Plus Codes’ for ad­dresses that are not so eas­ily lo­cated us­ing con­ven­tional de­scrip­tors like street names or house num­bers. In fact, ac­cord­ing to a World Bank es­ti­mate, half of the world’s ur­ban pop­u­la­tion lives on un­named streets.

For in­di­vid­u­als and fam­i­lies, ‘Plus Codes’ can be used like a street ad­dress when the street has no name or doesn’t even ex­ist.

It is known that lo­cat­ing an ad­dress is quite chal­leng­ing in a coun­try like In­dia. Of­ten ad­dresses are unique in for­mat, and vary across re­gions, lo­cal­i­ties and use cases. The other re­al­ity is that mil­lions of peo­ple and places in In­dia are hard to lo­cate — es­pe­cially those in re­mote ar­eas.

‘Plus Codes’ gives any­one in the world an ad­dress they can share, for free. By open sourc­ing this tech­nol­ogy, any­one can see how it works and de­velop their own ap­pli­ca­tions for any pur­pose. Thus there is no need for li­cence fees or other pay­ments.

The sys­tem of ‘Plus Codes’ works by di­vid­ing the ge­o­graph­i­cal sur­face of the Earth into tiny ‘tiled ar­eas’, at­tribut­ing a unique code to each of them. It works off­line and on print when over­laid as a grid on ex­ist­ing maps. Places that are close to­gether share sim­i­lar plus codes, while the sys­tem is iden­ti­fi­able by the ‘+’ sym­bol in ev­ery ad­dress.

‘Plus Codes’ is an open source so­lu­tion com­posed of 10 char­ac­ters that works glob­ally. It com­prises a ‘six-char­ac­ter + city’ for­mat. It can be gen­er­ated, shared and searched by any­one us­ing Google Maps on their smart­phone.

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