OpenSource For You

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


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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