Replace Your Home Address With Plus Codes
A 10-letter code that can locate you anywhere on the planet!
What Is a Plus Code?
A plus code is like a street address for people or places that don’t have one.
Plus codes give addresses to everyone, everywhere — allowing them to receive deliveries, access emergency services, and register to vote. They’re already improving peoples’ lives.
A plus code address looks like a regular address, but with a shortcode instead of the street name and number. These addresses exist for any location, even for places where there are no roads.
Where Can You Find It?
I tried using Google Maps for a trip and saw something different at my destination location. It was something like this.
You might be noticing something unusual.
You are not alone. I did, too.
Apparently Google Maps has silently rolled out this new feature. This feature allows you to have an address without roads — literally.
What Are the Benefits of Using Plus Codes?
According to the official Plus Code website, these are the benefits.
What’s the Big Deal?
Most of the world’s population lives without addresses. They live on unnamed streets. This makes it impossible for them to get access to basic needs. Lacking a postal address means, in many cases, denial of services such as postal mail, other types of deliveries, emergency services, or voter registration. With the introduction of Plus Codes, anyone in the world can have their location pinned without a valid address.
The postal services of Cape Verde were the first to support plus codes for mail delivery.
How Does It Work?
Plus codes are based on latitude and longitude — the grid that can be used to describe every point on the planet. By using a simpler code system, they end up much shorter and easier to use than traditional global coordinates.
A plus code in its full length is 10 characters long, with a plus sign before the last two. It consists of two parts:
- The first four characters are the area code, describing a region of roughly 100 x 100 kilometers.
- The last six characters are the local code, describing the neighborhood and the building, an area of roughly 14 x 14 meters — about the size of one half of a basketball court.
Each code uses these two parts to locate a larger region and then find the precise location within that region.
If the location is within or near a town, the area code isn’t needed. In rural locations, even if the nearest town is up to 25 kilometers away, the area code isn’t needed. You can use the local code together with the name of the town.
For those needing more precision, an additional, optional character can be used to improve accuracy to roughly 3 x 3 meters — about the size of a small car.
Check your own Plus Code.
With the adoption of Plus Codes in Google Maps, there is a possibility for Plus Codes to beat alternatives such as What3Words. Could Plus Code gain momentum and replace our traditional latitude-longitude system? Or will its uses be limited, as the original model proposes, to those who really need it because they lack a traditional address?
Check out the Plus Codes API repo on github.
Wanna learn more? Read my article on What3Words - an alternative to Plus Codes.