Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Find Latitude and Longitude of Any Place

Dick Eastman posted Convert an Address to Latitude and Longitude yesterday about the website, so I thought I would try it out. See Dick's article for the basics about latitude and longitude, degrees, minutes, seconds and decimals - all of that scientific stuff that I love.

On the Get Lat Lon website, you are presented with a Google Map of the world, and a search field above the map. I typed in my street address, city and state - shown below:

After I clicked on the "Zoom to place" button, the site went immediately (I mean fast!) to show my house lot on my street:

The cross-hairs in the center of the map are on my house lot (just about the Genealogy Cave actually), and the latitude and longitude numbers for the cross-hairs say

Latitude, Longitude: 32.620434, -117.044326

Yep, that's right! How cool is that?

Dick's post said that we could input the latitude and longitude for a place in the search field, so I picked out a favorite place, and input 40.77040386721811, -111.89426600933075:

And clicked on "Zoom to place" button and saw:

Yep - that's right! The Family History Library in Salt Lake City! [Actually, it's the side of the street outside the library. The Library entrance is at 40.770418086484604, -111.8942928314209 if the Google Map is correct.]

Even though the system calculates the coordinates to six decimal places, you don't need any more decimal places than that. The numbers go to 14 decimal places if you move the map. By my calculations, 1 foot is .00000274 degrees. Six decimal places is "close enough!" Isn't technology great?

Which raises a point - are you finding latitude and longitude of your ancestral homes, churches, places of work and gravestones, and putting them in your genealogy software database? This is a tool that lets you do it easily without trudging around in the muck and the weeds.

Thank you, Dick Eastman, for the cool technical tip!

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