New Google Maps URLs – Latitude/Longitude in Requests

While the MAP_POSITION section must be formatted in decimal degrees, latitudes and longitudes used in place requests and directions have a lot more leeway in their formatting. For example, suppose we want to specify the point 40°07’30″N, 107°23’06″W. Some of the ways just the longitude portion can be expressed are:


The latitude and longitude directions (N/S and E/W) have to be expressed the same way, but the numeric values don’t. So while this works fine:


This does not:


Also, Maps must be able to separate latitude from longitude. In the Western hemisphere this is not a problem, since even if the comma separator is not used, you will either have a N/S letter for latitude or a negative sign to start the longitude. In the eastern hemisphere, however, you must avoid an ambiguous location like this:

40 12 32 16

Maps cannot tell which of the following that was supposed to be:

40°12’N, 32°16’E
40°12’32″N, 16°E
40°N, 12°32’16″E

Anything that allows Maps to figure out where the separation point is will fix this; for example, all of these will work:

40 12, 32 16
40 12 N 32 16 E
40 12.0 32 16
40 12 32° 16
40 12 32 16′

However, unlike with MAP_POSITION, Maps will not be very forgiving with out-of-range values. For example, the following lat/lon:


would be corrected to 40.125,-107.385 if used as part of a MAP_POSITION, but as a place request or directions stop it is not understood (in fact, when I tried it in directions, for some reason Maps placed that point in the North Atlantic Ocean rather than rural Colorado).

Return to New Google Maps URLs introduction

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