Google Maps is a great tool that makes finding locations visually or by address very easy, and it works anywhere in the world! Ever since Google acquired the technology to make it work in 2004 from Where 2 Technologies, it has continued to expand with bike routes, street view and making it available on mobile devices.
The one struggle I’ve had over the years is in converting an address into GPS coordinates using Google Maps. Global Positioning data is very useful for my Garmin GPS car navigation unit for find surfing spots or getting to some other remote place like a camping spot that really doesn’t have an address. I can find these spots on Google Maps but then how do I tell my GPS unit where they are so I can actually drive there or tell a friend where to go?
It turns out Google has this feature built right in! Depending on the browser you’re using you can simply go to http://www.google.com/maps and then type in the address or drag the map to where you want and then right click. This right-click menu will bring up some options as shown below, one of which is “What’s here?”. If you click this option, the search field at the top of the page loads the latitude and longitude data for that exact spot on the map!
This is a big time saver and a great addition to the Google Maps interface. Keep in mind that if it isn’t working for you then you might want to try on a different browser. I was not able to get it working on Firefox but Safari worked just fine. There are other sites out there with address to GPS conversion tools available, but they are often cluttered with ads and popups which I don’t like.