What do you do when you end up in an unknown and unmarked location? How do you ask for help or ask someone to pick you up? Google wants to answer this question with the Plus code in its Maps application. But what is it and how to use it?
Often we find ourselves in locations where there are no street names, no landmarks, or anything to go through. Imagine what happens when you are on a trail, hiking or bicycling, or anywhere in the arms of Mother Earth. We are all there. We all need help with some information and that’s where the new Plus code on Google Maps saves us.
Let’s get started.
What is Code Plus
Code Plus functions as a private street address for the location you stand or sit with your phone. Each location or point has a unique plus code. This is a series of alphanumeric digits with the sign and code ‘+’ for your exact location, followed by the name of the city. Check the screenshot below.
Wherever I click in New Jersey, the first two letters remain the same. So, I guess Google follows some logic such as country, city and region, followed by a code plus two digits.
Each plus code is unique, related to a unique location or point on Earth. How cool is that?
How Code Plus Works
Most people use Google Maps and eventually will use the Plus code in it. For this post, I use Android. Open Google Maps, no need for a separate application, and activate your GPS.
Now, tap the blue dot that marks your current location, and you will see a blue menu with several options. You should see your city name and code plus your location.
When you tap Select place options at the top of the screen, you will see a set of red dots on the map. Each dot represents a known place near you with the appropriate name at the bottom of the screen on the card. This can be a restaurant, ATM, diner, or whatever. Something that will help the other party find you.
Physical landmarks are far more useful in finding someone when driving. Tap on the red dot to learn more about places like names, business hours, etc. Then the Plus code. You can now share this plus a code to help others find you or certain places that are near you.
So, you can share your exact location or nearest place, depending on your circumstances.
Note one option is Save your parking. Pretty useful, eh? I know several people who use special applications for this. No longer. The parking feature also comes with the ability to take notes, set a reminder time, and add photos. It will be more useful for people who have difficulty remembering something or have poor memories.
Choose a place, and See the closest place option brings up the same menu for me. Bug? The service is still new, so it’s possible.
Share your interesting location. This brings up a menu where you can see the location of your cellphone, battery details, and profile picture. You know, so other people know they need to hurry because your cellphone will turn off and you don’t have a power bank.
The list of applications and your contacts that have recently appeared there is clear. And then there is this option to set the time. You share your location in real time, and this timer decides for a long time, you keep doing it. Imagine being abducted and changing locations in real time using the plus code. Bad example Imagine you are biking or hiking and want someone to know that you are okay and moving in the right direction.
Plus the code can also be useful for those who live in homes that are not numbered. According to Google, more than 2 billion people worldwide do not have the right address. Imagine how difficult it was for them to register for basic services, banking, or simply call emergency services. Code Plus can solve that problem to some extent.
Code Plus Features
Like most Google applications and services, Code Plus is free to use. The good thing is it works offline, so you don’t need an active internet connection.
Remember how we discussed code that was similar or started the same when two points were close to each other? It can find out whether the person is close, without having to open the application.
Don’t have a smartphone or want to use an Offline Plus code for your store or something? Google has made it non-exclusive, you can embed it on square map paper. That is wise. Google notes that because Code Plus doesn’t use country codes, they work in disputed regions and places that haven’t been mapped. Uncharted places are places where this code will be very useful, in my opinion. For others, we have street names and landmarks and, sometimes, memories.
Code Plus works on Google Maps but also works on Google Search. That makes it very easy to use and find someone quickly. The search results link will take you to the Maps application in no time.
Map of My World
Google Maps continues to get better, often adding new and useful features. Code Plus is the latest in Google’s long-standing efforts to make travel and travel easy, fun and effortless. If this is not enough, Google continues and makes it open-source so that developers can build on it. There is a reason why Google Maps is so loved and used.