How to Get Map Address Co-ordinates Using Map Posts Free
Integrated Productivity Tools released version 1.1 of it’s WordPress plugin Map Posts Free yesterday. This tutorial provides a standard workflow for obtaining the latitude and longitude for an address, fine tuning marker location through dragging and displaying the location on a map. Learning objectives include:
- Formatting the address string for best results.
- Executing a geocode request and verifying results.
- Adjusting location and marker placement through dragging.
- Basic trouble-shooting steps.
The latest release of Map Posts provides a new configuration interface and introduces clicking and dragging for marker placement. Marker dragging complements address geocoding by allowing the user to adjust an already close result, override marker placement to an equally valid alternate location or disregard the result entirely and set the location they can visually confirm is correct.
Add Address Location to a Post
Map Posts stores location in decimal degree latitude and longitude (e.g. 43.12345, -79.67890). A user can provide co-ordinates in a number of ways; by manually typing in latitude and longitude; by clicking on the preview map, which automatically moves the display marker and updates co-ordinates; or by providing a formatted address and triggering a geocoding operation. Map Posts will execute a geocode whenever the post is saved and the Address field under Post Location has a value different from the last saved value. If a result is returned, the co-ordinates and marker location will be updated; if no location can be associated with an address or if there is some other error, the post location will revert to the last saved value and an error message will be provided to the user.
To geocode an address in Map Posts:
- In the Post Location – Address field type in an address, with address components (street number and name, city, state/province, country) separated by commas.
Example: 175 Longwood Road South, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
- Change the default zoom level to 14 or higher (optional but highly recommended – default zoom is set to 0, which is the world view).
- Save the post by clicking Save Draft, Publish or Update (depending on post status).
- Verify the location displayed. If results are close but slightly inaccurate, drag the marker to the correct known location and save the post again. If no results are returned or are wildly inaccurate, see the trouble-shooting steps below.
Below is the example address, added to a post map following geocoding. In this case I had to move the marker slightly since the geocoder placed the address at the intersection between Longwood and Aberdeen; I know that the actual entrance to the building is closer to the overpass and dragged the marker there.
Address Formats for Best Results
At the time of writing Map Posts uses OpenCage as its geocoder. Different geocoding providers vary in what they recommend for address formats. Most common is a single address string, with the most precise address element first (e.g. street number and name) followed by successively higher level address components (i.e. city, state/province, country); each address component is separated by a comma. Example of a well formatted address:
51 Franklin Street,Boston,Massachusetts,02110-1301,United States
Some rules of thumb when preparing an address for geocoding:
- Do not include suite/apartment/unit number. Most geographic databases are no more precise then the property or the building, and adding the suite number can confound results. The exception may be unit numbers that represent detached or semi-detached buildings.
- Do not include an addressee which is a personal name. Company names may be included but are not recommended if the precise street address is known. Include the company name only when street address is unknown.
- Do not include rural routes or postal box.
- Avoid abbreviations – fully spelled out addresses are better. Use 123 Fake Avenue West instead of 123 Fake Ave. W. .
- With the exceptions above, provide as many known address elements as possible. This will allow the geocoder to e.g. discriminate between Paris, Idaho, United States and Paris, France.
Map Posts Trouble-shooting
There are a large number of reasons geocoding may fail, and not all of them can be resolved by a user’s own efforts. Some factors that can confound results include:
- New sub-divisions recently constructed and not yet added to the database.
- Renamed streets and municipalities; or municipalities being merged or sub-divided.
- Alternate spellings.
- Errors in the database.
- The geocoding server is offline or is overwhelmed by requests.
- Non-standard address formats.
- Confusion among identically named cities and states.
Click for more information on Map Posts Free or to download the latest released version.