Off road points on Google Maps

November 8th, 2010 by Alistair MacDonald Leave a reply »

You may know that I play this odd treasure hunting game called Geocaching and nowadays we often use Google Maps to help locate a cache (or the treasure of you prefer). This blog post is a solution to a problem we have when using Google Maps to accurately plot a location. If you no need to accurately plot a location on Google Maps then you probably want to stop reading now.

Recently a friend and I were looking for a Geocache and typed the coordinates in to Google Maps on the iPhone. The point was located on the map at the side of the road, but the treasure was really in the field. This happens on the PC as well, but on the PC a green arrow points at the coordinates while the traditional red marker points at the closest road.

This is a bit of a problem for us but after giving this a bit of thought I figured a way to get Google Maps to put the pin at the coordinates we type in. In short the solution is to add a ” (X)” to the end of the coordinates. Whatever is in the brackets is the waypoint name and can be almost anything.

I will demonstrate by marking the middle of a field, or most specifically, Parliament Green in London at “51.500628, -0.126815”. If we search for “51.500628, -0.126815” we get pointed at the road next to it (you will need to zoom in to see). By adding the text to the end and searching for “51.500628, -0.126815 (Parliament Green)” the pointer is now in the middle of the field where the coordinates are actually pointing.

Update: After Google updated there app this hack does not work, but it will work with Google Earth. I have blogged an update here.



  1. Davver says:

    Ooh, very interesting, and handy – I suspect not just for geocaching. I’d been wondering about this road marking behaviour, so thanks for working out a solution :)

  2. willie says:

    I stopped using google for this reason. Search for a location in, say, the Brecon Beacons and the marker can be miles away. Doubt I’ll go back to google, but it’s good to know

  3. Dyin says:

    You saved my day!

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