[APG Public List] Digital Locations (GPS coordinates) a short primer, no device required

John Yates john at jytangledweb.org
Mon Nov 1 09:59:13 MDT 2010

Sometimes fear of the unknown, resistance to change, and
reluctance to spend money are barriers to embracing new

Here is a free way to obtain GPS coordinates for those
that don't know already, and maybe some will learn some
fun things about Google Maps and Google Earth.

First, download Google Earth (Mac, PC, or linux) from:


Install it and fire it up.

It will "fly" you to a view of the surface of the Earth.

In the "Fly to" box, type your home address and then click
on the magnifying glass to the right of the box.

This will "fly" you to a map view and at the center of the
map window will be a small gray box with a + in it. The +
is the location of your house according to Google data.

Move your mouse to the upper right of the map window.
Tools for zooming and rotation appear. Click on the +
and it will zoom in one "magnification". And you can
drag the map itself around with the mouse to position it
where you wish.

At the bottom are: Imagery Dates, Lat, Lon, and Elev.
If your mouse position is outside the initial window,
these coordinates are for the center of the map, i.e.
your house site. If you move the mouse into the map,
the coordinates will be for the position of the mouse.
(so be careful of the mouse position when recording
the coordinates).

If the satellite view of your roof is unimpeded by trees
or the like, you can do a visual interpolation of the
position by placing the mouse cursor precisely on your
roof, or where you want to record the Digital Location.
When the mouse is where you want, don't move it, and
record the Digital Location at the bottom of the window.

There you go. You have the Digital Location of your
house, without buying a GPS device, ready to add to your
genealogy records! And in 500 years, archeologists and
your descendants will be able to locate the cellar hole
where history tells them you used to live! Or the place
in the mega mall that then covers it. ;-)

Digital Locations obtained in the manner described above
would need to be sourced by, among other fields: Digital
Location determined by address translation, with (or without)
visual interpolation. And the date it was obtained as Google
Maps are a live source and being updated (improved) all the

And of course it wouldn't work for lone graves in the woods,
but it will work for anything that you can zero in on and
interpolate between objects visible on the satellite view.

And it is possible that your address won't be found in
Google's data yet. But that becomes rarer by the day.


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