How to Find the Exact Geographical Coordinates of Your Location
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See instructions below
So, how do you find the exact geographical coordinates of a specific location?
Well thanks to Google maps API, that’s easy. I have thrown this web page together using the example code from the Google maps API examples page.
To use Google maps on your own website you will need sign up to get your own ‘key’
InstructionsTo use the map on this page, all you need to do is either
1. Type in your location as a street address (or just suburb/town/locality) and make sure that you include your state/county/province, (country might also be needed).
2. Scroll the Google map (above) to your position.
(You can use the scroll wheel on the mouse to zoom in or out)
Then single click on the map at the location that you would like know the Geographical location of.
An info dialogue will then display two numbers, latitude and longitude; a negative latitude number represents a location in the South Hemisphere.
I put this page together after researching how to automatically obtain geographical data for the company that I work for, however I see that it may have some applications for travel and astronomy.
This page is handy for configuring astronomy software or doing a polar alignment of your equatorial mount.
If you are traveling just check the geographical location of the place(s) you will visit and adjust your telescope as per the instructions in the manual, or visit a web site such as www.optcorp.com or www.rogergroom.com
Even people who are lost can use Google maps. If you have a laptop with wireless broadband (it obviously needs to be in range of the network), you can just type in the name of a nearby street plus the district and/or state/county into the address prompt then you can use the map to navigate to where you want to go.
If you are lost in the country and don’t know which direction you are facing then there are some ways to approximately determine direction. A compass is an obvious way but you can also use astronomy. During the day the Sun rises in the east and sets in the west, for the Northern hemisphere the Sun’s highest point (about noon) will be toward the south and for the Southern Hemisphere it will be toward the North. The Moon also rises in the east and sets in the west but does so at various times depending on its phase.
At night you can use the stars. For the Northern hemisphere, if you can identify the little dipper then you can find north. Polaris is the bright star at the end of the handle. Polaris is also the Northern Polar star, so that’s about as north (astronomically speaking) as you can get. For people just about anywhere, when Orion/The Saucepan is visible, the pan handle/Orion’s sword points north.
For people in the southern hemisphere, the main beam of Southern Cross points south. If the Southern Cross is right way up (i.e. at it’s highest point in the sky) then south is straight down otherwise, if you know The Pointers, Alpha and Beta Centauri, the two brightest stars near the Southern Cross, then just imagine a giant clock face with the Southern Cross being the point of the big hand and The Pointers being hour markers in an anti clockwise direction from the Southern Cross. Polar South would be roughly in the middle of the clock.
Once you have a rough idea of your direction you can use landmarks on the Google map to confirm your direction and location.
Better yet, why not do it the easy way and get a hand held GPS unit.
Of course if you are camping you would have taken plenty of food and water and consulted with the local authorities about regional safety concerns. You would have let someone know of your travel plans and when you plan to return and you would have a reliable means of communicating with the outside world in case you needed to be rescued.