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I often look up an address and check where it is on a map. I was using Google Maps but recently they switched the design and it is slow/unreliable on my 2012 big-screened computer.

Requirements:

  • Can be used by specifying the address in the URL, for instance https://duckmaps.org?address=Azuma 1-11 Tsukuba
  • Free to use
  • Maps show up fast, not necessarily full-screen
  • Good at finding addresses. Under the hood, it might call the powerful Google Maps geocoding API to get the coordinates.
  • Whole world, not just USA.
  • A webapp is the best, but a standalone program is OK too if it works on Linux.
  • When I spot an interesting spot on a map, I can get its coordinates as text, for instance 35.66262,139.73060

Tried but rejected:

  • OpenStreetMap: Does not find Azuma 1-11 Tsukuba. Any service based on OSM tiles but with a better geoding would be acceptable though.
  • MapQuest: Shows the wrong place for Azuma 1-11 Tsukuba.
  • 1
    Jumping in to your question (low-prio to me currently, but I'm interested in the same): are there any services you've already tried (e.g. OSM, MapQuest) – and if so, for what reasons they failed? Not that we get those recommended again ;) – Izzy Jun 23 '15 at 6:27
  • Or you could contribute to OSM ,-) Alas, Japanese addresses are some of the most convoluted on earth :-( – Mawg Jun 23 '15 at 7:47
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I hate to say that Bing Maps fits this use case well.

Search URL: www.bing.com/maps/?v=2&where1=Azuma 1-11 Tsukuba

Results are not as precise as Google Maps (does not show the limits of the parcel of land), but it is usable.

Right-clicking anywhere shows the coordinates of the clicked point, easily copy/pastable: Bing coordinates

Drawback: It is still not as lightweight as it could: For some reason the page loads at the country level and reloads and then reloads again at the right zoom level.

Other answers very welcome!

2

There is one service that fits the bill but is restricted to UK maps. So although it fails your 'whole world' criterion, it meets all the rest.

Ordnance Survey OpenData has a wide range of abilities to embed and explore maps in a web page.

Free to use, provided you place an acknowledgement on your web page.

Below: The search for 10 Downing Street in London at the system's default settings.

Map based upon 10 Downing Street

  • Would you mind giving the URL for a search on "10 Downing Street London"? Thanks! – Nicolas Raoul Jun 23 '15 at 8:24
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    Please give the URL syntax, please. Thank you! – Nicolas Raoul Jun 24 '15 at 2:44
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There's HERE, from Nokia.

It has similar features to Google Maps and Bing Maps and I'd say it matches your requirements. It's available as a web app in the web browser but also for pretty much all the mobile platforms around nowadays. Some more detailed features can be found on the HERE Wikipedia page.

It perfectly finds "10 Downing Street London":

HERE sample map 1

Regarding the other address, "Azuma 1-11 Tsukuba", it seems it's able to find something when in Japan, but I have no idea if that's correct or not.

Right-clicking and then left-clicking anywhere on the map enables you to see the coordinates in the address bar, and copy/paste them easily (hence you can also search directly using coordinates). See the address bar in this screenshot:

HERE sample map 2

In that example the address bar contains:

  • The coordinates
  • The zoom level
  • The map type (for what I've seen it can be normal, satellite, terrain, traffic)

The search syntax is https://www.here.com/search/<the address>

  • It does not recognize any Japanese address indeed. It only knows the name of the big cities, no further. – Nicolas Raoul Jun 24 '15 at 2:50
  • Unfortunately, the technique you describe does not give the coordinates of the point clicked. It gives the coordinates of the nearest address, which can be significantly different. For instance when I organize a picnic Central Park and want to share the exact place where we sit, I don't want the coordinates of the nearest house, I want exact coordinates of the point I clicked. – Nicolas Raoul Jun 24 '15 at 2:55
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    It kind of works a bit better if in the overlay top menu you select Routes, then the Walk icon, then you right-click and Set as starting point. I tried in a golf course and it just added a blue indicator of exactly that spot, with coordinates in the address bar. Basically it looks like you need to have the Walk function on to be able to pinpoint locations freely. Perhaps with a HERE mobile app there's a way to get and share locations more easily, but I' haven’t' tried. – mguassa Jun 24 '15 at 6:49

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