How to enable deliveries to people and places without traditional addresses

Billions of people don’t have a precise address, which can make it difficult for them to receive deliveries. Those with an address may prefer to accept deliveries at more specific locations, such as a back entrance or a loading dock. Google developed Plus Codes to bridge these addressing gaps and give the benefit of addresses to everyone and everything. For example, the Navajo Nation uses Plus Codes to identify where people in need are located and how best to deliver needed food and supplies. Now Plus Codes support throughout Google Maps Platform APIs allows delivery service providers to capture and deliver to a broader audience with greater precision.

Plus Codes in Brazil
Plus Codes in São Paulo, Brazil

Plus Codes are simple alphanumeric codes, derived from latitude and longitude coordinates. A typical plus code could be “F95F+42, Hyderabad”, which represents a roughly 13 by 13 meter area within the city of Hyderabad. Plus Codes enable addressing of areas that are roughly the size of places like building entrances and loading docks, where deliveries are commonly made. If an additional character is included, such as in “F95F+42M, Hyderabad”, it represents an area of approximately 2.5 meters by 2.5 meters–providing even greater precision for delivery use cases.

Benefits of Plus Codes for delivery service providers 

Millions of deliveries fail around the world every year, and a leading cause is bad or imprecise addresses. Thanks to their precision, Plus Codes can reduce such delivery failures and reduce support costs, while providing a more seamless “no touch” and “no phone call” experience for consumers. By being able to accept a broader range of delivery locations with Plus Codes, providers can accept more business from shippers and consumers with higher confidence. 

Using Plus Codes in your applications

Plus Codes are now supported in Google Maps Platform APIs including Place Autocomplete, Place Details, Directions, andGeocoding. For example, the results for reverse geocoding searches include Plus Codes. These results have a “plus_code” type and “ROOFTOP” value for the location_type property so they’re easy to filter in or out. If your application is asking the user to drop a pin to determine a location, it may use the Plus Code for this location if there isn’t a nearby result with a traditional address. A Plus Code may also be used the same way as latitude and longitude coordinates in other features such as entering a destination into a Place Autocomplete search bar or requesting directions from the Directions API. They’re easy to spell out or transfer on paper and can be inserted into address fields of other Google Maps Platform APIs to provide a fully consistent addressing scheme across the business. 

Using Plus Codes for delivery
An example of an app using Plus Codes for delivery

No matter how a business decides to use Plus Codes, they offer any user anywhere in the world the opportunity to receive deliveries while allowing the delivery company to treat this just as they would a conventional address across Google Maps Platform APIs. This enables broad accessibility and inclusivity together with the ability for businesses to easily and simply expand their operations to new regions worldwide. 

 For more information on Google Maps Platform, visit our website.

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