Showing posts with the label Area Codes

Show me ALL of the names!

You've always been able to search or click on the map and have information about the ONE spot where you clicked appear at the bottom of the map, like this:

"But wouldn't it be nice," many people have asked over the years, "to see ALL of the names of the counties on the map rather than just the one that I clicked?"  Or something to that effect.

Now you can.  Just go to the Historical U.S. Counties on Google Maps tool and check "Show labels..." checkbox in the lower left corner of the map, and your map will be pleasantly filled with the historical county names as of the date you typed, like this (click the image below to enlarge it):


This new functionality to add names has been added to the following tools:  Historical U.S. Counties on Google Maps, County Lines on Google Maps, ZIP Codes on Google Maps and Area Codes on Google Maps.

Here's an example of the labels on the County Lines on Google Maps tool:

Look out in future updates for new drawing tools as well!

See for miles and miles...or at least a few more inches

Probably the most common request I hear is something along the lines of "can you make the map window larger?"

Well the wait is finally over.  All of the map windows are now optimized to fill more of your screen, no matter what your screen resolution is.

This update applies to County Lines on Google Maps, City Limits on Google Maps, Township Range on Google Maps, ZIP Codes on Google Maps, Location Explorer on Google Maps, Historical U.S. County Boundary Maps, Climate Info on Google Maps, Time Zones on Google Maps and Area Codes on Google Maps.

For those on slightly lower resolution screens, your map window was likely already filling a decent amount of the screen, but for those on higher resolutions, the map window may have been taking up only half of the screen height.

I've also made the header and top margins smaller on the website, and made the map tool pages fill up the entire screen width.  Hint:  if you want to map even a little larger, you can click the 'expand' button in the upper right of most map windows.

And finally, on an unrelated note:  In the spirit of a little fun and continuing to expand our geographic horizons, you'll notice that the map tools all open to a different random location each time you go to a tool.  For example, the first time I opened the County Lines on Google Maps tool, it randomly took me to Franklin County, Massachusetts.  The next time I opened it, the map was focused on Thurston County, Washington:

I thought this would be a fun way to learn about areas we may not be familiar with.

As usual, once the map opens, you can then go to your place of interest by either typing a place or address in the "Search places" box above the map, or use the zoom tools and explore.

Also, if you're using the Historical U.S. County Boundary Maps tool, you can now see across multiple state lines at the same time!  The tool will also let you if there is ever an overlapping jurisdictional claim.  Here's the Utah/Colorado border area in 1880:


County Lines on Google Maps enhancements, Time Zones and Area Codes tools released

This is just a quick note to let you know of a few enhancements to the County Lines on Google Maps tool, as well as the release of the worldwide Time Zones on Google Maps tool.

First, for the county lines tool:

1.  When searching in the US, you can now choose to also show City Limits at the same time as County Lines.  Just check this little box in the lower left corner of the map:
With "Also show US city limits" checked, you'll be able to click on a place on the map (or type a place or address in the "Search places" box above the map) and see not only the County, State, and Country, but the City too.  For example:

2.  There are a couple of enhancements related to Latitude/Longitude or GPS coordinates.  The first one (which has been present for a few months), is that the Latitude/Longitude of the place you clicked on (or typed) appears at the bottom of the map, as shown above.

The other new feature is that you can now type GPS coordinates into the "Search places" box above the map.  For example, let's say you have a GPS coordinate of 105.25° W, 40° N.

The format for typing GPS coordinates into the map is Longitude first, Latitude second.  Longitudes west of the Greenwich Prime Meridian* are always a negative value, as are latitudes south of the equator.  So in this example, you would type -105.25, 40 and a drop-down menu will appear with the fully formatted coordinates for you to click on.  Like this:

Click the top choice in the drop-down menu, and you end up somewhere in Boulder, Colorado in this example:

3. Some people like to search for places by typing in an address, place, city, etc. into the "Search places" box above the map.  But some people like to just start exploring the map by clicking around, zooming, panning etc.  If you're in that latter category, you can do that don't have to type if you don't want to!

4. You can now use your current location by clicking the "⊕ Locate" button in the upper right corner of the map.  The Locate button will be more accurate on smartphones and other devices containing a GPS; desktop browsers typically show an approximate location.

5. One final enhancement, per user request:  you can click the "☐ expand" button in upper right to get a larger map window optimized for your particular screen size.  After expanding the map, click the "☐ reset" button in the upper right to return to the original map size.

As always, the County Lines on Google Maps tool includes county boundary lines, or their equivalent, for any place in the U.S., Great Britain, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico and Switzerland.  Be sure to read the coverage notes and usage tips below the tool.

I hope you enjoy these enhancements!  Feel free to leave comments below.

P.S.  Also, thanks to all those who have taken a few moments to provide feedback on the tools in the user surveys!  I'm receiving really good feedback, and am humbled at the number of great things people are using the tools for.  I'll aim to provide some high-level summaries of the survey results in the next couple of weeks.  If you haven't provided feedback yet, and would like to, please find the details here.  I very much appreciate it!

* By the way, speaking of the Greenwich Prime Meridian, I've also released a new tool that shows Time Zones on Google Maps.  With it, you can see the time zone boundaries, time zone name, GMT offset, and the current local time anywhere in the world!  Be sure to read the usage notes and coverage info below the tool.  Here's a sample screenshot, with city/county details shown:

And one more new tool:  Area Codes on Google Maps

For the map and geography geek in you...

For those of you who are map and geography geeks like me, I've just released a new tool I created on Google Maps that I hope you find both informative and maybe even fun!

I named the tool Location Explorer on Google Maps.

Think of it as kind of a "drill-down" for any chosen U.S. location -- be it a place or address. Not sure how to best describe let's use pictures:

For the above example, I simply typed an address in Salt Lake City, and the 12 above maps appeared.  The maps show all of the following "topics" for your chosen location (the address or place you typed), depicted by the red dot:

  • City Limits
  • County Lines
  • State Lines
  • ZIP Code Boundaries
  • Area Code Boundaries
  • US Congressional District Boundaries
  • Latitude and Longitude (by request, I've also added Township and Range to this map window, where applicable)
  • Watershed (also known as Drainage Basin)
  • Closest National Park or National Forest, including boundaries
  • Elevation
  • Slope (the steepness of the land)
  • Aspect (the compass direction the land slopes down in)

In addition to seeing the above topics on the 12 maps, the name or other relevant information for each topic is labeled in the upper right corner of each map.

If the map isn't exactly where you want to see the above information for, you can simply click any of the maps at a new nearby location or just type a new location above.  You can also zoom in or out using the + and - buttons in the upper left of the first map or last map.  Note that all of the maps stay "in sync" with each other as you change locations.

One thing...please be patient as the map layers the tool uses are very large, and the maps may take up to 10-15 seconds to finish drawing.  To get a much more detailed understanding of how to best use the tool, and exactly what is depicted on the maps, be sure and read the detailed tips and coverage notes below the map on the page.

NEW:  You can also view several different climate topics for any U.S. location, as described underneath the tool.  It looks something like this:

I hope you have as much fun exploring the tool as I've had building it!  And yes, you can definitely call me a geogeek.

(As a reminder, if you want to explore many of these topics individually on a large Google Map, you can use these tools:  County Lines on Google Maps, City Limits on Google Maps, ZIP Codes on Google Maps and Area Codes on Google Maps.  For historical county lines, use Historical U.S. County Boundary Maps)


How can you see city limits on Google Maps?

Short can't. Except for one at a time, like this, where I typed "St Louis" in standard Google Maps:

But what if (for some reason) you want to see ALL of the city limits in an area.  Well now you can here:  City Limits on Google Maps

It looks like this:

The city limits can be very detailed and so may take a few moments to draw:

Despite this being somewhat of a mess to look at, I've had several people who have been using my County Lines on Google Maps tool who have requested being able to view city limits on Google Maps.  Why?  Here are some possible reasons:
  • To be able to type an address and know what city it's in or if it's in an unincorporated area
  • To be able to explore the map interactively and see city boundaries around your neighborhood of interest
  • To quickly answer jurisdictional questions about an address, point or neighborhood on a map
  • To find what areas around your metro area are unincorporated, meaning that they may not have local sales tax there. (Note: I'm not giving tax advice; talk to your tax advisor for that :) )
  • Any of a number of real estate related queries where knowing the city comes into play
What other uses do you have for seeing City Limits on Google Maps?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

(This is version 1.0, so please also let me know if you encounter errors.)

Also, another mapping tool I just released:  Area Codes on Google Maps