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

Latitude and Longitude now displayed on County Lines on Google Maps tool

A few users have requested the ability to see the latitude and longitude for their chosen location while using the County Lines on Google Maps tool.  This functionality has now been added.

As usual, just start by typing in a place name or address for which you want to see nearby county lines, then click "Go!".  Now, in addition to seeing the county name at the bottom of the map, just below that you will also see the latitude and longitude for the red map marker, as shown below:

The latitude and longitude displayed is for the red map marker, so if you wish you can zoom in further and click somewhere else on the map.  You will then see the county name where you clicked as well as the latitude and longitude for the red map marker, as shown here:

If you are looking for the approximate latitude and longitude for a large tract of land, you could change the map to show satellite imagery by clicking the "Hybrid" button in the lower left corner of the map.  Then click on the map where you want to know the approximate latitude and longitude, as shown below:

Another neat little feature is to click the "Use Current Location" button (found just to the right of the "Go!" button) to see the approximate latitude and longitude of your current location.  A write-up on that functionality can be found here.

Important technical note and disclaimer:  While the number of decimals in the latitude and longitude displayed for the map marker imply a positional accuracy of within a few feet, note that Google Maps is not inherently that accurate, and therefore this tool should not be used for legal purposes or anything beyond entertainment value.  Here is a useful article that discusses accuracy of Google Maps' latitudes and longitudes.

Now use your current location on all mapping tools!

This enhancement applies all of the mapping tools on this website:

County Lines on Google Maps
ZIP Codes on Google Maps
City Limits on Google Maps
Township Range on Google Maps
Location Explorer on Google Maps
Climate Info on Google Maps
Time Zones on Google Maps
Area Codes on Google Maps
Historical U.S. Counties on Google Maps

On all of these mapping tools, you always had to start by typing in a city, address, place, etc.

Now with this latest enhancement, if you want to know more about your current location, you can just click the "⊕ Locate" buttons in the upper right corner of the map to immediately zoom to your current location.  As a shortcut, you can also see your current county and answer "What county am I in?" here:

Depending on which of the above tools you're using, once the map zooms in,  the name of the current county, city, ZIP Code, or historical county will appear, along with all of the applicable boundaries.

How might this be useful?
- You want to find out "what county am I in?"
- You're on the road and standing on your ancestor's farm and want to know what county the farm was part of back in 1850
- You're in an unfamiliar area and want to know where nearby research locations are where you can dig deeper (e.g. courthouses, libraries, cemeteries)
- You're travelling in a rural area (and not sure of a town name or address to type, or it's inconvenient to type) and you need to determine your current county or ZIP Code
- I've heard of people using the tool for a wide variety of other uses that benefit from quickly finding out your current county, from geocaching to real estate title work to disaster support relief

Feel free to share in the comments if you have other uses for this!

Technical note:  The "⊕ Locate" functionality will be more accurate on smartphones and other devices containing a GPS.  It will work on most desktop browsers as well, but will often be a rough approximate location.  

Google Maps service fully restored on

Following a couple of days of problems, Google Maps functionality has been fully restored on the website and the following tools should be fully operational again:

County Lines on Google Maps
Historical U.S. County Boundary Maps
Historical World Boundary Maps
ZIP Codes on Google Maps

Background:  Over the last couple of days, there had been many reports of "over query limit" and rate-limit problems when people were using the above tools.  Working with Google support, those limits have been reset.

This issue was caused by pricing changes that Google has put in place for users of the Google Maps API, upon which the website relies.  The bottom line is that the website has the potential to become quite a bit more expensive for me to maintain.  As I want keep these tools free and unlimited for everyone, the only way to partially offset these costs is if users of the website click on ads when they find them useful.

Thank you for your patience and for your support of these freely available tools.