If you don't have an address receiving mail at home or work, giving directions to visitors, or just finding destinations is difficult – if not impossible. These problems affect more than half the people living on Earth due to the lack of named roads and house numbers.
We developed a way to express the location of your home or work, wherever they are, to anyone, with just a short address, and made it so anyone anywhere can use them for anything. For free. For ever. They are called plus codes, and they look like 6FR5GH5W+5F. If that's too long to remember, you can just use the bold section in combination with a nearby town or city, like this: GH5W+5F Lekki.
You can discover your code using the website plus.codes, or simply drop a pin in Google Maps (Android, iOS, and soon on desktop) and view the pin info to see the location’s plus code. If someone tells you their code, you can search for it on the website plus.codes, or in Google Maps, and immediately see exactly where to go.
People can use them to tell visitors where to go, small businesses can use it on business cards, ads or web sites so that customers can find them, delivery companies could use them to improve their delivery times and efficiency, and power and water companies could use them to locate equipment.
Searching for a plus code and finding a location on Google Maps.
Somewhere we are currently using these is Cape Verde. More than 90 percent of roads in Cape Verde don’t have names, Correios de Cabo Verde (Cape Verde postal authority) launched the Morada Certa campaign (Right Address campaign), a national initiative to give local residents addresses to enable mail delivery. This summer, Correios de Cabo Verde and Google worked together so that the people of Cape Verde could receive postal mail for the very first time.
More than 90 percent of streets in Cape Verde don't have a name, making postal deliveries and other services difficult
With our help, Correios de Cabo Verde integrated plus codes into their website. In four simple steps, Cape Verde residents can find the plus code associated with their workplace or residence and link it to their postal identification to start receiving mail.
Locating a plus code is easy as well. In addition to using the plus.codes website or Google Maps, Cape Verde residents can use the Correios de Cabo Verde website to locate a code they have been given.
Discovering plus codes on the Correios de Cabo Verde website
Even in today’s digital age, more than 50 percent of urban dwellers live on an unnamed street and don't have an address (World Bank). The work of Correios de Cabo Verde shows how easy it can be to integrate plus codes to improve postal services. With an address residents can receive mail at their homes, city authorities can plan and provide services, businesses can deliver goods, emergency services can dispatch personnel, and utility problems with water or electricity can be located and fixed faster.
Plus codes is powered by Open Location Code, an open source technology, that any organization can use for free. By simplifying the cost of identifying and registering addresses we hope to help resolve the challenges of urbanization and increase efficient mobility of people and goods across Africa and all over the world. If you work with or know of an organization that could benefit from Open Location Code technology, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out more about plus codes, visit plus.codes.