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Yet another short-link specification for geo-coordinates.

Project description


Yet another short-link specification for geo-coordinates.

Key Features

  • uses base-58 encoding
  • can be as short as 8 characters, mostly 9 characters
  • maximum length of 10 characters
  • resolves to about 1.1m accuracy
  • geocoordinates that are close, look similar
  • can include a zoom level of a map (20-5)

Base-58 encoding

Base-58 encoding uses 58 alphanumerical characters of the alphabet plus 9 digits. Characters that look similar ('0', 'O', 'I', 'l') are omitted. This allows for manual copying of data with little potential for ambiguity.

8-10 characters short

The encoding is done in the followin schema: [Zoom 4bit][joined [Lat 25bit][Lon 26bit]]

  • Zoom: beeing an optional parameter for a possible viewport (see below).
  • posLat: is the latitude (mapped from [-90,90] to [0, 180]).
  • posLon: is the longitude (mapped from [-180,180] to [0, 360]).

The last 51 bit are 'intervoven' to generate a bit-sequence with least significant bits to the right. This allows the generation of short-strings that are similar to each other if they are close to one another.

Link similarity

The following 3 links, refer to cafes in Heidelberg, which are only ~25m apart:

Zoom level (can be) included

4 bit of the short-string are used to encode the zoom level of a viewport. This can be used to hint at the size of the object that is being referred to. The zoom level is pre-fixed to the bit-sequence. It is also 'inverted' to allow zoom level 20 to be represented as zero and 19 as one. Zomm level 5 would be using 4 bits.

As the zoom level is pre-fixed, zoom level 20 does not 'consume' any bit-bandwidth, resulting in a short-string being as short as possible.


This format came to be during the creation of a short-link format for YellowOSM.

YellowOSM is supported by NetIdee.

Project details

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