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Geokit provides geocoding and distance calculation in an easy-to-use API
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The Geokit gem provides:

  • Distance calculations between two points on the earth. Calculate the distance in miles, kilometers, meters, or nautical miles, with all the trigonometry abstracted away by Geokit.
  • Geocoding from multiple providers. It supports Google, Yahoo, and geocoders, and others. It provides a uniform response structure from all of them. It also provides a fail-over mechanism, in case your input fails to geocode in one service.
  • Rectangular bounds calculations: is a point within a given rectangular bounds?
  • Heading and midpoint calculations

Combine this gem with the geokit-rails to get location-based finders for your Rails app.


  • If you need help, use Stack Overflow. (Tag 'geokit' and we'll be alerted)
  • If you found a bug, use GitHub issues.
  • If you have an idea, use GitHub issues.
  • If you'd like to ask a general question, use GitHub issues.
  • If you want to contribute, submit a pull request.


gem install geokit


"regular" address geocoders

  • Yahoo BOSS - requires an API key.
  • - for Canada; may require authentication as well.
  • Geonames - a free geocoder
  • Bing
  • Yandex
  • MapQuest
  • OpenStreetMap (Nominatim)
  • Mapbox - requires an access token
  • OpenCage - requires an API key

address geocoders that also provide reverse geocoding

  • Google - Supports multiple results and bounding box/country code biasing. Also supports Maps API for Business keys; see the configuration section below.
  • FCC
  • OpenStreetMap (Nominatim)
  • Mapbox
  • OpenCage

IP address geocoders

  • IP - geocodes an IP address using's web service.
  • -- another IP address geocoder
  • RIPE
  • MaxMind
  • Ipstack

HTTPS-supporting geocoders

  • Google
  • Yahoo
  • Bing
  • FCC
  • MapQuest
  • Mapbox
  • OpenCage

Options to control the use of HTTPS are described below in the Configuration section.


    irb> require 'rubygems'
    irb> require 'geokit'
    irb> a=Geokit::Geocoders::GoogleGeocoder.geocode '140 Market St, San Francisco, CA'
    irb> a.ll
     => 37.79363,-122.396116
    irb> b=Geokit::Geocoders::GoogleGeocoder.geocode '789 Geary St, San Francisco, CA'
    irb> b.ll
     => 37.786217,-122.41619
    irb> a.distance_to(b)
     => 1.21120007413626
    irb> a.heading_to(b)
    => 244.959832435678
    irb(main):006:0> c=a.midpoint_to(b)      # what's halfway from a to b?
    irb> c.ll
    => "37.7899239257175,-122.406153503469"
    irb(main):008:0> d=c.endpoint(90,10)     # what's 10 miles to the east of c?
    irb> d.ll
    => "37.7897825005142,-122.223214776155"

FYI, that .ll method means "latitude longitude".

See the RDOC more more ... there are also operations on rectangular bounds (e.g., determining if a point is within bounds, find the center, etc).


If you're using this gem by itself, here are the configuration options:

    # These defaults are used in Geokit::Mappable.distance_to and in acts_as_mappable
    Geokit::default_units = :miles # others :kms, :nms, :meters
    Geokit::default_formula = :sphere

    # This is the timeout value in seconds to be used for calls to the geocoder web
    # services.  For no timeout at all, comment out the setting.  The timeout unit
    # is in seconds.
    Geokit::Geocoders::request_timeout = 3

    # This setting can be used if web service calls must be routed through a proxy.
    # These setting can be nil if not needed, otherwise, a valid URI must be
    # filled in at a minimum.  If the proxy requires authentication, the username
    # and password can be provided as well.
    Geokit::Geocoders::proxy = 'https://user:password@host:port'

    # This setting can be used if a web service blocks requests by certain user agents.
    # If not set Geokit uses the default useragent header set by the different net adapter libs.
    Geokit::Geocoders::useragent = 'my agent string'

    # This is your yahoo application key for the Yahoo Geocoder.
    # See
    # and
    Geokit::Geocoders::YahooGeocoder.key = 'REPLACE_WITH_YOUR_YAHOO_KEY'
    Geokit::Geocoders::YahooGeocoder.secret = 'REPLACE_WITH_YOUR_YAHOO_SECRET'

    # This is your Google Maps geocoder keys (all optional).
    # See
    # and
    Geokit::Geocoders::GoogleGeocoder.client_id = ''
    Geokit::Geocoders::GoogleGeocoder.cryptographic_key = '' = ''

    # You can also use the free API key instead of signed requests
    # See
    Geokit::Geocoders::GoogleGeocoder.api_key = ''

    # You can also set multiple API KEYS for different domains that may be directed to this same application.
    # The domain from which the current user is being directed will automatically be updated for Geokit via
    # the GeocoderControl class, which gets it's begin filter mixed into the ActionController.
    # You define these keys with a Hash as follows:
    #Geokit::Geocoders::google = { '' => 'RUBY_ON_RAILS_API_KEY', '' => 'RUBY_DOCS_API_KEY' }

    # This is your authorization key for
    # To use the free service, the value can be set to nil or false.  For
    # usage tied to an account, set the value to the key obtained from
    # See
    # and
    Geokit::Geocoders::CaGeocoder.key = 'KEY'

    # This is your username key for geonames.
    # To use this service either free or premium, you must register a key.
    # See
    Geokit::Geocoders::GeonamesGeocoder.key = 'KEY'

    # This is your access key for ipstack.
    # To use this service either free or premium, you must register a key.
    # See
    Geokit::Geocoders::IpstackGeocoder.api_key = 'API_KEY'

    # This is your api key for
    # For the free version (with rate limits), leave api_key unset.
    # See
    Geokit::Geocoders::IpApiGeocoder.key = ''

    # Most other geocoders need either no setup or a key
    Geokit::Geocoders::BingGeocoder.key = ''
    Geokit::Geocoders::MapQuestGeocoder.key = ''
    Geokit::Geocoders::YandexGeocoder.key = ''
    Geokit::Geocoders::MapboxGeocoder.key = 'ACCESS_TOKEN'
    Geokit::Geocoders::OpencageGeocoder.key = 'some_api_key'

    # Geonames has a free service and a premium service, each using a different URL
    # GeonamesGeocoder.premium = true will use (premium)
    # GeonamesGeocoder.premium = false will use (free)
    Geokit::Geocoders::GeonamesGeocoder.premium = false

    # require "external_geocoder.rb"
    # Please see the section "writing your own geocoders" for more information.
    # Geokit::Geocoders::external_key = 'REPLACE_WITH_YOUR_API_KEY'

    # This is the order in which the geocoders are called in a failover scenario
    # If you only want to use a single geocoder, put a single symbol in the array.
    # Valid symbols are: :bing, :ca, :fcc, :geocodio, :geonames, :google,
    # :map_quest, :mapbox, :maxmind, :opencage, :osm, :us, :yahoo, and :yandex.
    # Be aware that there are Terms of Use restrictions on how you can use the
    # various geocoders.  Make sure you read up on relevant Terms of Use for each
    # geocoder you are going to use.
    Geokit::Geocoders::provider_order = [:google]

    # The IP provider order.
    # Valid symbols are :ipstack, :geo_plugin, :ip, and :ripe.
    # As before, make sure you read up on relevant Terms of Use for each.
    # Geokit::Geocoders::ip_provider_order = [:external,:geo_plugin,:ip]

	# Disable HTTPS globally.  This option can also be set on individual
	# geocoder classes.
    Geokit::Geocoders::secure = false

    # Control verification of the server certificate for geocoders using HTTPS
    Geokit::Geocoders::ssl_verify_mode = OpenSSL::SSL::VERIFY_(PEER/NONE)
    # Setting this to VERIFY_NONE may be needed on systems that don't have
    # a complete or up to date root certificate store. Only applies to
    # the Net::HTTP adapter.

Google Geocoder Tricks

The Google Geocoder sports a number of useful tricks that elevate it a little bit above the rest of the currently supported geocoders. For starters, it returns a suggested_bounds property for all your geocoded results, so you can more easily decide where and how to center a map on the places you geocode. Here's a quick example:

    irb> res = Geokit::Geocoders::GoogleGeocoder.geocode('140 Market St, San Francisco, CA')
    irb> pp res.suggested_bounds
     @ne=#<Geokit::LatLng:0x53b204 @lat=37.7968528, @lng=-122.3926933>,
     @sw=#<Geokit::LatLng:0x53b2b8 @lat=37.7905576, @lng=-122.3989885>>

In addition, you can use viewport or country code biasing to make sure the geocoders prefers results within a specific area. Say we wanted to geocode the city of Toledo in Spain. A normal geocoding query would look like this:

    irb> res = Geokit::Geocoders::GoogleGeocoder.geocode('Toledo')
    irb> res.full_address
    => "Toledo, OH, USA"

Not exactly what we were looking for. We know that Toledo is in Spain, so we can tell the Google Geocoder to prefer results from Spain first, and then wander the Toledos of the world. To do that, we have to pass Spain's ccTLD (country code top-level domain) to the :bias option of the geocode method. You can find a comprehensive list of all ccTLDs here:

    irb> res = Geokit::Geocoders::GoogleGeocoder.geocode('Toledo', :bias => 'es')
    irb> res.full_address
    => "Toledo, Toledo, Spain"

Alternatively, we can specify the geocoding bias as a bounding box object. Say we wanted to geocode the Winnetka district in Los Angeles.

    irb> res = Geokit::Geocoders::GoogleGeocoder.geocode('Winnetka')
    irb> res.full_address
    => "Winnetka, IL, USA"

Not it. What we can do is tell the geocoder to return results only from in and around LA.

    irb> la_bounds = Geokit::Geocoders::GoogleGeocoder.geocode('Los Angeles').suggested_bounds
    irb> res = Geokit::Geocoders::GoogleGeocoder.geocode('Winnetka', :bias => la_bounds)
    irb> res.full_address
    => "Winnetka, California, USA"

Another option is to use Component Filtering as described at To do that supply the :components option to the geocode method. This option should be a hash with keys corresponding to desired component names.

Suppose we'd like to geocode string 'Austin'. Regularly, Google would return 'Austin, TX, USA' for such a query. Not with component filtering:

    irb>res = Geokit::Geocoders::GoogleGeocoder.geocode("austin", components: { administrative_area: 'IL', country: 'US' })
    => "Austin, Chicago, IL, USA"

The Multigeocoder

Multi Geocoder - provides failover for the physical location geocoders, and also IP address geocoders. Its configured by setting Geokit::Geocoders::provider_order, and Geokit::Geocoders::ip_provider_order. You should call the Multi-Geocoder with its :geocode method, supplying one address parameter which is either a real street address, or an ip address. For example:

    Geokit::Geocoders::MultiGeocoder.geocode("900 Sycamore Drive")


    Geokit::Geocoders::MultiGeocoder.geocode("Hamburg, Germany", :provider_order => [:osm, :mapbox, :google])


Some geocoding services will return multiple results if the there isn't one clear result. Geoloc can capture multiple results through its "all" method.

    irb> geo=Geokit::Geocoders::GoogleGeocoder.geocode("900 Sycamore Drive")
    irb> geo.full_address
    => "900 Sycamore Dr, Arkadelphia, AR 71923, USA"
    irb> geo.all.size
    irb> geo.all.each { |e| puts e.full_address }
    900 Sycamore Dr, Arkadelphia, AR 71923, USA
    900 Sycamore Dr, Burkburnett, TX 76354, USA
    900 Sycamore Dr, TN 38361, USA

geo.all is just an array of additional Geolocs, so do what you want with it. If you call .all on a geoloc that doesn't have any additional results, you will get an array of one.


mappable.rb contains the Mappable module, which provides basic distance calculation methods, i.e., calculating the distance between two points.

LatLng is a simple container for latitude and longitude, but it's made more powerful by mixing in the above-mentioned Mappable module -- therefore, you can calculate easily the distance between two LatLng objects with distance = first.distance_to(other)

GeoLoc represents an address or location which has been geocoded. You can get the city, zipcode, street address, etc. from a GeoLoc object. GeoLoc extends LatLng, so you also get lat/lng AND the Mappable module goodness for free.

geocoders.rb contains all the geocoder implementations. All the geocoders inherit from a common base (class Geocoder) and implement the private method do_geocode.


If you would like to write your own geocoders, you can do so by requiring 'geokit' or 'geokit/geocoders.rb' in a new file and subclassing the base class (which is class "Geocoder"). You must then also require such external file back in your main geokit configuration.

  require "geokit"

  module Geokit
    module Geocoders

      # and use :my to specify this geocoder in your list of geocoders.
      class MyGeocoder < Geocoder

        # Use via: Geokit::Geocoders::MyGeocoder.key = 'MY KEY'
        config :key


        def self.do_geocode(address, options = {})
          # Main geocoding method

        def self.parse_json(json)
          # Helper method to parse http response. See geokit/geocoders.rb.