Searching for Locations

The information in this article applies to TPE 4.9 for iOS, or later.

This page discusses how to use the location search and filtering capabilities in The Photographer's Ephemeris. To access this functionality, tap Locations on the tab bar at the bottom of the screen.IMG_F12B5FBBDBBC-1.jpeg


The Locations page offers two sections: (1) Search and (2) Saved. If you're trying to locate a place by name, address, or coordinates (latitude/longitude), you'll want one of the options under Search.

You can search either by Address or Place Name, or by Coordinates.

Search for address/place

In the search field, you can type a fully qualified address, a partial address, a place name, or a three word address (see below). For example: 350 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10118 will take you to the Empire State Building in New York city:


If you type a place name, such as Stonehenge, then the results you will see will depend on the region and language your device is set to. By default, the search algorithm prioritizes matching places close to the user. So for example, entering 'Stonehenge' here in Colorado gives the following results:


(I've lived here for 13 years and I had no idea there was a "Stonehenge" just 15 minutes away!). To get the Stonehenge you probably wanted, you may need to add a little more information. "Stonehenge, England" gets us what we want:


You may be wondering about the distinction between the icons for the search results in the above screenshots. The 'magnifying glass' icon represents search results from Apple's own geocoding service - we use this service primarily for fully qualified addresses, i.e. so-called 'rooftop' level results. The 'map pin' represents results from other third party geocoding services, which are typically used for places, and may include results for colloquial or informal place names. Typically these results are not 'rooftop' level.

Geocoding refers to the process of converting an address into coordinates ("forward geocoding") or vice versa ("reverse geocoding").

w3w_SymbolSolid_RGB_Red_60px.png what3words

The app automatically queries both services as you type and displays suggested matches. If you want to search for exactly the term you typed, press the Search key on the keyboard. This may produce a slightly different set of place name results. (This is due to the difference between an "autocomplete" query and a "forward geocoding query" - sometimes the reasons for the differences in results are not always obvious, even to us developers.)

TPE supports using three word addresses from what3words. what3words has divided the world into 3m x 3m squares, assigning three random words to each square, that helps users find their location with an accuracy of just 10 feet.

For landscape photographers, many locations don't have well defined place names. Now you can use a three word address to refer to a precise shooting location, instead of trying to recall, read or type numerical coordinates.

Three word addresses are separated by a point or full stop. If you type a partial or complete three word address into the search field, TPE will show suggested matches. Here's an example:


As above, the search will prioritize results for your device's Region setting (US in this case). The three word address ///awaited.passively.landings is the location of the middle of the Stonehenge stone circle, and is shown third in the results above. (If you were to tap the "Search" button after finishing typing, it will be the only result shown.)

As with other search results, you can tap the row to select it, and then send the primary red pin to the location, or save it to your Saved Locations list:


Note: for some types of search results, including what3words, the app fetches the actual coordinates only when the result is used. You may see a brief message pop up saying "Fetching coordinates".

Search for coordinates

If you have a guidebook, map or other information, you may have coordinates instead of a place name. You can type latitude/longitude coordinates into the search field. TPE supports a wide variety of formats. Here are some examples:

  • Decimal degrees, numbers only: 51.178890, -1.826220
  • Decimal degrees with N/S/E/W: 51.178890N, 1.826220W
  • Degrees minutes seconds with N/S/E/W: 51° 10' 44.004"N, 1° 49' 34.392"W
  • Degrees and decimal minutes: N51° 10.7334', W1° 49.5732'
  • Degrees and decimal minutes, with leading zeros: N51° 10.7334', W001° 49.5732'

Degree symbols are generally optional, and the app recognizes a variety of symbols for minutes and seconds.

Here's a screenshot showing the last example above:


The first results section shows the detected coordinate: if the app can't "parse" what you entered into the search field, you'll see a message saying "Coordinate not recognized". In this case, the degrees and decimal minutes format has been detected.

Once a coordinate is detected, the app performs a "reverse geocoding" and lists nearby places that correspond to the detected coordinate. You can see three results above:

  1. The first is from Apple's geocoding service
  2. The second is from our custom geocoder, from third party data
  3. The third is the three word address corresponding to the latitude/longitude

You can set the map pin or save any of these results, or the detected coordinate itself.

Map Pin Coordinates

When you first navigate to the Coordinate Search page, the app will automatically populate the search field with the current coordinates of primary (red) map pin. This provides a convenient way to save the map pin position or to view nearby places and obtain the corresponding three word address. In addition, you can select and copy the coordinates from the search field to use them in other apps or to paste into a message.

If geodetics is enabled, the app includes the coordinates of the secondary (grey) map pin instead.

You can clear the default coordinates and paste or type your own at any time.

Unrecognized Coordinate formats

If you come across a latitude/longitude format that the app does not recognize, but which you think it should, then let us know by opening a support request on this page (or via the Contact support option in the app) and send us an example. If the source was a webpage, then a link is always helpful.

If the format looks like something the app should be able recognize, we'll try to get it added in.

Saved Locations

 If you save a location, this screen is where you'll find it. You can save locations directly from the search results pages discussed above, or you can add a location manually using the '+' button on the Saved Locations page itself. You can also import locations from KML or KMZ.

It's possible to save a large number of locations. In these circumstances, it's useful to be able find them by filtering the list. You can type a partial match for the saved location name in the Filter field and the list will only show locations that match what you typed:


If you only want to filter your Favorite locations, you can select Favorites in the search scope (see screenshot above).



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