We’re happy to introduce a great new form element: User Geolocation. Geolocation allows you to determine – with the user’s consent – the physical location of the person who is filling out your form. In addition to the longitude and latitude, we also record the nearest physical address with the help of Google Maps Web Services.
For instance, let’s say you’re building a “311 form” – a web form that citizens can use to report non-emergency issues to the city, things like potholes or graffiti (see this template). With the geolocation enabled, a person can report a problem on the spot with her smartphone or mobile device. Her location will be automatically captured, with the matching address displayed on the form. She can then make corrections if needed, add comments and submit the report.
Here’s how you can enable geolocation on your own web form.
Setting Up Geolocation Tracking:
1. Open your form in the Form Builder and add the “User Geolocation” element from the add content menu  .
2. That’s all. You will notice some new fields have been added to your form: Geolocation – Longitude, Geolocation – Latitude, and fields for the street address.
The first two fields are hidden fields and are automatically populated if the user consents to sharing his or her location. The “Your Location” address fields will also be auto-populated if possible. Feel free to remove some or all address fields if you don’t need them, and don’t forget to save.
Geolocation and Privacy
The final decision to share location data is always in the hands of the respondent. We collect this information using standards compliant methods that respect the user’s privacy. In all supported browsers, a prompt will be presented when the form is accessed, requesting access to the location data.
Here’s how it looks in Firefox:
Due to the nature of geolocation technology in web browsers, the accuracy of the location is still limited depending on the device, browser, and connection used by respondents. Accuracy is best on GPS enabled devices, like iPhones, while browsers on traditional desktop computers may not be able to get the accuracy better than the city or region level.
Geolocation works on the following browsers and operating systems:
- Firefox (versions 3.5+)
- Internet Explorer (versions 9+)
- Safari (versions 5.0 +)
- Google Chrome (some OS)
- Android (version 2+)
- iPhone and iPad (iOS version 3.0+)
- and Blackberry
We’re excited about the possibilities this opens up and can’t wait to hear what you do with it. Give it a try and let us know what you think.
Please note that this element utilizes Google’s Maps API and that by using this element you are agreeing to follow Google’s Maps API Terms of Service.