Geocoding with Ruby On Rails and Google Maps

As GoogleMaps now offers geocoding services (which works really fine for European streets !), you can use it in any web application to get coordinates from a given address. The services use REST to send queries, and you can get results in XML or JSON.

I’m currently hacking with RoR, so I first tested geocoding with a short ruby snippet:

 require 'open-uri'  require 'rubygems'  require 'hpricot'  key = 'xxx'  address = "105+avenue+de+la+Republique,+Paris,+France"  url = "{address}&output=xml&key=#{key}"  open(url) do |file|    @body =    doc = Hpricot(@body)    (doc/:point/:coordinates).each do |link|      long, lat = link.inner_html.split(',')    end  end

I used hpricot to parse XML results, and even if it’s designed for HTML it works fine in this use case.

Yet, my initial goal was to automatically get coordinates from any address in a RoR application. I decided to add longitude and latitude properties to the class I wanted to geolocate, and add a before_save method in the model.

 # Get lat, long from address before save  def before_save    require 'open-uri'    address = CGI::escape("#{self.address},#{},#{self.state},#{}")    url = "{address}&output=xml&key=#{key}"    open(url) do |file|      @body =      doc = Hpricot(@body)      (doc/:point/:coordinates).each do |link|        self.longitude, self.latitude = link.inner_html.split(',')      end    end  end

That’s it, every time a user create or edit an instance, its coordinates will be added. Well, I certainly should do more tests, but as my knowledge of ruby and rails is limited at the moment, I’ll start with this. If you think something should be changed, feel free to comment this post :) (btw, can someone tell me why I must use require 'open-uri' here, even if that’s already included in my environment.rb ?)