Create a "Give me directions" button using jQuery and HTML5 Geolocation

17 May 2013, Danny Connell

An upcoming mobile website required the inclusion of a "Give me directions" button. I.E. a button that the mobile user can click to see directions from their current location to a given destination.

Here is my simple custom solution.

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Firstly, I added a button to the page for the user to click:

<a href="#" class="get-directions">Give me directions to Reading Room Manchester</a>


I included jQuery, and began by creating variables for the starting location and destination:

$(document).ready(function() {

var startingLocation;
var destination = "reading+room+manchester"; // replace this with any destination


Next I attach a click event to my button:

$('a.get-directions').click(function (e) {


Within this click function, I use HTML5 geolocation to calculate the user's latitude and longitude, combine these two values into a string, and send the starting location and destination to a function:

// check if browser supports geolocation
if (navigator.geolocation) {

// get user's current position
navigator.geolocation.getCurrentPosition(function (position) {

// get latitude and longitude
var latitude = position.coords.latitude;
var longitude = position.coords.longitude;
startingLocation = latitude + "," + longitude;

// send starting location and destination to goToGoogleMaps function
goToGoogleMaps(startingLocation, destination);



Finally, within the goToGoogleMaps function, I send the user to Google Maps, along with the query needed to get the directions:

// go to Google Maps function - takes a starting location and destination and sends the query to Google Maps
function goToGoogleMaps(startingLocation, destination) {
window.location = "" + startingLocation + "&daddr=" + destination;

Fallback for browsers without Geolocation

What if the user's browser doesn't support Geolocation? Or they selected 'no' to the prompt asking to use their location? I wanted it to still work. Upon clicking the button, the user would be presented with a warning, along with a text input. The user could then manually enter their postcode, click the button and still get directions.

Here is the HTML for the warning and input (this is hidden by default in the CSS):

<div class="no-geolocation">
<p class="warning">Your browser does not support Geolocation. Please enter your postcode and click the button again.</p>
<input type="text" placeholder="Enter postcode or address" class="manual-location">

And here is the JavaScript for the fallback:

// get manually entered postcode
startingLocation = $('.manual-location').val();

// if user has entered a starting location, send starting location and destination to goToGoogleMaps function
if (startingLocation != '') {
goToGoogleMaps(startingLocation, destination);
// else fade in the manual postcode field
else {

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