GeoLocation widget - Add option to specify location using Long/Lat coordinates

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    Julian Robinson 
    Asked on February 28, 2015 at 12:44 AM


    I've been vocal here trying to get the geolocation widget working again after some recent issues.  Most issues are solved, but my users are still having problems so that 50% - HALF - of my forms are returned with no geo stamp info because the user can't see the map on their screen.  As well as that, it is confusing and upsetting people and causing considerable 'political' difficulties. Here I am proposing a solution.

    The cause of the problem is recent changes to the web to ensure privacy and safety.  THe geolocate widget map used to be presented automatically with no problem on forms. But browsers have changed and now ask permission to access location data before presenting the map.  The request for access is sometimes not easily seen, or is so confusing to users that they ignore it or dismiss it, and as a result people are unable to see the map.  For example my Firefox users are asked

    "Would you like to share your location with"

    Since users don't know anything about jotform or data-widgets they say 'NO' to this and therefore can never see the map, so then they complain to me or more usually, stop using the form and say nothing.  This is very destructive of user confidence and makes a mess of our attempts to gather information.

    It is important to realise that the widget is not always being used the way the designers might think  THere are TWO ways this widget can work -- two different ways:

    1) on a mobile device with GPS, the widget accurately provides current location and users might use it directly, knowing that the form needs to know this location.  These users are aware of the need to share their location info and answer so they any prompts accurately, the form gets submitted without the user needing to change the opening location on the map - without having to drag the marker.

    2) In many other cases it works differently, like in my case.  If a user is on a non-GPS device eg a desktop or any mobile device with gps turned off, the location info is VERY APPROXIMATE (5-30km).  Thus the location given is not accurate enough to be returned as the actual location.

    Also, in many cases, the computer is NOT at the location that the user wants to specify.

    So the user will set the desired location by moving the pointer on the map. In these cases the widget does not need to know the location EXCEPT to allow the map to be presented in roughly the right location i.e. showing Sydney and not New York.

    In this second case, users know that they are going to specify their location by moving the pointer on the map.  They know that they will NOT be sending an automatic location.  Thus they think that they do NOT have to allow the form/page to access their location info. When they get the 'share your location prompt', they either say NO or they don't see it at all.  (Many people have told me that there is a line at the top of their browser asking various questions and they always ignore it). They don't realise that this access is needed just to show the map, to use the form at all.

    So for many people my forms dont' work and they don't know why.

    We need a better way of presenting the map automatically without relying on the user to understand the situation, without them having to understand that the machine needs access to location just to display the map, and without them having to understand who jotform is or what the very mysterious and unfriendly message "Would you like to share your location with" means.


    Remove the need for computers to access location data, by providing the ability to set a default map-opening location as well as scale. Of course if this was mandatory it would interfere with operation in case 1) above.  So please allow form designers to set a default map location and disable the need for the browser to access location data, as an OPTION.


    Please do something about this quickly, as the problem continues to destroy my organisation's confidence in my use of Jotform.  THe message the whole organisation has at the moment is that "these fancy forms with the map don't work half the time, we should replace them with something simpler that works".


    As mentioned, HALF of my forms are submitted with no geolocation data, and I know many people have given up using them at all.  I made the widget compulsory for a while, and it meant people couldn't submit the form at all. They didn't know why, and it made many of them quite angry.  My forms/website have a bad reputation and I need to get this fixed quickly.



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    Answered on February 28, 2015 at 06:17 AM

    To me Julian, the question is quite big and I understand what it is for in my FireFox, but in most cases I will intentionally click on not to share the info and rather add it myself.

    In event that the data is needed down the road all that one would need to do is to click on the cross-hair like icon in the browser URL bar to allow the location to be shared at some later point in time.

    Now I understand that you would prefer to have that say "Would you like to share your location with" instead of "Would you like to share your location with", but if that was possible we would have set that either to show "JotForm" or your jotform username.

    Please note that there are many people that also turn off the option to share the location on their mobile phones, so that is not a 100% that it will be available.

    For this reason our code will do all the steps according to the industry standard in order to allow as many users to be able to properly decide and disclose their privacy.

    Based on everything that you have mentioned I would suggest to take a look at our other mapping widgets

    For example:

    GeoComplete - It will allow them to type their address and get the suggestions to help them fill it out faster and easier

    Address Map Locator - Similar to Geolocation widget, it will allow your users to select where they are without asking them to capture their location

    Autocompleted Address - Great if you need something that will show almost any address in the world as you type. It is similar to GeoComplete, but it is up to you to see which one of the two is better for you and your business.

    The above widgets would:

    1. help you have all submissions and not miss some of them because of the reasons you have mentioned.
    2. would not show the question to share location
    3. will work the same on mobile devices and desktops

    Do let us know however if you have any questions and we would be happy to assist.

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    Answered on February 28, 2015 at 11:32 PM

    I don't think you are understanding how we (and probably quite a few other people) use this widget.  What we want is an easy way to collect a LATITUDE and LONGITUDE (not an address) for a point in our local area that might be a house with a street address or it might be FAR FROM ANY ROAD, in the bush.

    Your Geolocate widget nearly does the job, but as I tried hard to explain, it requires the user to understand that they must give permission for their browser to pass location info to the widget.  Many users have no idea what this dialog box is talking about and think it might be a virus or something that they don't want to allow, or they don't even see the dialog box.  So they don't give access and THE MAP IS NEVER DISPLAYED on their screen. So the form cannot collect their lats and longs.  So we don't get our location information and it makes the form useless for our purpose, because HALF our forms arrive with no latitude and longitude.


    To fix this problem, we need to eliminate the need for the browser to pass location info back to Jotform, or make it so this happens automatically without user having to authorise it.  (It used to do this).

    FOR OUR PURPOSES, the only reason we need access to location info is to make sure the map opens at Canberra at a reasonable scale that users will recognise, and not in the Congo or New York.  Our users mostly open the form, see a map of Canberra and drag the pointer to their location (sometimes using satellite view if the location is in the wild country).

    So I was asking that you enhance the widget so that there is an option to allow the form designer to specify the location where the map opens, in our case it would be about -35.282647, 149.128206  (showing the Canberra area).

    [You suggested some alternative widgets - the address completion ones are not applicable to what we are doing.  As I keep repeating, we are after the geolocation, the latitude and longitude, not necessarily a street address.

    "Address Map Locator" kind of does what we need but is unnecessarily hard to use - the map opens in the ocean near Africa and it is hard and time consuming to get the pointer to Australia, then to Canberra, then to the required location, and my users aren't going to use it.  (It has a few other issues too -- doesn't zoom using the scroll wheel; the latitude and longitude are given to a silly number of decimal places; You have to drag the pointer the whole way from the starting point instead of dragging and zooming the map to your location and then double clicking to place the pointer.  It took me 34 mouse clicks and drags to get the pointer from AFrica to my house. I don't understand how Jotform can make a widget with such poor ergonomics, or why so many users seem to like it -- probably it's my fault and I'm not using it properly).]


    All I am asking is to add an OPTION to the Geolocate widget so that the form designer can set the location at which the map opens. 


    (to repeat the reason -

    1) this is so there is no need for the widget to access the machine's location, so in turn there is no need for any dialog box or status line to ask the user to give location access.  All our users will see the map and be able to use the widget to give their location coordinates).

    2) until recently this happened automatically - the map opened close to the computer's address because the location info was passed back to the widget by default.  Now, by default, nothing is passed until the user authorises it.  This authorisation is not explained, not obvious, does not give a reason, often can't even be seen, and many users don't do it.)



    I hope this explains better.

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    Answered on March 01, 2015 at 04:22 AM

    So I was asking that you enhance the widget so that there is an option to allow the form designer to specify the location where the map opens, in our case it would be about -35.282647, 149.128206  (showing the Canberra area).


    I currently could not find an existing widget among our Geolocation widgets collection that does this.

    So, I have now submitted a feature request ticket to our higher team support for this specific feature.

    We cannot provide you any time frame or assurance at this time if the requested feature will be approved. But we will notify you here for any update on the status.


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    Answered on March 01, 2015 at 07:07 PM

    Thanks - I really think you should consider this quickly. There are some serious deficiencies in available location widgets and I don't think your people understand what I am saying about recent changes to browser operation that now requires permission before people can even SEE the widget in a form.  Because your people all have this permission permanently set on, you don't see what many ordinary people see. You have to consider how seriously this affects the usability of this widget.

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    Answered on March 02, 2015 at 03:12 AM

    Hello Aaardvaark,

    I hear your concern.

    My colleague have already sent a feature request to our back end team. We will get back to you as soon as we have any update from them.

    Thank you!


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    Answered on March 13, 2015 at 06:04 AM

    Hello @Aaardvaark,

    Thank you for your valuable feedback. 

    We were not aware of the impact caused when form users interact with the automatic location tracking dialog. 

    I'm sure most of them close it without thinking twice - I would. 

    Anyway, we have implemented two features following your request: 

    1. Added a way to open the Geolocation widget map to a default custom location. You can configure this using Latitude and longitude values in the widget settings. Adding a default custom location will disable automatic location - so the permissions dialog will not pop out. Try - 

    2. Manual Entry - Whether you have a default location or not, you can allow users to enter location co-ordinates  - the map will jump the marker to the new location in real time. 

    We look forward to your feedback. 


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    Answered on March 13, 2015 at 06:05 AM

    I forgot to mention that if you drag the marker - the location is updated in real time - whether manual entry is activated or not. 

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    Answered on March 13, 2015 at 07:11 AM

    Hi Titus and thanks - I tried the test form quickly but no maps appeared.  I'll try again tomorrow.

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    Answered on March 13, 2015 at 08:35 AM

    Hello Aaardvaark,

    I did test the new version of "Geo Location" widget and it seems to work as expected. Do test it again and get back to us if you have any trouble.

    Thank you!

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    Answered on March 13, 2015 at 09:51 PM

    hmm very interesting - I tried on win7, win8.1, desktop, laptop, IE, Firefox, Pale Moon browsers and don't get any maps at all.  But it does work on my android phone. 


    From what I can see on the small screen they look great and work fine. (assuming you'll reduce the number of decimal places in the latlongs to 5! -- 5 decimal places gives you resolution to one meter which is more accurate than anyone's need or gps, so all those extra decimal places just adds to confusion and difficulty for people trying to copy/enter longhand).

    If I can help in any way to discover why the maps don't appear on my cmputers let me know.

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    Answered on March 17, 2015 at 06:30 AM

    Here is what I see when I look at your test page, as mentioned this is what I see on every platform except my Android phone. On the phone it seems to work ok:

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    Answered on March 17, 2015 at 08:51 AM

    Hello Aaardvaark,

    This is strange. I did test form #50712545292958 in IE / Chrome / Firefox and it does display the maps correctly. Please check the screenshot below:





    Have you tried clearing your browser cache already? I would suggest you to clear your browser cache and see if that solves your problem. The following guide should help you clear browser cache:'s-Cache 

    Do get back to us if the issue persists.

    Thank you!

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    Answered on March 18, 2015 at 12:28 AM

    Ah thanks I didn't try this because I had the same problem in 3 different browsers the first time I ever went to that page.  Cleared caches and it works now and I've incorporated it into my form.  Thanks for the re-dev of this widget, it works pretty well now.

    Only one thing left to fix please - the number of decimal places in the box under the map.  Everywhere else it's set to 5 decimal places which is correct, but in those boxes it goes to zillions of decimals - I calculated enough resolution to specify the distance between molecules in the air!  Can this be reduced to 5 please?

    Thanks again.

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    Answered on March 18, 2015 at 02:41 AM

    Hello Aaardvaark,

    You are welcome.

    I am glad to know that the widget is working as expected. Your question related to decimal places has reached our back end team. We will get back to you as soon as we have any update from them.

    Thank you!