Addresses are something many people take for granted. But without these simple descriptions of where you live, a person cannot access critical services like mail, deliveries, emergency services, and voter registration.

Yet half of the world’s urban people live on unnamed streets, according to the World Bank. This means they often can’t communicate where they live, disconnecting them from government services, transportation, loans, job opportunities and even disaster relief.

Plus codes give anyone in the world an address they can share, for free. Created by a group of engineers at Google, this technology has been open-sourced, meaning that anyone can see how it works and develop their own applications for any purpose; no license fees or other payments are required.

For individuals and families, plus codes can be used like a street address when the street has no name or doesn’t even exist. They give every place in the world an address, so everyone can easily say where they live, where their business is located, or where a parcel should be sent.

Benefits for different types of organizations

Governments and Municipalities

Voter registration, official communications, social services

Emergency Services

Disaster communications and instructions, coordination of rescue efforts

Humanitarian and disaster relief organizations

Aid delivery, medical assistance, record-keeping of services

Transportation, Logistics, and Utility Providers

Precise deliveries to individuals or groups in areas without streets or street names, service calls

Financial Institutions

Identification for loan services, account maintenance, help in meeting “Know Your Customer” requirements

Small Businesses

Inbound and outbound deliveries, help for customers to find your location