Have a list of several hundred addresses to get coordinates for? Perl to the rescue!

I recently wanted to try my hand at writing a little iPhone app for helping students find University grant funding.  It turns out to be a bit more difficult than I’d expected, but part of the app was to be a listing of all the available universities near the student.  This, of course, would involve actually having a list of Universities.  To make a long story short, once I got the list (Wikipedia rocks), I needed to get their locations so I could do a proximity search from the user’s coordinates.  Since I didn’t want to spend too much time entering every one of the several hundred University names into Google, I decided to whip up a simple little script in Perl to do this for me.

#!/usr/bin/perl
use strict;
use warnings;
use Geo::Coder::Google;
our $apikey = 'Your-API-Key';

my $geocoder = Geo::Coder::Google->new(apikey => $apikey);

while (<>) {
    chomp $_;
    my $location = $geocoder->geocode( location => $_ );
    print "$_: ";
    if (ref($location) eq 'HASH') {
        print "n";
        print "    Address: $location->{address}n";
        print "    Latitude: $location->{Point}{coordinates}[1]n";
        print "    Longitude: $location->{Point}{coordinates}[0]n";
    } else {
        print "UNKNOWNn";
    }
}

If it wasn’t for Perl, this would be fiendishly complicated.  I just threw that in my ~/bin directory and passed a list of addresses to it on STDIN.  Or you could give it a list of files that contain addresses, one per line, and it will give you a YAML output of the results.  For instance:

nachbaur$ echo "University California San Diego" | ~/bin/str2geo.pl
University California San Diego:
    Address: University City, San Diego, CA, USA
    Latitude: 32.854672
    Longitude: -117.204533

I hope you have fun with it.  It was easy to build, but writing little pipe commands like this makes using a Mac with Perl a blast.

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