How to get the user's current location on the browser using JavaScript

Published July 11, 2020

map in an iphone

Photo byMarkus Spiske

To get the current location of the user you can use the geolocation API available in the navigator object in the browser global context.

Let's get the longitude and latitude of our user.

// first, check if geolocation is supported in the browser
if (!navigator.geolocation) {
  alert("Geolocation is not supported in this browser.");
}

It checks to see if the geolocation API is present in the browser.

If it is supported we need to get the user's current position i.e latitude and longitude.

Get Current Position

We can get it using a method called getCurrentPosition() on the geolocation API.

// first, check if geolocation is supported in the browser
if (!navigator.geolocation) {
  alert("Geolocation is not supported in this browser.");
} else {
  // get user's currnt position
  navigator.geolocation.getCurrentPosition();
}

The getCurrentPosition() method requires:

  • a mandatory success callback as the first argument and is supplied GeolocationPosition object with the information on the current position.
  • an optional error callback as the second argument and is supplied GeolocationPositionError object with the information on the error occurred.

Let's now make both the success and error callback.

// first, check if geolocation is supported in the browser
if (!navigator.geolocation) {
  alert("Geolocation is not supported in this browser.");
} else {
  // 🚀 get user's currnt position
  navigator.geolocation.getCurrentPosition(
    // 💚 success callback, mandatory
    (position) => {
      // do cool stuff with the location
      console.log(position.coords);

      // inside the coords property you can find the
      // latitude and logitude property 🌎
      console.log("Latitude", position.coords.latitude);
      console.log("Longitude", position.coords.longitude);
    },
    // 🚨 error callback, optional
    (error) => {
      // display error
      console.log(error);
    }
  );
}

The longitude and latitude properties are available on the coords property in the GeolocationPosition object.

Optionally, you can add a third argument of options to enable high accuracy, etc.

Get Realtime Position

We now know how to get the user's current position but what if the user's position changes every time and we want to track that.

Ther's a way for that too.

You need to use the watchPosition() method instead of the getCurrentPosition() method avalibale on the geolocation API.

// first, check if geolocation is supported in the browser
if (!navigator.geolocation) {
  alert("Geolocation is not supported in this browser.");
} else {
  // 🚀 get user's realtime position
  navigator.geolocation.watchPosition(
    // ✅   success callback, mandatory
    (position) => {
      // do cool stuff with the location
      console.log(position.coords);

      // inside the coords property you can find the
      // latitude and logitude property 🌎
      console.log("Latitude", position.coords.latitude);
      console.log("Longitude", position.coords.longitude);
    },
    // 🚨 error callback, optional
    (error) => {
      // display error
      console.log(error);
    },
    // ⚙️ options object, optional
    {
      timeout: 1000,
    }
  );
}

It has the same callback requirements as the getCurrentPosition() method.

  • a mandatory success callback as the first argument and is supplied GeolocationPosition object with the information on the current position.
  • an optional error callback as the second argument and is supplied GeolocationPositionError object with the information on the error occurred.

Optionally, you can add a third argument of options to set the timeout for getting the location of the user.

🦄 NOTE: You can use the geolocation API if the browser content is secure i.e, using HTTPS protocol.

Feel free to share if you found this useful 😃.


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