Google Maps has a feature whereby a user can send a location to a GPS device connected to their computer. This is accomplished via the “Send” link in the upper-right-hand corner of the Maps screen (the same place you go to send Maps stuff via email). A GPS tab is supposed to show up there along with the other Send options, like Email and Phone.

Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. I became fascinated by this, for some odd reason, and spent a sleepless night attempting to determine the conditions under which the feature would work.

Some forum and blog posts explain the issue as having to do with certain locations being “supported” by the GPS feature and some lacking said support. This is not the case. ALL locations are supported; Google Maps is just buggy about giving you the GPS option.

The GPS option ALWAYS appears for TYPED locations (manually typing a location into the Google Maps search bar). However, things get dicey when you choose a location by clicking the map. Here are some “rules” I’ve discovered for getting the GPS option to appear:

– Google Maps requires that at least one “pushpin” or “arrow” be present on the map before it offers the GPS link for clicked locations. An empty map with no markers at all will never give you the GPS option for a clicked location, even if you click on a point of interest, like a business, park, school, or even a hospital.

– Also, in most cases, a pushpin created via a map click (such as via “Directions to” or “Add a destination”) must denote an exact point, rather than an address range or a single street name. Vague locations produced from map clicks do work sometimes, but not always; whereas precise points like addresses, points of interest, or even coordinates ALWAYS work.
— (Again, strangely, this rule doesn’t seem to apply to TYPED locations; Typing any road name along with a city/zip code into the search bar will always produce the GPS option.)

An “arrow” (green downward arrow icon) appears when you right-click anywhere on the map and choose “What’s here?”. This is the quickest way to get the GPS link, since it not only marks the map with merely two clicks, but also automatically causes Google Maps to pinpoint a precise location. Once the arrow is present, left-click it and click “Send”. The GPS option will always show up this way, even if the location is merely a set of coordinates.

Pushpins can be created by manually typing an address, coordinates, a city, state, zip code, point-of-interest type, etc. into the Google Maps search bar. When a location is entered this way, producing a pushpin (or several pushpins), the GPS option always shows up, no matter how vague the data entered.

Important to note, also, that once one of those markers IS set down on the map (the green arrow or the pushpin), you can THEN click any point of interest (business, park, etc), and then hit “Send”, and the GPS tab will appear! Without at least one pushpin or arrow present somewhere on the map, this does not work.