Retrieving latitude / longitude from a location-based tag

On a road trip this week, my wife saw something in passing.

“Was that a train?”

We didn’t think there were any trains in the region. I looked up from my iPad, but whatever it was passed out of sight before I could spot it.

I could have easily bookmarked the spot in Rego or Google Maps, but I wanted to actually be reminded to search for the item on our return journey.

So I did the sensible thing and quickly

  1. Created a tag in OmniFocus and assigned it the location “Here”
  2. Set the tag to alert me of any available tasks on arrival
  3. Created a task to “Look for the train”

Now, on the return journey, OmniFocus would alert when we approached the location in question.

Everything was in place for the perfect train-looking-landmark heist – until we took a different route home. D’oh!

Time to check Google Street View, I thought.

But alas! When I viewed the tag in OmniFocus, its location coordinates had been replaced with the generic road name “Highway 6”. Normally a friendly location name would be more helpful than a latitude and longitude, but in this case it left me with little to go on.

Back at my Mac, I was able to dredge up the geocoordinates using BBEdit:

  1. Open the OmniFocus database in BBEdit
  2. Search for the tag’s name using Multi-File search (search option “Search compressed files” enabled)

Ah, there you are:

<location name="National Highway 6&#10;Cambodia" latitude="12.3435" longitude="105.101" notificationFlags="1"/>

I found a disturbing billboard in the vicinity, but couldn’t find any evidence of a train (or train imposter). So the end of the story is that we have no idea what the landmark actually is.


Props to BBEdit for best-in-class search capability, which didn’t blink at the hundreds of compressed XML files in the OmniFocus database.

And props to the driver, who found a faster way home.

I’m mildly curious if there’s an easier way to get the coordinates of a tag. But more importantly, I’m curious to hear stories about other novel uses of location-based tags.


BBEdit will save the day every time.

I tend to start these kinds of location-based notes in Drafts — & created the second of these for ease of mapping.

WalkWriter | Drafts Action Directory

KML Note | Drafts Action Directory

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