I'm working on a project for a company with thousands of global locations. For the 'store locator' the client has asked what is the default view of the map when it's impossible to get GEO IP. I'm kind of stumped. My gut reaction was to show the map zoomed out to global view, but then what would I show in the location list on the left? (There are thousands of locations.)

What would you do in this case?

Here's example: http://buff.ly/1eqJMbB

I am trying not to paginate the list on the left.

  • Does this have international locations too?
    – Mervin
    Feb 27, 2014 at 19:31
  • Yes. Thousands of global locations. Feb 27, 2014 at 20:28
  • Here's another option: Static map displays for users where their general location could not be found. Static map image displays [company name] headquarters highlighted with a single large pin. Feb 27, 2014 at 20:33
  • I'd display by their last known location if available. If not then Evil Closet Monkey's post would be a consideration. Sep 26, 2017 at 12:58

1 Answer 1


Default Location:

The app can ask the user to narrow down a default location, or this could perhaps be queried from the device being used. For example, in the absence of GPS or GEO IP I may have previously specified that I am in "Seattle, WA", or just "Washington", but maybe just "United States". This would allow you to zoom in onto a specific location.

This may not be where I currently am, but as it is my "home" it is more likely I am there and as good a place to initially zoom in on as any.

In the case of a mobile device, location services can be used - which can include cell tower or WiFi location estimations.

Ask the User:

If you can't tell where the user is. Ask them. You can do something similar to FedEx's splash screen.

enter image description here

This actually bugs the heck out of me because they always show this, even if I was at the site just 5 minutes ago! I wish they would at least use a GEO IP to guess where I am and then let me easily "zoom out" if necessary.

Show a Global Subset:

You can certainly show a global map view with a listing of locations around the world; but you can show a subset of those locations. For example: 1 location per "major" U.S. city, 2 locations for England, 3 for France, 5 for Russia, etc...

How do you determine what to highlight? Perhaps these sites have ratings; perhaps you just show a few random locations; perhaps it is just major cities; perhaps you make them pay you for the privilege.

In the example you show, also notice there are many smaller dots. You can include a "big dot" for what you are highlighting but show a few smaller dots for other locations.

Another option might be to show "bubbles" showing the number of locations in a certain location. The user can then drill down by clicking on the circle and zoom in on that region. You can have them do this a few times if you are in a region with lots of locations. For example: 100 stores in Washington State, click the circle to see more regions for Eastern WA, Puget Sound, Western WA, etc... Once you feel the list will not be too dense, you can show all the locations in that region.

enter image description here


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