I'm planning a custom WordPress theme where the Custom Post Type (CPT) will have latitude and longitude coordinate as it's meta value. The latitude and longitude will be displayed as a Marker in a Google Map.

So far I don't have any problem in showing the Google Map and the CPT as it's Marker. That is if I query the CPT using the default order.

The problem occurs when I need n CPTs that is closest to a coordinate whether it is current user position or a location clicked on the map. Another situation is to query all CPTs that is in x km radius of a coordinate.

The question is : How do I query posts based on latitude-longitude value that is saved on the post meta?

I'm not really sure how to do it, but I think the latitude and longitude value should be saved in a separate custom field.

Thank you in advance.

3 Answers 3


This is a simple mathimatical problem. You will indeed need access to both your longitude and latitude, so save it in a metafield.

than you will have to query your posts like this as a sql query. Haven't got a chance to test it. and or pour it into wordpress. Don't have access to my test env now. But I guess you could do it yourself :) if not I'll do it later on when I can.

set @latitude = xxx; — center latitude
set @longitude = xxx; — center longitude
set @distance = xx; — search distance

select p.ID, p.post_name, ((ACOS(SIN(@latitude * PI() / 180) * SIN(`latitude.meta_value` * PI() / 180) + COS(@latitude * PI() / 180) * COS(`latitude.meta_value` * PI() / 180) * COS((@longitude – `longitude.meta_value`) * PI() / 180)) * 180 / PI()) * 60 * 1.1515) AS distance
from wp_posts p
left join wp_postmeta latitude on latitude.post_id = p.ID and latitude.meta_key = ‘_latitude’
left join wp_postmeta longitude on longitude.post_id = p.ID and longitude.meta_key = ‘_longitude’
having distance < @distance;
  • This is a great start. Thank you very much. I'm not that good on sql queries, I'll respond if i've figured it out.
    – ifdion
    Commented Aug 14, 2012 at 10:26
  • 1
    I was wondering if you managed to get it to work?
    – woony
    Commented Aug 17, 2012 at 18:16

For anyone looking for this answer in the future, I took woony's code the extra mile and got everything working within Wordpress' post_meta table structure. This assumes you have two separate custom fields, one for Latitude (city_latitude) and one for longitude (city_longitude). Just pass the latitude, longitude, and distance parameters into a WP function and you should be set.

Here's the WP function. Drop this in your functions.php file:

function get_nearby_cities($lat, $long, $distance){
    global $wpdb;
    $nearbyCities = $wpdb->get_results( 
        city_latitude.meta_value as cityLat,
        city_longitude.meta_value as cityLong,
        ((ACOS(SIN($lat * PI() / 180) * SIN(city_latitude.meta_value * PI() / 180) + COS($lat * PI() / 180) * COS(city_latitude.meta_value * PI() / 180) * COS(($long - city_longitude.meta_value) * PI() / 180)) * 180 / PI()) * 60 * 1.1515) AS distance,
        wp_postmeta AS city_latitude
        LEFT JOIN wp_postmeta as city_longitude ON city_latitude.post_id = city_longitude.post_id
        INNER JOIN wp_posts ON wp_posts.ID = city_latitude.post_id
    WHERE city_latitude.meta_key = 'city_latitude' AND city_longitude.meta_key = 'city_longitude'
    HAVING distance < $distance
    ORDER BY distance ASC;"

        return $nearbyCities;

Return the value in your template file:

$nearbyCities = get_nearby_cities(get_post_meta($post->ID, 'city_latitude', true), get_post_meta($post->ID, 'city_longitude', true), 25);
  • hey @mread ... can you tell me that the result we get is in miles or kilometers Commented Feb 15, 2017 at 6:44
  • The result is in miles, I'm not sure what the formula is for kilometers, but I'm sure you can find that somewhere. You would need to update this line ((ACOS(SIN($lat * PI() / 180) * SIN(city_latitude.meta_value * PI() / 180) + COS($lat * PI() / 180) * COS(city_latitude.meta_value * PI() / 180) * COS(($long - city_longitude.meta_value) * PI() / 180)) * 180 / PI()) * 60 * 1.1515)
    – mread1208
    Commented Feb 16, 2017 at 14:05
  • Jsut for future reference - this ist the code for kilometers: (6371 * acos(cos(radians( $lat )) * cos(radians( city_latitude.meta_value )) * cos(radians( city_longitude.meta_value ) - radians( $long )) + sin(radians( $lat )) * sin(radians( city_latitude.meta_value )))) AS distance, Commented Jan 18, 2021 at 18:24
  • Okay I am rreally lost here. Can anyone help? I have a post with custom fields t_lat and t_long. How can I use the above function to check if the values of t_lat and t_long are nearby a given lat and lng value?
    – RobbTe
    Commented Dec 23, 2021 at 14:00
  • 1
    @RobbTe you should be able to add the get_nearby_cities() function in your functions.php file. Then you'll need to update all instances of city_latitude to match your custom field name t_lat. Same with city_longitude => t_long. That SQL method should grab all the post ID's that have a t_lat and t_long within the radius provided. To test it... execute the function in your template file by hard coding some values for lat, long and distance for say a 25 mile radius in Chicago IL: get_nearby_cities(41.8781, 87.6298, 25);
    – mread1208
    Commented Mar 1, 2022 at 15:00

Another solution build upon the other ones:

  • Used $wpdb->prepare for parameter escaping
  • Used table names from $wpdb
  • Added minimal distance
  • Added limit
  • Added option to switch between miles and km
  • Added option to set post type
  • Extracted names for meta fields
     * @param float   $latitude Latitude of the center
     * @param float   $longitude longitude of the center
     * @param int     $min_distance Minimal distance from the center (Default: 0).
     * @param int     $max_distance Maximal distance from the center (Default: 100).
     * @param int     $limit Maximal number of results (Default: 20).
     * @param string  $post_type Post type to filter for (Default: 'pois').
     * @param boolean $use_miles Set to true, if you are using miles instead of kilometers (Default: false).
     * @return array|object
    function my_get_nearby_locations( $latitude, $longitude, $min_distance = 0, $max_distance = 100, $limit = 20, $post_type = 'pois', $use_miles = false ) {
        global $wpdb;
        $meta_key_latitude = 'location_lat';
        $meta_key_longitude = 'location_long';
        $miles_to_km = $use_miles ? 1 : 1.609344;
        $query = "SELECT DISTINCT
            t_lat.meta_value as latitude,
            t_long.meta_value as longitude,
            ((ACOS(SIN(%f * PI() / 180) * SIN(t_lat.meta_value * PI() / 180) + COS(%f * PI() / 180) * COS(t_lat.meta_value * PI() / 180) * COS((%f - t_long.meta_value) * PI() / 180)) * 180 / PI()) * 60 * 1.1515 * {$miles_to_km}) AS distance
            FROM {$wpdb->postmeta} AS t_lat
            LEFT JOIN {$wpdb->postmeta} as t_long ON t_lat.post_id = t_long.post_id
            INNER JOIN {$wpdb->posts} as t_post ON t_post.ID = t_lat.post_id
            WHERE t_lat.meta_key = %s AND t_long.meta_key = %s AND t_post.post_type = %s
            HAVING distance > %d AND distance < %d ORDER BY distance ASC LIMIT %d;";
        $prepared_query = $wpdb->prepare( $query, [ $latitude, $latitude, $longitude, $meta_key_latitude, $meta_key_longitude, $post_type, $min_distance, $max_distance, $limit ] );
        return $wpdb->get_results( $prepared_query );

  • Nicely done. Is there any way to include this into an existing wp_query or I am better to just include additionnal (optional) parameters into this? Commented Jan 21, 2021 at 15:16
  • @PatricePoliquin Not sure, but there is a "post_clauses" filter which might work for this. developer.wordpress.org/reference/hooks/posts_clauses
    – Adrian
    Commented Jan 25, 2021 at 8:21
  • 1
    Hi, you stated 2 times $latitude in the $prepared_query is that correct? Also, any chance you can make this code working for advanced custom fields, maps field? It stores the lat and lng in an array like $array['lat']. How to incorporate this into your solution? Thanks a million!
    – RobbTe
    Commented Dec 22, 2021 at 14:49
  • 1
    @RobbTe, yes $latitude is used 2 times (at the beginning in SIN and COS...). It might be improved using named parameter ... I'm using ACF OpenStreetMap field and are storing the coordinates in seperates fields within a save hook. If both parameters are stored as an array, you can't use the sinus /cosinus i.e.
    – Adrian
    Commented Dec 24, 2021 at 7:54
  • Hi @Adrian, thanks for getting back to me. For some reason I can't get this to work. I have a CPT called locations. I define this like $post_type = 'locations';. My location posts have now the custom fields location_lat and location_long. The variables $latitude and $longitude hold the center lat and long values to search for locations nearby right? For some reason the returned array stays empty.. Any ideas?
    – RobbTe
    Commented Dec 24, 2021 at 9:31

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